He ate alone. That was nothing new. He usually did. His reasoning behind
this was, "if somebody wants to sit by me they will, but I won't force my
presence on anyone else." So when nobody ever came to sit by him, his
logical assumption was that nobody liked him. What he never realized was
that he brought it on himself. People assumed that, because he always sat
alone, he didn't want to talk to anyone when- in truth- that was exactly
what he wanted, no, what he needed.
He was quite, self-absorbed, usually depressed about something.
Mostly he was upset because he thought nobody liked him. Once or twice, he had even
contemplated how easy it would be to kill himself, and how much better the
world would be if he were gone.
Sounds pretty sad, doesn't it? Sounds like the sob story that
happens to "the other guy." The kind of guy we would pity, but wouldn't
bother with, thinking "oh, somebody else will help him."
The saddest part of the story is that, I was that other guy. I spent all my
lunches alone. I sat on the far side of the gym, keeping to myself, not
letting anybody in. And yes, I did contemplate suicide once or twice.
Anybody who knows me now would never have guessed that about my past. I put
up a good front. I goof off a lot; I actually have a social life. I go out
and do things with the guys, and I go on dates. I tell a lot of jokes, I
laugh a lot, and I do my best to help people who are in the same position I
Why was I like this you ask? Well, it's all because of one bad year that I
let get to me.
When I was in sixth grade, I wasn't really a nerd, but I wasn't cool either.
I was sort of everybody's punching bag. No, nobody beat me up, at least not
physically, that's one th ing I've never been worried about. But just about
everyone abused me mentally. You know- sixth grade stuff. The popular kids
never accepted me; in fact they made a sport out of making my life
miserable. They never let up, throughout the whole year. I tried to say
something cool and just got laughed at because I didn't get it quite right.
I didn't wear the right clothes. I would go out of my way to avoid breaking
the rules. As a result people made fun of me. Eventually I alienated
myself, hoping they would stop. I was wrong. They just made fun of me
more, because now I didn't have any friends.
Finally, in a last ditch effort to make the torture stop, I did just what I
never wanted to do. I walled myself off from people. I built a shell
around myself spiritually. I figured, if I never talked to people, never
told them what I thought, never let them get close, never gave them an
opening they couldn't hurt me. So that's just what I did. Through the rest
of middle school, and two years of high school, I avoided others. I took
long walks by myself at lunch. During class I had my eyes on the teacher,
during study hall I had my nose in a book, and on the weekends and vacation
I stared vacantly at the TV all day. I did it to avoid contact with real
humans. The people in the books or on TV were my idea of the ideal human.
And, best of all, they never made fun of me, never mocked my dreams, and, if
I got tired of them, I could close the book or change the channel.
I always figured, if someone liked me, they would call. Nobody ever called,
not because they didn't like me, but because they didn't think I liked them.
Since nobody called, I figured I was worthless, so I contemplated suicide.
Thankfully I never did kill myself. And eventually, God showed me that I
wasn't useless. That people did like me, and that I had suffered for a
Now, I can recognize problems in others. I can t ell if someone is
depressed. I know, because I've been there. So, when I see someone like
that, I go out of my way to help, because I know that sometimes, the
smallest things, a smiling face, someone asking if you're ok, someone just
being willing to talk, can lift you up out of the pits of despair.
The moral of this story? Talk to that guy who sits by himself at lunch.
Ask that quiet girl how she's doing. Smile and wave at the person not
looking anywhere but the ground, I can guarantee, you can brighten somebody's day, and maybe save a life.
Author's Note: Please, copy this and pass it on to all you know. My hope is that - eventually - my story will have spanned the nation, reaching those everywhere who feel they have no hope. Thank you, and God bless.
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