kids can be so mean

when i first moved to new jersey from portugal, i was just short of my fourteenth birthday

i was a typical european girl who dressed european, didn’t shave my legs, didn’t wear make-up, played with my barbies still and looked my age instead of ten or so years older

it was nineteen eighty seven and pretty in pink, sixteen candles and Molly Ringwald were the “it” things at the time so almost every girl in my new school wore long silk blouses over leggings, long strands of fake pearls, hair spray and make-up

they looked more like they should be my teachers rather than my school mates

they thought i looked weird

i thought they looked even weirder

but it wasn’t so much the girls that made fun of me for the way i dressed or sounded

it was the boys

the boys were the worst!!!

because of the boys i would sneak my lunches outside in the freezing cold because i was ashamed of the homemade chicken sandwiches on good bread my mom would make for me (delicious by the way)

every time i opened my lunch bag i would cringe because it would stink up the lunch room (in a good way)

they would stare and make comments while eating their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on fake bread (wonder)

because of the boys (and some girls) i would make up excuses to not participate in physical education class due to my hairy legs

because of the boys i would shy away from answering questions when i knew the answer due to my “funny” accent

it’s not easy growing up

most kids do not often accept different

and i was different

for a little while anyway

until i started to adapt, change within myself and within the american way

and they started to adapt to me

one thing i want Lily to have as she grows is a good sense of self

a good sense of self and an acceptance of different

because we are all different

and not only is that more than ok but it’s also what makes the world go round