Self Improvement Fiction posted July 20, 2011


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A high school girl challenges her low self-esteem

Welcome to the Three-Ring-Circus

by ElPoetry001

WHO AM I?

Maryanne sat on her bed. Her knees under her chin and her arms wrapped around her legs.

Today will be another boring day at school, she thought, a three-ring-circus, with me in ring number three, "everybody's nobody ring."

I wonder why am I so lonely depressed and weighted down with low self-esteem.
I am only a junior in high school, but I am good student, and I dress nice, I care about people, and I could be a good friend to somebody.

Yet, I cannot seem to develop the courage to reach-out.

Maryanne got on the school bus, and looked around and saw a bunch of strangers, older people with the look of someone searching for a friend, or trying to reconnect with a youthfulness that now eludes them.

Do I look like these people, no longer a young person, unable to make changes? Is it too late for me to connect with classmates and make friends?
She wondered what she was doing here. Why was she born?

Then, as if coming out of a dream, she began to recognize students that she knew. Was this a new beginning? She wondered.

She moved quickly through the school, class to class, looking at the tops of her shoes, only occasionally looking up and then down again, trying to get the courage to greet other students, and maybe even a teacher, but it just would not come. No emotion, no spirit, no motivation moved her.

After school, she got on the school bus, and noticed that the driver was not the one that drove the bus in the morning.

As she started to look away, the bus driver said, "Hello, young lady, I really like your outfit, I hope you had a good day today."

Maryanne started to blush, but looked at the bus driver and said, "Thank you very much for noticing my outfit, and now I will have a good day."


Maryanne went home and went to directly to her room and sat on her bed, she wondered if any of the other students liked her.
Although she didn't know why she thought so, it just seemed that the other kids ignored her. She wondered what she could do differently, but just could not find answers.

Then she thought of her friend Susan, a senior in high school. She always had an answer or at least an opinion on everything.
She was active in sports and activities and never seemed to be sad or depressed.

"Hello, Susan, sorry if I am bothering you, but I need your advice on something."

It's good to hear from you Maryanne. I have been meaning to call you, but, I just can't seem to keep all my activities going at the same time. What's up with you?"

"I just cannot get over the feeling that the other students don't like me, or at least don't seem to notice me, or greet me when we pass in the hallways, or even in classes."

"Maryanne, I like you, and I know that you are a good person. But you also must believe you are a good person, someone that can be a friend, and you must tell yourself that every day. When you feel good about yourself, you will able to reach out to other students that feel alone and not accepted, just like you do. Only then can you help others to realize that they are good persons.
Always smile and be the first to extend your hand in greeting."

"It seems so smooth and easy when you say it,but you are more outgoing than I am. Even so, I am going to follow your advice, things can only get better."


After dinner, she was thinking about what Susan said. She thought that, maybe, if she waved or spoke first to other people they may respond, even though they would not have waved or spoken to her first.

I will wave to other students, bus drivers, janitors, and teachers, and see what happens. I will call it "My Top Ten Greeting Responses. This could be interesting.


"Susan, "I applied your 'wisdom' to my greetings-response-project, and I am ready to disclose the top ten awards."

"You have to give me a few more signs or signals so that I can figure out what you are talking about."

"Here is what I did."
"When I met students in class, the Principal in the hallway, the janitor, the bus driver and the cafeteria ladies. I came out big-time, the friendly"scared to death"greeter."

10. Most Responsive: Ms. Marion Swanson, Teacher, English Twelfth Grade.
"Good Morning, Ms. Swanson, I am Maryanne Costas, a junior. I am looking forward to taking your English class next year."
"Thank you, Maryanne, I am just so gratified that a student would express their desire to take my English class. I will look forward to teaching you about 'lay and lie,' and 'there' and 'their' and all the things that make the English language a gift and a treasure. Thank you, Maryanne."

9. Most Befuddled: Tom Clarkson, smart, cute, a geek
"Hello, Tom, how's it going?" "What?" said Tom?
"How is your day going with your classes, computers, and games?"

"Why are you talking to me?"
"I always greet the high achievers." "Oh, thank you."

