• 12 years old
  • Salt Lake City, UT


  • 29 years old
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Graphic Designer and Lettering Artist

My Story...

This photo was taken at the very beginning of seventh grade–my first year in junior high. My friends and I all laugh at this photo now, but I was nothing but serious about my look that day. I had done some babysitting during the summer so I could buy some new clothes for school, and the new shirt I wore was selected very intentionally. I planned out my jewelry extensively, braiding a hemp choker necklace and painting flowers on the bead so that it would match the elastics on my braces. I made a necklace with alphabet blocks to spell my first name, and to top it off, I chose my favorite dolphin necklace to rest between the other two. I curled my hair under, curled my bangs to perfection, and crisped them up nicely with a bunch of my mom’s hairspray. I was apprehensive and extremely nervous, but I was hopeful that I would come off as cool and confident, even though I was the exact opposite.
I soon realized that I didn’t know how to apply makeup or wear the right kind. My glasses were too childish and nerdy, so I wanted some contacts as soon as possible. The clothes that I had thought were really cute actually weren’t. According to the beautiful, popular people I should have had was name-brand everything, but each time I bought something with a name brand, that made me no cooler than before.
I wasn’t picked on or bullied very often, instead, I was invisible. I knew everyone’s names in all of my classes and who they were going out with, but I’m most of them couldn’t have told you mine. I didn’t speak up very often. In fact, I sweated nervously and blushed each time I raised my hand, answered a question, or even had to read something out loud. I was too shy to say hi to the boy I had a crush on even though we had known each other for a few years, and I was too sensitive to laugh off my friends’ jokes, so I was a consistently easy target for them.
I was scheduled to have a different lunch than all my girlfriends. In order to avoid standing in the lunch line by myself, when the bell rang, I ran through the halls to try to be at the beginning of the line in the cafeteria. One of these occasions, a cool, athletic ninth grader stuck his foot out to trip me as I ran through the hall. I flew through the air and sprawled out on the carpet, flushing with shame and trying not to cry. I picked myself as people laughed around me and I briskly walked to the cafeteria.
Looking back, I feel sad and protective of this girl who used to be me and in some ways still is. I wish I could tell her to just be herself no matter what, because more people will like her that way anyway. I wish I could tell her to always be friendly, kind, and lift others up, regardless of how I was treated. I wish I could convince her to not care what anyone thinks (my current self could use a little more convincing as well).
I wish I could tell her that she has a bright future, full of adventure, love, and more happiness than she could have ever expected.

1 Comment

  1. Felicia Mabuza says: February 16, 2015 • 09:01:22

    if i had known you back then, I probably would have been your friend, because i honestly thinkj you would have been a pretty cool person to chill with. i think that guy who tripped was quite stupid cause he didn’t benefit anything from doing that to you. I’m still in high school and i’ve learnt to stand up for myself, but I’m quite violent now. thanks for the words of wisdom


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