The Wise Sister
If the walls of Grover Cleveland Elementary School could talk, I wonder the stories it would tell. It was in these for wall where I was able to find myself and get a sense of the person I wanted to be. If your grade school experience was anything like mine, then there is one thing you know for sure…life is constantly changing. In elementary school you make friends, they move away, and you loose friends. One teacher teaches you one way and another teaches you a whole different way on the same subject. And the biggest change…your classmates wardrobes.
I remember coming to school knowing that the “popular” kids and the “norms” would be the only ones I would recognize. Everyone else, including guys, would be dressed completely different. Some would even go to the extremes on dyeing their hair three different colors at a time and start piercing their lips and noses. It was bizarre seeing classmates with holes all over their faces and with their hair looking like fireworks in the sky on fourth of July. Too much and too bright!
As I said, the atmosphere in elementary school was a constant change and well I was no different from the rest. No, I did not pierce my face or dye my hair but I was not the person I am today. I have always been able to get along with most stereotypical clique, including the popular kids, the artsy kids, the athletic kids, the goofs, and the norms. But in this food chain of popularity we associated ourselves with one more than the others. I was a “norm” short for normal and my close friends were too. So was my older sister. Secretly, though, I desired to be an official member of the popular clique. I just never figured out how to make it happen. I trying several thing including making fun of other classmate that I knew the cool kids didn’t like or thought were weird.
This false self continued for a year or two until my sister stepped in. She saw that I was acting foolishly and mean towards my true friends and decided to confront me about it. She called me fake and back in the day those were what we like to call fighting words. I was offended, outraged by the name she called me. I’m sure I called her names too but they have slipped my memory. As my sister continued to yell she suddenly lowered her voice and just looked at me. She then continued to speak and asked me why I was behaving the way I was. I explained my desire to be cool and she didn’t understand what I was talking about.
She sat me down and lectured me about loving myself for who I was. Accepting others for who they were. And most of all not caring what others might think or say. My wise sister encouraged me to be true to who I was. To decide who I wanted to be and to stand up for what I believed in. I learned sooner then others that cliques are limitations we set in our lives and separate us from each other.
It was thanks to my sister thank I was able to accept and learn to love myself and others. It was thanks to her that I was able to find my true self early on in life. We learned so much at Grove Cleveland Elementary but we learned more from each other. It wasn’t the place but the people who challenged us to be better. It’s like Mr. Feeny from Boys Meets World said, “People change people.”