( Advanced Level )
Naomi was a straight – A student at school, an only child of upper – middle – class parents but when she looked in the mirror she didn’t like what she saw. She saw a girl who was unhappy.
The other girls at her school did not like her. They would tell others she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and never had to go without. They hated her for this.
She asked, several times, “Why hold this against me? I didn’t choose my parents.” The only response was a resounding scoff as they walked away.
Naomi mainly kept to herself only going to school which she dreaded. She never attended any school activities. It was senseless to go anywhere in public where she would be made a laughing stock.
She purposely dressed down to ward off insults but it never worked. Maybe it was her hair or the way she carried herself at school. She didn’t know.
Naomi took down all her social media accounts. She found people commented very ugly things about her. It didn’t stop them, though. They used their own accounts, without naming her, to say awful things about this girl.
She knew exactly who they were talking about. Instead of ignoring all social media, she found herself searching each of the girl’s accounts. Each night ended with her in tears burying her face in her pillow.
Naomi never told her parents about the drama at school. She knew they were very busy with their work and this would be a trivial matter to them.
She could hear her mom now, ” Naomi, just hold your head up high and be yourself. They have to be jealous of you.” This was not what she wanted to hear. It is not as easy as that.
In order to go to a different school, her parents would have to move and her parents definitely would not entertain the thought of her being homeschooled. “Children need to have socialization.” She could hear her parents now.
The school year pressed on and Naomi didn’t want to go to school anymore. She dreaded getting up each morning. She knew what each day would bring.
Stares. Laughs. Whispers. Not to forget the “Naomi, are you paying attention?” that came from her teachers. The whole situation was embarrassing for her.
She felt she couldn’t speak to the school authorities either. Her school had over four thousand students with one counselor. He wouldn’t have time for her.
The torment of the school year finally ended. Three whole months off from school. She hoped the new school year would bring a pleasant change.
Until then, she went to her grandparent’s home, in the countryside, for the summer. She went fishing with her grandfather and helped her grandmother bake fresh bread every day.
It was a perfect summer. Her troubles from school vanished from her daily thoughts. It wasn’t until she took the bus ride home and she drew closer to home that those nagging thoughts began to surface once again.
She was going to give the benefit of the doubt that this year would be better. Her mother picked her up from the bus station and on the ride home’ Naomi told her mom how each day was filled with new adventures while she was with her grandparents.
The following week her mom and she had planned to go school shopping. Paper, pencils, binders, backpack along with new clothes. The new school begins in one week.
“Mom, the school clothes from last year are just fine. They are all in perfect condition.” She hoped wearing old school clothes would help her blend in better.
“Nonsense Naomi, no daughter of mine will wear last year’s school clothes this year. We will make a day of shopping and grab a bite at the food pavilion inside the mall.”
On that note, Naomi let out a huge sigh. Her mom would never understand. ” Sounds great mom.” One thing she knew about her mom was that she adores shopping and didn’t want to disappoint her.
The girl’s day out on their shopping excursion was exhausting but fun. They went in and out of store after store. They ate a small lunch since it was late in the day by the time they finished.
Naomi’s mom knew her husband would be disappointed if they didn’t sit down at their usual dinner time together. Having family dinners together was what he held dear to his heart.
After dinner, Naomi showed her dad all that they had bought that day and she then hung up all her clothes. Many of which she loved but deep down in her heart she knew something negative would be said to her once school started.
Naomi’s alarm clock started at six in the morning. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Naomi rubbed her eyes and turned it off. The day finally came. The first day of the new school year.
She hadn’t had a restful night. She tossed and turned for hours. ” Was this year going to be better?” she heard herself whisper more than once.
The first day, she felt, was bearable, or so she thought. Naomi wouldn’t realize until later that these girls hadn’t changed. She decided to avoid them at all costs.
She went to lunch later hoping they would be done eating and left the cafeteria. Unfortunately, some shared the same classes with her. There was no way to get out of seeing them.
The looks and whispers started but she pretended to be listening to what the teacher’s plans for the school year were. Taking imaginary notes but she knew. She knew.
Her mom picked her up from school knowing she would have tons of books for her new classes and school lockers would not be assigned until next week. “How was your first day of school, Sweetie?”
“It was okay. I was too busy getting information from all my teachers and classes to pay much attention to anything else.” It was a white lie. She was actually very busy but she was fully aware of those girls.
Her family ate dinner at the usual time. Dad talked about work and he asked how her first day of school was. Naomi began to tell him but her mom interrupted with something important to tell him so she never finished her conversation.
“Sorry dear, what were you saying?” as her dad looked at Naomi again. “It was great. May I be excused? I have to organize all my class folders.” Her mom nodded a yes and Naomi quietly left the dinner table.
Naomi showered and then gathered up all her school folders and her new binder out of her backpack. It was now time to get things in order.
She finished about an hour and a half later. Everything is put away in their appropriate designated folders. Finally, she neatly packed everything into her backpack, for the next day. She wasn’t quite tired enough to fall asleep so she decided to go on the internet for a while before bed.
