And now, for the second chapter of the epic (and real) teenage saga:
The Freshmen Freeze Out: Part 2
I was still left with doubts as to how I was going to survive in the predatory ecosystem that was Inferno High School. Where was I going to fit in? What link of the food chain would I find myself on? It was then that I decided something had to be done. I began looking into clubs and sports, and other extracurricular activities that the school had to offer. I wanted to find something that I was good at, that would help me make a difference while also making a name for myself. I didn’t know much about myself as I was, but what I did know was that I couldn’t keep tagging along with my friends without forming some interests of my own. Every person in the group had something to call their own, and I didn’t think that my clothes should count as the only thing that made me unique. I needed a cause that would help me find my identity.
Two days later, I was still having a hard time adjusting to high school, but I tried to maintain a positive attitude, assuring myself that the awkward insecurity stage would be over soon. As I walked from my fourth period class towards the spot where we had been meeting every day for lunch, I debated with myself on whether I should tell my friends that I had decided to run for student office. I had been thinking about it for quite a while, and I knew that with my outgoing personality and organizing skills, I would do a good job. But my confidence, or lack thereof, urged me to seek their approval before trying something so potentially ruinous to my self-esteem. Doubts kept racing through my mind. What if I lost? What if I couldn’t get onstage in front of so many people? What if I fail? To my mind, failure at this point was the worst thing that could possibly happen. It was better not to try at all. But if my friends thought I could do it…well then maybe I had a chance.
Fully occupied with my own thoughts, I trudged resolutely toward “our spot”. A secluded bench under a tree, it was our lunch time meeting ground. As I neared it, I was startled to see that no one was there. Feeling both confused and irritated, I checked the time. Almost one o’clock. They definitely should have been here by now. Just as I was beginning to worry, I saw Brianne heading in the opposite direction towards the back of the school, behind the large grey student center building. I quickly followed, calling to her to wait. But much to my surprise, she ignored me. I tried again, thinking that she hadn’t heard. But then she began to walk faster.
I quickened my steps until I had finally caught up with her. “Brianne, didn’t you hear me?” I asked. She continued walking, seemingly oblivious to my presence. “Bri, what’s going on? Is everything okay?” Still no answer. I began to plead with her to stop and talk with me. “Is there something wrong? Are you mad? Please tell me why you’re acting like this.” It was then that I felt a sickening dread wash over me. That morning, I had signed up to run for student office. Is that what’s bothering her? I tried again. “Bri, is it about the student government thing? I was going to talk to you about it. I-” She abruptly stopped and turned to me. With a cold expression, she said “I don’t care what you do or don’t do. You’re not my friend.” My world seemed to freeze in place. This wasn’t like her. Why was she being so cruel? I took a step back. “What are you talking about? Why are you doing this?”
But she was done talking to me, it seemed. She began to walk away from me again. This time, I followed her at a distance, hoping that maybe she was joking. When she reached the other side of the building, she turned and joined a laughing group of girls. My friends. As I rounded the corner, I was met by Ashley. “Ash. What is wrong with Bri? Did something happen? She acted like she hated me just now. I have no idea what’s going on.”
I was so agitated that it took me several moments to notice that Ashley, my best friend in the entire world, had gone strangely silent. “Ash?” I pleaded gently. “Please tell me why Brianne hates me.” The look in her eyes told me nothing. I waited for some kind of explanation, some reason. “It’s not just Brianne. We all hate you.”
I looked at the others. They were all there, all silent. No one said anything. At that moment, I felt the little walls of my shelter collapse. As I ran from the school with tears streaming down my face, I felt so horribly alone. I had been kicked in the shins, punched in the stomach, and sat upon by life.