Throwback Thursday: Burn Book

The harsh reality of life is that weird and bad things happen. All the time. To good people, bad people, and everyone in between. The following is an essay I wrote my senior year of high school that I found. It’s very numbing. But it also serves–to me at least–as a reminder to take the good from painful situations. It’s actually very interesting to see how I have grown as a person in direct relation to the burn book craziness.

Yes, this actually does happen in real life. No, it is not just a Mean Girls thing. It sucks. But look at how far I’ve come since then! (AKA There really IS so much to smile about!)

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Meredith Schneider
Mr. Smithmier
ACCP English IV, Hour 7
25 September 2007

Burn Book

            I sat there in shock as I read what was displayed on my computer monitor.  My friend that was conversing with me on instant messenger had sent me a link not thirty seconds before, warning me of what I was about to see.  I was astonished and utterly confused.  I was in a burn book; an online burn book, nonetheless-and I was reading hideous things that no one should ever have to read about themselves.

My head was spinning.  As my mind raced, my thoughts became jumbled and I found myself questioning everything and everyone I had ever trusted.  What have I done to deserve such treatment?  When have I ever let anyone down?  Who in their right mind would say such disgusting, horrible things?  Is my nose really that ugly?  Do I really need plastic surgery?  Am I really fat?  Do I really come across as arrogant?  If one person thinks these things, does everyone think negatively of me?  It had taken just one paragraph written with close attention to detail by an anonymous classmate to completely shatter my self-esteem.  My heart had fallen into my stomach, and I was crushed.

Since my freshman year, I was only too kind to everyone around me.  I had always put everyone on a pedestal above me, putting both my needs and wants last.  I had never intentionally let anyone down and had never talked about anyone behind their back.  I had seen the good in everyone, oblivious to any flaws that might have existed.  But that was all about to change.  I realized within those several shocking seconds that I was entirely too trustworthy of everyone around me.  All of that was about to come to a crashing halt.

I could not comprehend why people would say such disgusting things.  Someone was threatening my life because of my looks, which was something I was not used to.  It was something that no one should ever have to get used to.  Not only that, but they were obviously backstabbers because no one had ever been that rude to my face.  I just could not understand why, if this person had such strong and open opinions about my personality and all of my imperfections, they would not have the audacity to openly express said opinions to my face.

Those few moments on that Sunday morning made me realize that I had to be more protective of myself.  It became obvious that morning that I was entirely too trustworthy and that the people I associated with on an every day basis obviously did not deserve the large amount of reliance that I had previously allowed them to have from me.  In that timeframe, I realized that I could not trust people as I had before; that it truly is necessary to put a “fence” up to guard my heart and my feelings.  My trust was, after all, not something to be given away, but something that people must earn.

Completely distraught and befuddled, I moved the mouse to the upper right hand corner of the screen and clicked the red “x” to close the window.  I clicked the “start” menu on the bottom left and scrolled down to the icon labeled “Turn Off Computer”.  My monitor went black, and I stood up and walked away.

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