Daily Prompt: The Outsiders
The summer of 2003 will always be the turning point in my life. My small clan moved away into an old farmhouse located way back in the sticks, nearly isolated except for another house that was on the other side of some trees. It was hot, it was sticky. That ratty couch I initially slept on. The lights were old, the water was bad. Nothing in the fridge was good to eat. Cupboards full of mysterious items, many of them probably over 20 years old. About 20 cats were walking around, most of them mean and unfriendly – one always hid in the ceiling that I blocked off with a wine rack one day, the cat trying to get in to my amusement. I had no room because the upstairs was taken by my sisters, so I had to construct one out of wooden boards that were lying against the door, dividing a place off in the living room. Slept on a mattress lying on the floor. It was dusty and dirty. A window was broken where I slept, letting flies and cold air in. Life couldn’t have dropped any further for me after living in what I thought was an immaculate palace compared to these conditions. For the first time, we were actually living like hillbillies. My mom even had this idea to hang clothes on a line outside but abandoned it, to my relief. Thankfully, we aren’t living there anymore.
For the first time, I would be going to a new school in a new city where I knew no one at all and no one knew small town me. Middle school. Sixth grade. The big transition in my life, going away from the kiddies in elementary to the beginning of my teenager life and beyond. I turned 12 and though I didn’t know it yet, my own body was betraying me. Sprouting up acne all over, my nose growing at least an inch.
There was never a time like middle school. It had to be the worst transitional period in my life. I was constantly laughed at and the target of finger pointing and whispers. And it didn’t help that I couldn’t say anything back. Truly an outsider I was during that long and torturous year. I really missed my old friends back in my hometown, who would have understood what I was going through and might have supported me, since they totally knew what I was like.
The kids let me have it during the first few days of sixth grade. I was teased and made fun of. My old pair of jeans were too short and my new shirts were from the clearance rack – stuff nobody wanted anymore. Was called a geek. Pathetic and shy. Endured ridicule and humility everyday.
The demographics at this school were completely flipped. At my previous school, it was all Caucasian, but here the majority was African-American with whites mixed in. In my homeroom class, I really felt out of place. Sat at the back at the room in front of one student who didn’t like the way I smelled, which was true because I had never taken the task of bathing seriously until this point of my life. It seemed as if noone liked me, not even the teachers. I cried once when I had a paper late and the teacher called me out on it, singling me out. I buried my head in my arms, already feeling eyes on me and the humility.
The final day of sixth grade, I sat by myself on a hill in the back of the school overlooking everyone, taking in one of the worst years of my life. This was the end of the year picnic for all the students and faculty. It was supposed to be a great day with everyone being cheerful, and that everyone was, except me. I guess I just had a chip on my shoulder after spending the entire year as the definite outsider, all these insults being directed at me. It wasn’t made any better when a teacher quietly whispered about my appearance while I was getting some icecream from a table, burying me deeper into this yearlong depression. Really immature, I must say.
Seventh grade was better, the insults dying down, but the teasing and taunting a bigger annoyance – and my grades plummeted. I got an F in a class for the very first time. At least I made a couple of friends this year and actually had some fun and was able to laugh along.
Eighth grade was an enlightenment. I moved back home to familiar territory. Now I started to earn respect. I was feeling older and more wiser now. My grades improved, but I still was terrible at math, especially Algebra that I was just getting my feet wet in.
And from there, everything only got better, the horrible pubescent years forever over. It’s been ten years since I left that poor school. I now look back on it and laugh, now realizing it wasn’t that big of a deal after all.
Tell us about the experience of being outside, looking in — however you’d like to interpret that.