“It’s not much fun being the person everybody picks on. It doesn’t make any difference why they pick you—or why they pick on anyone. Being picked to be picked on doesn’t make you feel special and it doesn’t make you feel good. What does make you feel good is when you’re lucky enough to have someone show you they care about you.
“Old Mrs. Pruneface who taught fourth grade art class never smiled. No one in any of her classes could figure out whether it was because her teeth didn’t fit or because she was just a grouch. The third period’s group of three or four really close friends didn’t care why she was never pleasant. In fact, they really didn’t care about anyone—except, of course, themselves. They especially didn’t care about me. I was too shy, too quiet, too ‘goody-two-shoes’ to be liked by those girls.
“One day as Mrs. Pruneface was walking up and down between our chairs, she saw a piece of paper sticking out from under my desk. She pulled it out and looked at it. Giggles and snickers were heard all around the room. She handed the paper to me. I felt my face get all hot and my eyes get wet. There on the paper was the worst drawing of the teacher I had ever seen. And most horrible of all, it had my name on it! Oh, no.
“I couldn’t bear to live another minute. I wanted more than anything else to run and run and run—away from poor, sad Mrs. Pruneface; away from those girls who laughed at hurting someone so bad; away from the shy little me who couldn’t and wouldn’t stand up for herself.
“Understanding Mrs. Pruneface didn’t say a word. She simply folded up the paper and dropped it in the trash can. But that paper had done it’s job. Those girls had gotten their laugh, and I was forever the outsider.
“Oh, if only—please, somebody—had shown me that they cared.”
I wrote that during high school and unearthed it while purging old files. I had forgotten the incident though the feelings of insignificance and isolation had gurgled and thrived for decades.
Then the soothing balm of truth began to work its way into my soul and I eventually came to realize that, just like their laughter was based on lies, my humiliation was also based on lies.