Kid Roxanne walked down the middle school hallway. She was in 6th grade. That made her eleven. In hindsight, it was her least favorite school year because of the bullies.
“Hey, Roxanne, when’s the flood coming?” one of her bullies called out. People around him snickered as they walked past each other. He was referring, of course, to the fact she rolled up her jeans because they were too long. They hung at a normal length at her ankles. She didn’t see the problem, but apparently, it was a fashion no-no.
“Who cares?” her mom’s voice rang in her head.
“Yeah, who cares?” she said to herself. At least she wore jeans. It was so hard to find clothes a perfect fit. She had resisted for years because they were uncomfortable, and got teased mercilessly for wearing leggings and baggy t-shirts.
She got her books out of her locker.
“Roooooxanne,” somebody screamed at her. “You don’t have to turn on the red light!”
Shut up with that stupid song again! she wanted to say.
“Just ignore them,” said her mom’s voice. So, she ignored them and walked by, seething. It was English time! She said hi to her teacher Mr. Kelly, and he greeted her warmly. She loved all her teachers. They were the only ones nice to her nowadays, ever since her best friend Arrie Annie got stuck in another section of the school. English was her best subject, although grammar stuff was boring. She loved writing. Most of her teachers liked her because she was attentive and got good grades. Big surprise.
“Alright, class, it’s time for your FAVORITE THING!” Mr. Kelly said. The class collectively held their breaths. “Commas!”
“Awwwwwwwww!” everyone cried out.
“Alright, alright, I’ll make you a deal,” Mr. Kelly laughed, passing out papers. “You guys get perfect scores on this comma quiz, and we won’t study commas today.”
“YAY!” everyone cried… and then most people made lots of mistakes. Roxanne got only one answer wrong, but she had wanted to be perfect.
Class progressed with boring things she already knew, and then it was time for lunch. She sat down next to a few other nerdy people who didn’t tease her much. Then, unfortunately, a few more meaner kids sat down across the table.
“My dad’s name is Steve,” one said. “Hey, Roxanne. What’s YOUR dad’s name? I bet it’s stupid.” Roxanne tried to ignore them and eat. “HEY! It’s rude not to answer people when they’re talking!”
Roxanne thought for a moment. She liked her dad’s name. “My dad’s name is Rocco!” she said.
“Rocco?” the bully said. “What kind of name is ROCCO?”
“Actually!” Roxanne’s face lit up. “Rocco is an Italian name! My dad is 100% Italian! He’s so cool! His name is so cool! I love his name! Rocco is so cool!”
The other kids went silent. “Oh, well….” one of them mumbled. “What’s your MOM”s name?”
“Her name is Catherine but her friends call her ‘Kitty.’ Isn’t that such a great nick name?” Roxanne said. She kind of held her breath on that one… there seemed to be some teasing potential there.
The kids looked at each other. “Hey, Sarah, what’s your dad’s name…”
Roxanne was so excited that they left her alone after that.
“If you don’t let stuff bother you, and let them see that it doesn’t bother you, kids won’t get any fun out of teasing you,” her mom always said.
Roxanne was a quirky girl. Kids called her “weird.”
“You’re not ‘weird,’ you’re ‘unique,'” her mom always said. “It’s okay that you like what you like, and they like what they like. As long as YOU like it, that’s enough! Being different is good!” Roxanne learned to own it. OWN IT. The next time they asked her about imminent flooding, she retorted, “I like my jeans!” When they teased her about her long pigtails, she said she liked them as weapons, and whacked them with them.
But somehow, she never got over the song. Maybe because she didn’t like the song. Luckily for her, she became a famous mixed martial artist on two reality TV shows, so now when people meet her, they say, “I’ve seen you on TV” instead of singing about a prostitute that Sting fell in love with.
LOL Bet’cha didn’t know that. Come on, ya’ll love the song so much, listen to the lyrics. You would not BELIEVE how many dozens of people started screaming the song to me in normal every day life after I started to introduce myself, including business settings.
Anyway, back to fun stuff!
I once saw a quote that said, “Our future selves are watching us through our memories.” What a cool idea and perspective! If only I could visit little Roxanne, crying at her window, wishing on the stars for friends! I’d tell her, “Don’t worry, Roxanne! Some day you will have your heart’s desire: friends. Lots of people will send you fan mail wanting to talk to you because of your unique personality that you got teased so mercilessly for! Some day, your fans will become your best friends. Some day, you will never be lonely.”
The only people who tease me now are fans, or rather, ‘anti-fans,’ who say my striking sucks. Haha you know what? That’s fine that they say that because I know IT’S GOOD ENOUGH! It’s not perfect or beautiful, but I am owning that right now! It’s good enough to win.
Thanks, Mom, for you all you did.
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