Just one act of kindness can make an impact. Join the national movement to Choose Kind, inspired by R.J. Palacio’s debut novel, WONDER.
I was one of the trodden. Even now, I wonder why.
Was it my Christian upbringing? My adherence to rules? My success in school? Or simply my eagerness to be liked – a sense of desperation that every bully worth their salt can pick up from 10 miles away?
In the process I lost not only my happiness, but my sense of self. I didn’t know who I was because they had stamped it out of me. They made me hate me.
Even now I am formed by them. In my eagerness to succeed, to show them. In my attention to my appearance, so I can outshine them. In my relationships, to show I am better than them. In my friendships, to show that I’m the same as them.
The sibilant whisper of my name, ‘Katie’, picked up by sensitive ears from across the classroom. The certainty beyond all certainties they are talking about me. And they want me to know.
A seat at the right-back of the classroom. Ringed around by other empty seats, no one sees me. Busying myself with pens and paper I try not to let the tears blossom.
Steeling myself to talk to the girls, to turn the other cheek, like mum and dad say. Walking up to them, desperate smile on my face. They see me coming; the whispers rise. Then a giggle, a scream, and they run, leaving me in silence.