All I Would Ever Need

All I Would Ever Need

From Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul

All I Would Ever Need

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo,but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.

Oprah Winfrey

I had always felt like I was a misfit in school. My friends, although good and true friends, were not in the crowd of popular kids in school. Besides, I was sure I was funny looking. I just didn’t fit the mold.

Parading constantly before my eyes was “the fun group”—the popular kids—always laughing and whispering, never sad or depressed, skipping their way through school, the best of friends. Teachers loved them, boys loved them, the whole school loved them. I worshipped them and wanted to be just like them. I dreamed of the day that they would accept me.

My dream came true when I turned fourteen and I tried out for the cheerleading squad. To my surprise, I was chosen. Almost instantly, I was thrust into the “in crowd.” I felt like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. I changed my hair and the way I dressed. Everyone thought the change in me was fantastic—new clothes, a new group of friends and a new outlook on life.

Almost overnight, the whole school knew who I was, or at least they knew my name. There were parties and sleepovers, and of course, cheering at the games. I was finally one of the popular kids. Everyone I had hoped to know, I knew. Everything I had wanted to be, I was.

Something strange was happening to me, however. The more I was included with the “in crowd,” the more confused I became. In reality, these people were far from perfect. They talked behind each other’s backs while they pretended to be best friends. They rarely had a truly good time but smiled and faked it. They cared about what I was wearing and who I was seen with. But they didn’t care about who I was, what I believed in, what my dreams were or what made me who I was. It was a shock to see them as they really were, instead of as I had thought they were.

I began to feel a huge sense of loss and disappointment. But worst of all, I realized that I was becoming just like them, and I didn’t like what was happening at all. I had to get my life back in order.

I concentrated first on finding out who my real friends were—the ones who listened and who really cared about me. They were the only ones who really mattered. I stayed with cheerleading because I really enjoyed it. But I stopped hanging around with only the popular kids, and I widened my circle of friends. I found out that my real friends had never left me. They were simply waiting for me to come to my senses. I finally realized that my original friends were all I would ever need.

Kerri Warren

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