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This was a time when I realized the deeper meaning of my feelings, these realizations allowed me to flourish.
The crowds flowed into the cafeteria like herds of noisy sheep, the same as every other day. Any other day we would be sitting in the same seats at the same table with the same people on the same side of the lunchroom. But today was not any other day. On this day, the people that could strike a conflict that usually sit two tables down from us were now sitting at our already overcrowded table. This was more than enough to annoy all of us.
Everything was fine until we got closer to the end of lunch. I don’t know who or what started the conversation, but the table was tense to begin with and this didn’t make things much better. Someone started to bring up old memories. At first, it didn’t involve me. But as they kept talking, all I could think was please please please don’t bring anything up, I’m really not in the mood for drama. But one thing led to another and my name ended up in conversation. My friends really love to start things.
It started with me, Liam, and this other girl whose name we do not mention. Let’s just say I really don’t get along with her. It’s not that she did anything bad to me, but she was very new to school and was already sticking her nose in places that it didn’t belong. And, as much as we tried to get along for the sake of mutual friends, we knew it was doomed from the start. Anyways, Liam and I get nudged into the middle of the conversation while we were just trying to eat our food. We were civil because we just wanted to end this topic. But, as the conversation got more involved, things started to get heated. I mean, we weren’t yelling but the tone changed dramatically. It was a mixture of sarcasm, seriousness, and hatred. And, I don’t remember the exact exchange of words but it ended with both of us saying “I hate you” and that’s obviously never a good way to end a conversation.
Now, you have to understand I barely ever cried at home. Ever since I was little my dad said I was a little bad*** that would look him in the eye and suck it up to keep myself from crying. To be honest, I don’t think that’s healthy but it’s how I coped with hurting so I guess it’s okay for me.
Taking that into consideration, you can determine how bad it was when I started crying in school for the first time ever. None of my friends have ever seen me cry so you can only imagine the look of startlement when they saw streams of a salty liquid flowing from my eyes. At first, when we were in the cafeteria, it wasn’t so much of rivers as it was puddles forming. I tried to do the sucking up thing which wasn’t working as well as it usually does, and this was terrifying to me. I hated when people saw me crying. It made me feel weak and broken and I didn’t want people to ever see me like that. Plus, my eyes get extremely puffy after I cry and it’s not cute at all.
Then, the inevitable happened. Someone noticed the puddles which made the puddles turn into lakes. Whenever I realize someone notices, it makes me feel even worse because I know those familiarly dreadful three words all too well. “Are you okay?” they ask. And those simple three words of compassion make the floodgates open and turn lakes into rivers. How could you ask if I’m okay? Do I look okay to you? Then I reply with the insincere line of the two little words, “I’m fine.” Coming from a girl of experience, don’t ever trust someone that replies with “I’m fine”, they don’t mean it. They’re probably just afraid of the pain, sorrow, and pity.
To my luck, the bell rings. So I hop up, turning my head to the wall because I don’t want anyone else to notice. But, they most definitely notice. I walk, fast-paced, of course, trying not to draw any more attention to myself. I go straight through the cafeteria doors, across the hall, over to the restroom. I have five minutes to clean myself up, get my act together, and go to class. But being the good friends, or maybe just nosy friends, that they are, they ran after me trying to understand the situation. Me, being the closed book that I am, was annoyed and kept saying “I’m fine, really I am.” But I could tell that I was leaving them on a cliff hanger and they wanted to know everything. So, I didn’t tell them anything. I wiped the tears away with the rough paper towels and unsteadily walked back to class with my head down because my face was still red and wet and the puffiness was beginning to show.
On my way to class, Liam approached me. We started talking and to clear things up I told him that it wasn’t his fault and we were fine. I heard some other people calling out to me but I ignored them and stepped into class. But, when I got inside I remembered that I had to sit with some friends that were for sure going to interrogate me. When I said that I was fine they didn’t buy it. And since I couldn’t run away this time, I actually had to sit there and listen to them. Lena knew I wasn’t going to tell them what’s wrong so she told me, “I know you don’t mean it and if you’re not going to tell us what’s wrong then at least know that we’re here for you whenever you need to talk.” “Thank you, that means a lot,” I said, knowing I was never going to pour out my feelings. Then, for the rest of the class, they tried cheering me up by making jokes which I guess worked because I stopped sniffling. But, the puffy eyes were there to stay.
While I was sitting there, I started thinking about why I was crying. Because, I never cry when I get into arguments, so why now?
I’m eight years old and summer was coming soon. My sister and I are in our rooms and we hear yelling and loud noises coming from the kitchen. I don’t want to listen but the bickering is taking over my thoughts. And, although they are yelling, there were times when it seemed like they were trying to whisper. They don’t want us to hear what they’re fighting about, so I close my door in hopes to drown it out. But as figured, the thin piece of wood didn’t do me justice. So I sit there. Hugging my stuffed animals. Shortly after, my sister opens my door and pulls me and my stuffed animals into her room. We sit there, on her bed now. My sister is fourteen so she thinks she knows more than me. I let her think that and don’t tell her how much I really understand. Even though I understand, I feel fine. Don’t get me wrong, the situation was pretty bad, but I’m not going to cry about it. My sister on the other hand, well, let’s just say she’s the more openly emotional one. She comforts me through it all. Although, I feel like she’s trying to comfort herself by comforting me. That’s okay, I like being there for my sister even when she’s the most annoying person in the world.
I begin to realize that it isn’t the situation that’s making me cry. It’s me feeling like I’m becoming my parents which I never wanted to happen. I’m not vulnerable to my peers, I never let them cut me deep. This time, it was personal and I learned that I have emotional scars to patch up. The tears on the other hand, are healthy. They allow me to blossom and prevent me from wilting.