I was so excited about going to middle school. I felt all grown up and ready to meet new people I had carefully decided on a pink v-neck shirt and a pair of jean shorts that had a pink ruffle on the bottom. The first few weeks of sixth grade went okay. I was making many new friends, but I became particularly close with two girls. We started going over to each other’s houses and talking on the phone every night. Sixth grade was going okay until something happened…
This was probably the first huge lesson of my young life. I learned that people can be cruel, especially sixth grade girls. Now understand, these girls weren’t bad people. In fact, only a couple were the leaders and the rest quietly followed. Afterall, being in sixth grade is tough. Sixth Graders often feel that you need to put others down to make yourself look better. If you can put down someone else, then people will pay attention to you, or that’s what you think when you are in sixth grade. If you want to be cool, you must show how utterly uncool someone else is. Someone has to be the loser or outcast or no one can be the winner. A few months into sixth grade, I was picked to be the outcast. One day, the two girls I had befriended started doing things to deliberately hurt me. Later I found out from another friend that they thought it was funny to see me mad, and that this was why they liked picking on me. They began by ignoring me. I particularly remember one incidence that occurred in gym class while we were practicing lay-ups. One of the girls had just made a shot, so I held out my hand for her to give me a high five. She wouldn’t even look at me. She just walked right past me with a smurk on her face. She ran straight to the other girl and started giggling. The ignoring was just the beginning. They then began to spread silly rumors about me. Shortly after the rumors spread, I saw a group of girls talking before class. As I approached the group, one of the girls whispered, “ Here comes Lacy, everyone turn your back.” They actually huddled together in a circle with their backs to me when I greeted them. Believe me, that was not a happy moment in my life.
On one of the worst days, another girl and I walked up to the lunch table where we usually sat and noticed that no one was there. Then, I notice a few of the girls that we usually sat with standing near a table on the other side of the lunchroom. I walked over to them and asked if we were sitting over here today. They said no and to save them a seat at the other table. I sat at the the other table saving their seats, but the other girls never came to the table. The two of us were sitting at a huge table all by ourselves. You can imagine what that does to an eleven-year-old girl’s reputation. When I realized what was happening, I moved to another table. Then, the girls at this table thought it would be funny to throw my lunch on the ground. I couldn’t eat my lunch because it was ruined.
These kinds of incidences went on for a while in sixth grade. I felt so alone, like I didn’t have a friend in the world. I hated going to school. I dreaded it! I didn’t feel happy at home either. Don’t misunderstand me; my parents were wonderful. I didn’t like going home because I knew that meant night was coming, and I would have to try to sleep. Every single night I couldn’t sleep. I was so lonely and the dark made me feel even more alone. I would lie there absolutely terrified. My heart felt like it was in my throat. I would be in a panic because I was all by myself in my room. I felt sad almost all of the time. I tried to hide it from my parents because I didn’t want to make them sad. I didn’t want them to feel like their daughter was a loser.
I began to question why this was happening to me. My young 11-year-old mind thought, ‘I didn’t do bad things; I didn’t smoke, or talk back to my parents (most of the time). I made good grades and went to church, so why was this happening to me?’
The questioning got me thinking. I began thinking about things that I had never thought about before. I started wondering if God really existed, and if so, why was he letting the other kids be so mean to me? I started thinking, why should I believe in God, just because my parents said so? If God was there, I had never really given him much thought before. Sure, I went to church, knew the story, and even accepted it as true, but I never truly understood. The night I began pondering, I decided to pray to God that if he was real, show me a sign. Within the same week, while walking home on the same road I took every single day, I saw a tree distinctly shaped as a cross. I had never seen it before, yet I had taken that path every day that year.
On another day, something very strange and even more wonderful happened. I was lying on the couch one night watching T.V. with my parents. As usual, I was feeling terribly sad and alone, dreading the inevitable bedtime, when I suddenly felt strange. God spoke to me! I felt God tell me he loved me. I wasn’t watching anything spiritual or hadn’t been thinking about God. The words just came from nowhere. I didn’t hear a voice; I just felt the words being said to me, and a warmth came over me. God was telling me he loved me, and that I was never alone. I know the words came from God because it changed my life. At that moment, I felt an indescribable joy, greater than I had ever felt before. I knew that even though I did not feel loved at school, I was not alone. Someone who loved me was with me all the time. I did have someone there who loved me while I was in school. I realized I wasn’t alone at night while I slept in my room. In a moment, all of these realizations came to me, all at once! Suddenly, I did not dread going to school or to my room at night. I knew I wasn’t ever going to be alone again, and I knew I had never really been alone. I didn’t care what people said because the most important being in the world loved me. Everything else seemed trivial. It was amazing to me that all of this knowledge came to me at once. I knew God had spoken to me.
That night was the beginning of a new life for me. I truly didn’t care what people thought of me anymore, but consequently; I almost instantly found new friends. The ignoring, teasing, and rumors stopped or at least I didn’t hear them. I loved going to church. I started having fun at youth group. Oh, and at night, I slept. I loved going to my room because it was a chance for me to be alone with God. I would often pray myself to sleep. This was the beginning of my new life with God. Today, I still go through moments of sadness, but I have not since felt as unhappy as I felt that year. Now, I realize that the whole year of teasing was a miracle. Although I was not perfect, I was more aware of my actions towards others all through middle school and high school. I was careful about making fun and being cruel to others. I tried to be friendly to everyone and I hope I succeded most of the time. I am thankful that God showed me how much it hurt to be picked on or bullied. These events helped me grow as a person. -Lacy Ngo