8. Most Appreciative: Mrs.. Emily Williamson, School Cafeteria.

"Thank you for the excellent meals that you prepare for us, Mrs. Williamson, I always eat in the cafeteria" said Maryanne as she smiled.

"Thank you so much, young lady, I have worked in the cafeteria for fifteen years, and I have never been happier then today.

You have noticed our efforts to care for the students and provide good meals, not that fast food junk. You are an angel.

Thank you so much for noticing, and for telling me that we are doing good work."

7. Most Rip Van Winkle: Gerald Anderson, smart, sloppy dresser, mind like a computer in a discarded purse.

"Hey Gerald, how are you doing in advanced calculus?"
"Who are you" asked Gerald as he stared at Maryanne as if she had just appeared out of the future.

"I am a friend. Here to say good morning to you."
"How can you be a friend, I have never seen you before."
"You mean you have never noticed me. I have been in this school for three years, and even have classes with you."
"I am sorry, mostly books are my friends. Most students ignore me. Thank you for speaking to me."

6. Most Polite: David Constantine, in ROTC; he wants a military career, an appointment to Annapolis.
"Good morning, Sergeant Constantine."
"Good morning, to you, miss," said David as he moved into a military stance, raising his hand into an abbreviated salute. Thank you for taking the time to greet a fellow student and make him feel accepted."
It seems that most of the students are somewhat insecure, and some feel ignored and isolated.

5. Most Affirmed: Jose Hernandez, school janitor

"Hola, Senor Hernandez, Bueno trabajo,"
She extended her hand. He hesitated, and then shook her hand.

"Thank you." "I have learned English," said Jose.
"Thank you for saying I do good work. I try hard. I was a classical musician in Cuba, but I find only part-time music jobs here in the United States.
The janitor job pay is low, but I also have medical coverage for my family."
"Senor Hernandez, your hard work is appreciated, gracias."

Senor Hernandez's face was as bright as florescent lights on a football field.

3. Most Humbled: Wilson Sloan, PhD, school Principal, stern, rigid, isolated
"Good morning, Doctor Sloan." Maryanne waived as she passed the Principal in the hallway.
"What did you say, young lady? Asked the Principal.
She was startled by the harsh sounding question from the Principal, who seemed to be in another universe.
"I said Good morning."
"Why are you talking to me?"
"Because, I believe that we should be polite and friendly to the teachers and administrators of the school as well as fellow students."

"That's a new one on me, most of the students are too busy with 'face book,' 'twitter,' texting and other non-scholastic endeavors to extend any type of greeting."
"Maybe if the teachers and administrators actually spoke to the students, outside the classroom, it would be a more friendly school."
"What is your name?" Great, thought Maryanne, come out of your shell and you go to detention?"
"Maryanne Costas, Sir."
"Thank you for saying hello, I guess I am somewhat self-absorbed... Hello students."

2. Most Shocked: Pouncey A. Johnson, overweight, long hair, tattoos, musician.
"S'up Billy?"
"You tal'king to me, you tal'king to me white girl?" He said as he lifted his ever present sunglasses to his forehead. You, want something, I got
things."
"No Billy, I heard you playing your guitar last week, and I enjoyed it."
"Hey, don't play me, it could cost you."
"You are a good musician, Billy, keep it up!"
"Dam," said Billy.

1. Most Emotional: Gwendolyn Johnson, "Big-Gwen," bus driver, large, sweet.
"Ms. Johnson, I just wanted to thank you for getting up so early to drive us to school, and then to come back in the afternoon and drive us safely home."
"They call me Big-Gwen, young lady," said the bus driver, as her face flushed and a tear formed in the corner of her eye.
"Most of the kids that ride the bus make fun of me because I am a big woman, and some even curse and throw wads of paper and other things at me.
But you, have been so kind to express appreciation for me that I feel like somebody again. That is a cherished feeling. Thank you so much."

When the bus stopped at Maryanne's corner, she walked to the front of the bus and got off.

The bus driver got out of her seat and came down the steps of the bus. She had tears in her eyes, she hugged Maryanne and said,

"Thank you, you have made me feel like I make a difference, and that I am somebody. Bless you."

And now, thought Maryanne, I am ready to move to the center ring. Let the music begin.




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Goodness is like a mustard seed. Plant it and it becomes a tree of friendship.
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