When she was away with her grandparents she hadn’t any internet, then once she returned home life was so busy for her that she hadn’t the chance to look at social media or check her emails.
She sat there on her bed scrolling through the local news then navigated her way to all the social media applications she loved to check. Her heart jumped when she read a post regarding her.
There was a picture of her science class and the back of her head. Her name wasn’t used but the post was definitely about her.
“The prima donna is back. She sits here in class looking down at the rest of us. Raising her hand to ask the teacher questions just to draw attention to herself. Like she needs to get over herself.” the posting read.
This was far from the truth. Naomi didn’t want the attention. She wasn’t believing what she had read. Then she continued to read the comments written after this initial post.
“Yeah, I saw her in the hallway strutting around hoping all the boys would pay any mind to her.”
“Me too. I was hoping she wouldn’t return this year. So much for hoping.”
She closed the lid of her laptop and wiped away the tears. She could only imagine what others would comment on in the days to come.
Naomi took a deep breath and headed out to the living room. She was hoping to finally talk to her mom or even dad about everything. Maybe they would listen to her with proof.
She made her way down the hallway to the living room to find the TV on but her dad was sound asleep with a book on his chest. Her mom had already gone to bed. She turned off the TV and headed to her parent’s bedroom.
“Mom? Mom, are you awake?” No response. Again, “Mom?” Still nothing. She quietly closed their door and headed back to her own bedroom.
As Naomi sat on her bed, in the dark, she whispered to herself,” I cannot do this again this year. I cannot.”
After ten minutes or so Naomi turned on her bedroom lights and sat at her desk. She began an email to her parents and to the school….
“I have taken a screenshot of what was posted of me on social media. This is not the first thing they’ve posted about me but I know it will be the last. I will not be their target any longer. I will not be here.”
“I do worry about my parents. They do not deserve this. I don’t believe they would truly understand how much this has hurt me.”
“You can do what you want with this information. If I can shed light and possibly help another girl or boy, it will be worth it. I sit here knowing I do not want another year of harassment and whispers.”
“Who I see in the mirror is who I am. A girl who loves her family. A girl who would never hurt another. I was judged by my clothes and my ambitions in life.”
“For those who never knew me really, it is your loss. For those who did, I am sorry. ” She ended her email and hit send.
Tragically, Naomi took her own life that night.
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Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts To Pen
Thoughts From Angel:
Bullying, in any form is wrong. You may think it is harmless but it is not. Words hurt. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel? Things being said about you that were completely false. The whispers….people talking. The stories changing from one person to the next. Stop and think before you say those hateful things to another.
For those on the receiving end of bullying, there are people who will listen. There are laws to protect you. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
If you appreciate what I do and want to support me:
silver spoon in (her) mouth – idiom: born into a wealthy family
resounding – adjective: sound loud enough to reverberate
scoff – verb: scornfully or mocking way
dreaded – adjective: apprehension
laughing stock – noun: a person subjected ridicule
dressed down – phrasal verb: dress informally
carried herself– idiom: pertains to grace, etiquette, speech, grooming, body language
ignoring – verb: refuse to take notice of or acknowledge
burying – verb: completely cover
drama – noun: unexpected series of events or set of circumstances
trivial – adjective: of little value or importance
jealous – adjective: envy of someone or their achievements and advantages
homeschooled – verb: educate (one’s child) at home instead of sending them to a school
pressed on – phrasal verb: move forward
authorities – noun : a person who has the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience
torment– noun: mental suffering or unhappiness
pleasant – adjective: giving a sense of satisfaction or enjoyment
vanished – verb: disappear completely
nagging – adjective: worrying
began to surface – verb: become known or obvious after being hidden
benefit of the doubt – idiom: the state of accepting something/someone as honest or deserving of trust even though there are doubts
blend in – phrasal verb: to look like things nearby
pavilion – noun: structured eating area inside a larger building
on that note -metaphor: to transition from that topic; anyway
adored – verb: loves
excursion – noun: a short trip
exhausting – adjective: very tiring
held dear to (his) heart – phrase: cares a lot about it
deep down in (her) heart – idiom: used to mean that something is true or real even if it is not said or shown to other people
tossed and turned – idiom :to move about and turn over in bed because one is unable to sleep
bearable – adjective: able to be endured or handle
at all costs – idiom: regardless of the price to be paid or the effort needed
cafeteria – noun: a restaurant or dining room in a school
pretended – adjective: not genuine; assumed
imaginary – adjective: unreal, not true , fake
white lie – noun: a harmless lie told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings
interrupted – verb: to stop something from continuing
organize – verb: arrange into an order
designated – verb: assigned
navigated – verb: plan and direct the route or course
prima donna – noun: a very temperamental person with an inflated view of their own importance
initial – adjective: beginning
strutting – adjective: arrogant or conceited walk
pay any mind – idiom: not give attention to or to ignore
shed light – idiom: help to explain
tragically – adverb: extreme distress or sorrow
Question ( s ):
Do you believe Naomi should of tried to tell her parents earlier?
Do you think words, just words, can be harmful to another person?
How do you define bullying?