I went to my little sister’s graduation last night. It’s crazy to see all of the kids she grew up with as young adults, and how they all have become so different from one another. Some are still friends, many are not.
One of her girl friends was recognized for scholastic acheivement from having a 4.0 her entire 4 years at high school. This 4.0 was in addition to being active in extracurricular activities, taking AP classes, and competing in horse shows. She smiled proudly on the stage as the school principal praised her hard work, determination, and never-give-up attitude.
He forgot to mention that she has an eating disorder, is sleeping around, and is getting wasted on a regular basis to numb the pain that she feels from within. As she so easily hid her darkest secrets behind her big, beautiful smile and can-do attitude, I wonder what she was really thinking. Her hair curled, dress ironed, and make-up just so, one would never guess she had a problem. I went up to her and gave her a big hug of congratulations as I myself had doubts that she had a problem. That is, until I saw the bursted blood vessel in her eye. How can one go from pig tails and infectious laughter to bursted blood vessels and masks?
Yes, she won a spectacular academic acheivement that will most certainly help her get into the college of her dreams. But at what cost? What are we teaching our children when we pride those that reach perfection, yet push aside the ones that don’t quite make it?
I don’t know what the solution is, but the knot in my stomach as I watched her proudly, yet carefully, walk on the stage, leads me to believe that there has got to be a better option.
Beauty queen of only eighteen
She had some trouble with herself
He was always there to help her
She always belonged to someone else
I don’t mind spending everyday
Out on your corner in the pouring rain
Look for the girl with the broken smile
Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved
She will be loved