Thanks, Y’All!

Thanks, Y’All!

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be

Thanks, Y’All!

We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.

~Tim McGraw

I have distant friends, neighborhood friends, basketball friends and friends online. However, I have one group of friends that has really been special to me.

In the fifth grade, my twin sister, Monica, and I transferred to a new school. Without any hesitation, I went. I didn’t argue. Since my mom taught there, I would no longer have to ride the bus with a bunch of rowdy boys and worry about stuff like getting kicked in the head. No kidding — they actually accidentally kicked me in the head one day!

At my old school, I hadn’t made any real friends. I was treated like a complete dork because of the way I looked. I had glasses, baggy clothes, pimples and blemishes. I rarely smiled and hardly ever laughed, wore a belt and was overweight. I was also dealing with the reality of my parents getting a divorce.

So, on the first day at my new school, I just hoped that I would make friends. For a few weeks, I was always alone. Monica ended up having a different lunch period than I did, so I would just read during recess and lunch.

Then one day, a girl in my class named Cori came up to me at lunch and asked if she could sit by me. We began to talk, and since we both are twins, it gave us a lot to talk about. Soon, Cori introduced me to friends of hers — Adriane, Hannah and Toni — and I introduced them to Monica. Then Cori’s twin, Cole, and his friends Matt and Ross started hanging around with us. We became one big inseparable group. At recess we played basketball and other games. We did everything together.

Ever since we’ve been together, my friends have always been there for me — even the boys. They liked me, for me. Having them in my life changed the way I felt about myself. Their friendship gave me a sky-high feeling. We barely ever argued! We were really tight. They seemed to understand how hard it was to change schools and have stuck with me through the tough times, like dealing with my parents’ divorce.

One time, when Monica and I couldn’t go outside with our friends after school, Toni supplied us with a pair of walkie-talkies to keep us all in touch!

I began being more outgoing, like getting involved in student council and entering writing contests — some that I even won! Then came the sixth grade, our last year of elementary school and the last year for all of us to be going to the same school together. Adriane, Hannah, Toni, Matt and Ross were going to Tison. Monica and I would at least still be seeing Cori and Cole since the four of us were all going to Hall Junior High.

I’d also be seeing my “old” classmates from the other elementary school, including some I had run into recently. Boys who had teased me in my old school, stood staring at me not even knowing who I was. The girls who previously had treated me like vapor now paid attention to me and called me by name. I couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t know why. I thought that I was the same old me. But then when I looked in the mirror, I realized that I was a lot different than I had been before.

I wasn’t short and stubby anymore. I had grown tall and slender and my complexion had cleared up. The glasses were gone and my belts were pushed to the back of my closet. I realized then that my friends had done more than just make me feel good — they had made me feel confident because they had supported me, and slowly my appearance had changed.

With their help, I had pushed my weight off. Toni helped me with that by encouraging me not to eat some of the more fattening foods and telling me that I could do whatever I set my mind to. I had been trying to lose weight since I was nine, when the doctor had said to my mom, “Michelle has a weight problem.”

I learned to properly wash my face with the help of my friend Hannah and her magical beauty tips. “Just wash your face every night, it doesn’t take too long!” she instructed.

With the help of Cori, my belt was gone. “Believe me, it’s a lot less painful on your stomach. I used to tuck all my clothes in, even sweaters!” she exclaimed.

Adriane suggested that I wear my glasses only when I really needed them. “If you can see how many fingers I’m holding up, you are okay,” she said. “Just wear them when you need to see the homework assignment on the board.”

My sister, Monica, loves clothes and helped me pay attention to how I dressed. She would give me feedback about what looked good and what didn’t. It really helped to hear her say, “Wow, Michelle, that looks FANTASTIC on you! Man, why couldn’t I have gotten that?”

With the help of Cole, I learned a little bit more about athletics. “No! No! The receiver receives the ball! No! No! The quarterback doesn’t flip the quarter! That’s the referee!” he explained.

With the help of Matt, I learned to smile. “It won’t hurt you,” he encouraged.

With help from Ross, I learned a laugh a day keeps the frown away.

“B in math? Awesome! That’s not failing — it’s just not perfect,” expressed my friends.

As I gaze into the mirror, I turn to the left and then to the right. I smile at my reflection, because I now realize that these people, my true friends, never saw me as a dork. They saw the beauty in me. They brought my personality out.

The best friends that anyone in the world could ever have will be missed when we go to junior high. But I will cherish the memories that we have created, and whatever happens, I’ll always remember that my friends helped me become who I am. In conclusion, I have to say… thanks, Cori, Cole, Hannah, Matt, Adriane, Ross, Toni and Monica.

Y’ALL ARE THE BEST!!!

~Michelle Strauss, 12

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