Yeah, so, I want to share with you my brother-in-law Tony Hicks’ fabulous column in today’s Contra Costa Times’ about the coolest kid I know, my niece Lorelei.
When I was a kid, it never occurred to me that people didn’t like me. I would do or say or wear whatever I wanted. All that changed in the 7th grade when a girl made fun of my jacket.
Mean girl: “That jacket makes you look like a retard.”
Me: “But my grandma made it for me, because she loves me. She thinks I’m special.”
Mean girl: “Oh, you’re special all right.”
A week later, some random douche in my class decided to single me out on the bus and make fun of me. He got the whole bus to join in. That was the moment that everything changed for me. If I could go back in time, I would tell 7th-grade Sonia to take the later bus, so she could hold on to her fun, sweet personality just a little bit longer. Sadly, after the bus incident, it was all downhill from there. My school days were filled with dread, self doubt, fear and depression. Every day I was worried that someone was going to make fun of me, so I tried to keep my head down and not draw attention to myself. I wouldn’t even raise my hand and ask a question in class. I became timid and meek. I was afraid to be myself even around my closet friends because I was so afraid they would turn on me.
The “character” that Tony writes about in his column, the “character” that Lorelei has, I really didn’t get it back until after I graduated from high school. I got a little bit of it back during my junior year of high school when a counselor told me, “You know, high school is not forever. In a year, you never have to see these people again if you don’t want to. Who cares what they think, be who you want to be.” The next semester, I signed up for creative writing, and the following year, I joined the newspaper staff, and I found my voice.
It makes me so sad to think that I lost myself for so many years. What a waste. I see so much of my younger self in Lorelei. I truly do. And what I wish for Lorelei is that she never loses herself, because she is smart, funny, perceptive, brave, creative and sweet. She is truly amazing.
If I find out that kids are making fun of her, I will go to her school and push them around. Seriously, I’m not above beating up a kid. I’ll do it.