Not Just the Freakishly Tall Girl
Brieanna, Age 16, Oak Park, IL

ďWowÖ youíre really tall.Ē I hear it almost every day.. It annoys me so much. I mean, would you want to be recognized as the freakishly tall girl? I sure donít. I want to be known for something besides my height. I want to have people remember me for my personality, talents, and accomplishments. After all, weíre the only ones that let others know who we really are.

Ever had one of those days where nothing goes right? I have. I had one the first day of first grade. I lived in Pilson at the time but my mom had just bought a new house and wanted me to attend a school in River Forest. I wasnít able to start the first day because my mom did not have the closing papers and without them I could not register at my new school.. You see, in order for me to go to school in River Forest I had to have proof that I lived in River Forest. Because of this I ended up starting school about one week after school began. My mom and I got there early. I was so nervous. I was only five, but I wasnít very outgoing. I was the type of kid who waited for people to come and talk to me. In fact, Iím still that person today. When the five minute bell rang. I saw all the kids come into the cubby area. There were so many of them. I was so nervous; I refused to come out of the cubby area for the first part of class. When I finally came out, none of the other kids would talk to me. Lunch came around and I had nowhere to sit. No one offered a seat for me. I felt hurt. I ended up sitting by myself for a whole 45 minutes. That wasnít the worst of it. I realized I had to go to the bathroom. I walked over and didnít know which was which. The doors were open, but there were no signs. I walked towards the one on my right. I just got in the stall when I heard a guyís voice coming from the outside of my stall. I realized I had gone into the wrong bathroom. I didnít know what to do. I waited till the guy was gone. Right when I got outside the bathroom, the bell rang. The rest of the day was a blur. I was so uncomfortable being there. All I remember was I wanted this day to be over. When my mom came to pick me up, I was near tears. I told my mom what happened and she felt bad. She told me before I went to bed that instead of waiting for the kids to talk to me, go talk to them. I told her Iíd give it a try. The n ext day when I went to my cubby, a girl came up to me and asked if I wanted to have lunch with her. When lunch came around, we talked about all the things we liked. We had so much in common. Before I knew it, lunch was over. It seemed to go by so quickly. I think she felt it too because the next thing I knew, she invited me to have lunch with her the next day. I couldnít believe it. I had finally made a friend. And ever since that day weíve been best friends. I ended up learning two lessons that day. First, if you want something, make it happen yourself. Second, I learned that I needed to be more outgoing. Since that day Iíve been making conversations with new people almost every day.

Some say music brings people together. In my case it did. At school, music helped me make some new friends. I joined the marching band last year. I am a color guard member. A color guard member spins and tosses a flag and a wooden rifle and also dances at some point in the show. This year our show was Star Wars. I was very excited. Weíve been coming up with different ideas to make our show entertaining and creative. Weíve made lots of fun memories with each other at camp and at practice. A week before school started, we went to Williams Bay, Wisconsin for camp. We left Sunday and came back Wednesday night. The field we were practicing on wasnít very far away by car. Unfortunately we had to walk 1.7 miles just to get there. We made this trip four times a day. By the time we left weíd walked about 21 miles just from walking to the field and back. I was sore, cranky, and definitely not ready for marching when we came back. And of course the day after we got back, we had to be at school by 8:30 for practice. Instead of my dad giving me a ride, I had to walk to school. Not good especially after I just walked 21 miles. I was so sore; I had to leave an hour early. My calves were aching, I had blisters on my achy feet and my arms were sore from twirling the flags a couple hours per day. I was glad to be at school. I wasnít the only one suffering. Everyone was either sore or cranky, or sunburned. Unfortunately we had to run two laps then went into a minute drill. A minute drill is when we had to stand completely still for a whole minute holding either your instrument or flag. Itís very challenging especially when bugs were trying to eat you alive. We were at school till 1:30. I was finally glad when I was able to go home. Even though band can be a huge pain in the butt and be a hassle, itís still an activity where you can meet new people. Band has helped me broaden my horizons with regards to making friends. I made twice t he amount of friends in band than I had in the classroom. If I hadnít joined band, Iíd probably be sitting at home wishing Iíd done a fall activity.

Iím very creative but in class I draw a blank on how to get into a conversation with people. With my friends itís a whole other story. Hereís an example. Towards the end of the summer. My friends and I decided to end our first summer together in a creative way. We decided to bury a time capsule and dig it up the year before we leave for college. The day before we buried it, we took many crazy fun pictures of ourselves. We made funny faces, weird poses, action shots, and many other goofy poses. We also put our tickets from Kiddieland, a menu from the Thai restaurant New Pot (by the by NEVER order from there. The food is terrible.), a list of events that happened to us over the summer like our balloon fight, having outfits contests at the mall, and us going to my friendís momís work space and playing in the jungle gym. We buried the box at one of my friendís backyards. It took a lot of work. We kept running into roots and really fat looking worms, but we got through it. To remember where it was buried, we carved our initials into the fence. It was a memorable moment for us because it was our very first summer as friends. We wanted to remember that summer for the rest of our lives.

Besides being in the color guard I also was a member of the school soccer team. I have been playing soccer since I was six years old.. That seems so long ago and again I was sort of shy. Now when I think about performing before stadium size groups, taking risky shots on the field and trying out for a position on the team, I canít believe that this is me. I have grown a lot and the good news is that I am still growing and changing. I look forward to the future and who I am becoming!

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