12: This Too Shall Pass

12: This Too Shall Pass

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens

This Too Shall Pass

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.

~Frank A. Clark

By the time I was in middle school, my family had already relocated enough times that I had been in three different elementary schools. Yet, I found myself again being told that we were moving, this time to Ohio. This was to be my second middle school. My dad’s company often promoted and transferred employees. I now understand that the relocations were not cruelty... they were just the way he supported a family with five children.

We moved to Ohio over the summer and the neighborhood that we moved into was just beginning development. There were few houses and even fewer kids my age. I had no friends, but I made lots of money babysitting.

I dreaded starting the school year at yet another new school and knowing no one. I anticipated what was coming. I had bright red hair, freckles, enormous glasses, and, even worse, I was obese. It was not going to be easy for me. I had already heard the nickname “Big Red” often enough. In addition, I wasn’t very gregarious and making friends did not come easily to me.

Getting on the school bus that first day, I felt all eyes looking at me. I could hear the whispers of, “Who’s that?” and, “Where did she come from?” and even, “She’s huge!” Obviously the kids on my bus route had known each other over the years and I was a newcomer — a stranger. I spent that initial bus ride in silence.

The following day was even worse. A couple of the boys on the bus decided that it would be funny to tie a shoelace across the aisle, connected to the bottom of the bus seats. As anticipated, I did not notice the shoelace and tumbled face first, dropping everything I was carrying. As I frantically and embarrassingly gathered up my supplies and belongings, I could hear the laughter. Then I began hearing the comments. “Wow! Did you feel the whole bus shake when she fell?” “That felt like an earthquake!” I managed to avoid any eye contact and found a seat. I looked out the bus window and held back the tears that were welling up in my eyes.

It was then that I pretty much sunk into myself. I began walking everywhere. I would walk through the yet undeveloped woods behind our house to my favorite spot. It was a thick vine that had attached itself to the trees like a swing. I would sit in silence on that vine swing with my thoughts, rhythmically gliding back and forth. I would imagine that I was thin and pretty with a multitude of friends.

I would walk to a church about two miles down the road where there was an outdoor area set up with tree stump seats and an enormous cross. I would sit on my tree stump and chat silently with God. I would ask God to help me be thin and pretty with a multitude of friends.

I began missing the afternoon school bus intentionally and I would walk the two or three miles home from school, dodging traffic or jumping into yards since there were no sidewalks.

And I started losing weight.

Not only did I start losing weight, I became more content with myself with each pound that I lost. And, as I became content with myself, I began making friends.

Unbelievably, one of my newfound friends was actually a very popular cheerleader. She suddenly noticed that I was much thinner and she said, “Wow! You look great! How did you lose so much weight?”

She also struggled with her weight and we began walking together. She was not nearly as large as I had been but was not the stereotypical “perfect” cheerleader either. She lived in the neighborhood adjoining my own so we would each walk to the middle and walk together from there. This became a nearly daily activity with chatter and laughter along the way — a far cry from the lonely walks that I had taken so often. My new popular friend also demonstrated to me that I didn’t have to be perfect. I just had to be me, and be happy with myself.

Whenever I am struggling with any of life’s issues, I always remember the proverb, “This too shall pass.” It certainly was hard during that first year in Ohio to comprehend that I would ever have anything but misery for the rest of my life, but that misery did indeed pass. While I absolutely would not want to relive that time of loneliness, sadness and embarrassment, I am proud of the fact that I made it through and emerged a better person because of it.

~Lil Blosfield

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