by Mikki Rey
6th grade: the days where there wasn’t a care in the world (or so we thought). I was given a chance to write a paper for extra credit, which was needed, about the different people we take on in different surroundings. Mine was entitled “Inside Outside;” cheesy yes, and now looking back, a little ridiculous. In 6th grade the majority of people are 11-12 years old and that is over a decade of experiences that should not be taken lightly. Each situation built us and molded us to be who we are. With these experiences come our innate nature to act differently around others. Think about if you are trying to impress a girl/guy: you probably try to act in a way that makes you look more attractive, but really you just end up humiliating yourself. My 6th grade self saw it more black and white. I felt confined between two people, who I am on the inside of my house and the clear division when I am outside. To this day that division is more than a line but a deep chasm that separates two very separate people.
At home everyone has a different experience. Some of you guys live with parents with high expectations, no expectations, divorced parents, struggling parents, abusive parents, loving parents, religious families, alcoholic parents, everyone has a different definition of what their house is like and maybe it might not even feel like a home. A new element has crept into the homes of a lot of families that being mental disabilities. Living with someone who deals with that internally is rough. Not being able to be yourself around your family is hard, not being able to be yourself around your family or ‘friends’ is even more tough. As soon as we walk through that front door you become a different person and for me that means fake a smile, even after the whole charade of school, do homework, make dinner, go to bed, and then repeat for the next day. No one has the ‘perfect’ life portrayed through media. Home is a safe haven for some and others it is just room and board to keep your mind preoccupied.
In school I am someone completely else. One of our social norms has become the answer “I’m fine,” “It’s nothing,” or “I’m great!” These are, of course, the answers to the question or a variation of “How are you?” But what if someone actually told you how they felt?
“You know I really want that burger but I still need to lose 10 pounds.”
Our world has molded us to be frauds of our own life, to portray this rose colored lifestyle. What an ugly world we are becoming. McKenna Hatch, in her article “Society’s Women: What Is Perfect?” wrote about the perfect mold society has been advertising. That mold is a lie. There is no way to measure up to that. HOSA dedicated a week to the awareness of mental illness with the hashtag #stopthestigma. That was a very bold move. You can’t stop the stigma in today’s society, but you sure do your part to prevent that bullying. The main point being that everyone is dealing with their crap (for lack of a better word) and some people may think of Westlake High as an escape from a difficult home front.
Everyone is different and that is vital for us to know who we are and where we stand. That difference becomes difficult to look at when you act differently around others. While being outside of our house, us high schoolers may have a couple people we are between our friend group and those we are just surrounded by daily. Everyone has something they are dealing with; so that person you just bumped into in the halls could have had the worst day, because they figured out their grandma has cancer. You may not know how you can make an impact on another person, but isn’t is worth knowing that by being yourself you could help someone else feel comfortable to be themselves?
6th grade was tough, but it only prepared me to deal with others, and it made me aware of how different we portray ourselves.
Maybe in your thoughts you are stuck in that chasm and feel like there is no happy medium. Well, be aware of that friend reaching out their hand to help pull you out and become your one, true self.