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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)

TITLE: Friendship, The poetry of Life
By Marilyn Schnepp


Remember the Fairy Tale about the little Ugly Duckling? Remember how sad, lonely and unhappy he was Before finally maturing into a graceful and beautiful swan? Well, grab a box of kleenex and I'll tell you a real sob story - the True Confessions of a human, a teenager to be exact, who spent most of her teenage years unhappy, lonely and friendless.

Just like the ugly duckling who cried every time he saw his reflection in the lake, she wept every time she looked in the mirror. Her mirror could not lie; her dark brunette hair, green eyes and freckles could not hide the fact that her chunky, chubby body took up the biggest part of the mirror. Let's not mince words here...she was fat and ugly! Even her big brother called her "fatty, fatty, two-by-four"...with cruel verses added to make her feel much worse.

However, instead of showing her true feelings, she'd fire back with sarcastic remarks, giving the impression that it didn't bother her in the least; which in reality was just the opposite. It hurt her deeply, but she'd hide her feelings inside, go on a eating binge to try and forget...but the image in the mirror wouldn't let her forget for long.

The more she was teased, the more she would eat. The more her parents tried to help, the more obnoxious and hostile she became. Instead of being just an ugly duckling in human form, she now had a nasty attitude to boot, which wasn't helpful in acquiring any friends. Her parents were at a loss as to "What To Do?"

Night after night she'd cry herself to sleep, secretly. Her mom made her clothes, as dresses her size were much too old for her; so her mother would buy the prettiest material and try her best to make her clothes stylish, youthful and colorful. Not having a sewing machine, her mother often sewed by hand long into the night to make something special for her beloved, but lonely and unhappy daughter.

Her only girlfriends were temporary; only those who wanted to use her in order to get to know her older brother who was popular, handsome, President of the Student Body, and also of his Senior Class.

But Alas! Alas! In her Junior year, Malcolm Crofoot, a rather shy type guy with glasses and slicked back hair, befriended her. Perhaps it was because they were of kindred spirit, both lonely, neither fitting in, or both being less than perfect, who knows? But they just naturally gravitated towards each other...and soon she and Malcolm became the best of friends.

"My friend is not perfect - no more than I am - but we suit each other admirably." she wrote in her Diary.

What a difference a friend makes! She suddenly had a change of attitude toward life. No more sneak binges or raiding the refrigerator at night, no more crying herself to sleep, no more hostile and obnoxious behavior, and soon she started slimming down, bought store clothes, high heels and got a new sudsy hairstyle.

Just like the ugly duckling who seemed to bloom overnight into a beautiful and graceful swan, this lonely teenage girl blossomed into a chic, svelte young lady with a pleasant, charming and personable attitude, a beautiful radiant smile, and a neat, slim, trim figure...and the reason why? Encouragement from a friend. It {can} actually change the course of another person's day, week, or life!

Nothing opens the heart like a true friend, to whom you may impart griefs, joys, fears, hopes...and whatever lieth upon the heart. A friend is one who believes in you before you believe in yourself.

I was that ugly duckling, but God heard my muffled sobs coming from beneath a tear soaked pillow...and gifted me with the warmth of a friend's presence, joy to my heart, sunlight to my soul and pleasure to my life. He brought me a friend.

One of the highest compliments I can receive is that I am your friend; thus, I now affectionately refer to friendship as one of God's greatest gifts to mankind; and for me personally...the poetry of life.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Holloway06/14/07
Good reminder how much a little bit of kindness can mean to someone. I'm glad it ended well (but then we expect a fairy tale to). ;)
Benjamin Graber06/15/07
Wow, this one is really good! Such a beautiful picture of how powerful friendship can be...
Joanne Sher 06/15/07
Excellent - you got the perspective right on the nose. What a blessing!
Sara Harricharan 06/15/07
I love this! Written in a honest-down-to-earth style with a message on true friendship that we can all use these days. good job.
Mo 06/15/07
Although I suspected the ending, that was what made it even more meaningful. Good job!
Catrina Bradley 06/15/07
So very true, and simply, but well, written. I befriended a girl who helped change me from the ugly duckling too. I think this would go over good with a teen audience. Very nice entry!
Jacquelyn Horne06/16/07
Yes, friendship is one of the most important things in life. Good article.
Kaylee Blake 06/16/07
Love this! One of my favs. This story isn't just true of you, but of soooo many teenagers today. Awesome message, but not too preachy. As a teen, I can honestly tell you that this is great! Keep up the great work!
dub W06/18/07
Important notes on friendship, a valuable essay. Thanks.
Marilyn Schnepp 06/22/07
Author's Note To Self:
#30 on the Top 40's List.
Sharlyn Guthrie06/23/07
Marilyn, this is just precious. I love it! Thanks for your transparency in writing this. That is exactly what teens and many others desire to find when they read. By letting others in on the pain you experienced you offer hope and encouragement to those struggling with similar issues, and of course MANY do! Congratulations on placing in the top 40 also.
Marilyn Schnepp 06/30/07
Made Dub's Puppy Pen again!