Among the most vivid memories stored in my brain’s what-doesn’t-kill-us-makes-us-stronger area is that day on the school bus in 7th grade. New to the neighborhood and school, I wanted friends more than air to breathe! I listened to the “cool” girls sitting behind me, laughing and chatting about their plans at the mall that afternoon. How I longed to be one of them… Gathering all my nerve until just seconds before my stop, I turned around, smiled, and asked if I could join them. Silence. They all stared at me frozenly. The leader of the group – at least in this instance, since her mother was going to be driving – looked uncomfortable as she quickly replied, “Sorry, there’s no room in the car.” Mind you, this was back when seatbelts were regarded as optional, and people crammed as many bodies into their cars as would fit.
I turned back around and willed myself not to cry. (More…)