Finding Strength In Weakness

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Ali could never get past what her father did when she was a child- how he ruined her innocence.
She never did understand why people said what they did when they learned of her past.
She never did understand how bulying could make anything better, in any way.

Submitted: December 25, 2011

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Submitted: December 25, 2011

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Ali didn’t know what she was doing, or why. She just knew it was wrong. Her father told her it was what good girls did, but at school, none of the other girls did it. She didn’t quite understand why her dad would say that, but didn’t think much on it. She was only seven, after all. All the wanted to do was play and grow.
 
It wasn’t for another five years that Ali understood. She told a friend, who told her mom. Soon, the police were there, taking her father away. So many people asked her questions, and she was scared and confused. Her mom had died when she was very little, so she didn’t have many memories with her. Her entire twelve years was full of her dad, and the things he told her to do.
Some people told her she did something wrong by telling on her dad, others pitied her and gave her weak smiles with sad eyes. She hated the looks given to her, by everyone. Glares or sympathy. It dominated her life for the next five years, while she was tossed around the system, being kept far away from her father and his friends.
 
At seventeen, Ali had been through a lot, and understood it all very clearly. She hated her father for what he did. She hated herself for letting it happen. She didn’t tell anyone about her past, not anymore. She learned that secrets are a good thing. Especially when they hurt.
 
“Ali, you seem sad today. Is something wrong?” Crystal looked up at her, her eyes wide with worry. Ali forced her Barbie smile back onto her face, and shook her head.
“No, Crystal. I’m fine, sorry I worried you. What were you saying?” Ali urged the younger girl to keep talking, so she could return to her thoughts. Ever since she had finally been with one family for over a year, she was adopted and kept. No longer stuck in an endless tug-of-war with her peers, hoping they get taken to a kind family to replace the one they lost.
Crystal nodded, a concerned expression still on her face, but she continued speaking about her day at school. Ali vaguely heard her, catching odd words here and there. Lately, she noted, her memories and nightmares bothered her more than usual. She was almost scared to close her eyes.
 
High school was always a blur. Lessons that would mean nothing in the next few years, people she’d never see after graduation, drama that was repetitive and endless. She never saw the point to dressing up prettily, looking her absolute best for these people, who didn’t seem to know how to saw a kind word to another. Clothes were clothes, hair was hair. Should it matter if it her clothes were too big, too old, or too worn? Or if her hair was messy and curly everyday?
Simplicity was best. If all was plain and simple, the way she liked it, there wouldn’t be so much drama. Pointless drama.
 
He sent her letters every once in a while. Mostly asking her how she was, saying he was sorry. She didn’t believe it, not really. She wanted to. Maybe her father was a better person, but she doubted it. All those years in prison could not have turned a horrible person into a better one so easily. No, it would takes lifetimes to redeem himself for the twelve years of torture she endured.
 
“Ali, Jessica wants to know if you want to go to her house this weekend.” Crystal said, holding the house phone to her ear. Ali looked at her, blinked, then nodded. Crystal confirmed her plans, and walked away. Ali stared at the notebook in front of her, full of her secrets. Her nightmares. Her fears. It was her, in a book. The pill bottle on her nightstand was a constant reminder of her past. Her past she wanted nothing more than to forget.
 
Weekends were slow, painful, and lonely. Ali went to Jessica’s house, out of “best friend” obligations, though she rarely wanted to. All Jessica did was pry her for information on her past, or dress her up. It was nothing more than a waste of time. Ali liked to draw and paint on the weekends. She had a beautiful view of the lake from her window, and would paint and draw it at all times of the day, all seasons. Sometimes making it different, sometimes not. Jessica didn’t like her drawing, and would hide her sketch book until the end of the weekend, when Crystal’s mom picked her up.
She didn’t want to deal with it, not anymore. She told her to leave her things alone, and to stop dredging up a painful past. Jessica didn’t get it. Of course, those without a painful memory would not be able to comprehend the absolute torture talking about said memory was. They figured it was always all fine. But it wasn’t. It very rarely ever was fine.
 
Ali was never one for the spot light. She hated being seen, noticed by the people at her school. She was quiet and left alone. All that changed when Jessica claimed she hut her, and all Jessica’s friends started bullying her. Beaten up. Bag taken. Pictures ruined. Called any and every name possible. But none of it compared to what her dad did. They may not have ruined her life, but they hurt her.
They nearly killed her.
 
Harmless bullying had turned into insistent torture. They taunted her about her past, made jokes. Spread it around the school. She got those looks again. The same ones she got for years before.
It pushed her over the edge.
 
Nobody noticed at first. Not even Crystal. Nobody questioned her sudden affinity for long sleeves, large amounts of bracelets, or how she snatched her arms away harshly anytime she was touched.
Of course, she became good at hiding the cuts. It was easy. She never cut in a single place for long. It changed weekly. She wasn’t caught for over a year. Then Crystal walked in her room as she was rolling her sleeve up, and saw the scars.
She wasn’t surprised by the girls reaction. The scream, the frantic speaking. Or Hannah taking her to the hospital, then to more doctors.
It was all a blur to her. People she rarely saw twice, words she didn’t understand, pills that made her numb and tired. It was so very confusing.
 
Jessica visited her in the hospital once. At first, she was smug, happy that Ali suffered. But by time she was leaving, she was in tears, feeling all too guilty. It made Ali feel sick to her stomach.
Some secrets just don’t stay secrets. She vowed to never tell another person her past. Not again.
 
When she returned to school, the principle held a big assembly. She called out the students who bullied Ali, punishing them as she saw fit. Ali had to stand on stage, looking weak and sad, while the principle lectured for hours on bullying, and using the poor, broken girl as her example.
She still got the looks. But she ignored them now. It gave people a sick satisfaction that she even reacted. She just walked along, ignoring their comments. Her therapist, Dr. Murphy, was so proud of her. Ali conquered her fear. She got over the pain she felt by those looks.
The cutting had stopped. Crystal still cried about it. It hurt Ali to know she did that to the one person who cared.
 
Ali kept her head up high, and chose to stay that way. She didn’t let a thing get to her. She became indifferent. The only emotion she showed was to little Crystal.
 
She stayed together for Crystal, and let go of her past.
She let the weight of memories that hurt her and broke her make her stronger.
 
She helped Crystal through the exact same things, and when she turned could, she got a place of her own, a job, and a life she could make her own.
She wrote stories about what she dealt with, she painted, she worked. She lived on, and survived. Sometimes, she wanted to turn back to cutting, but fought the urge. Stayed strong.
 
Ali made herself strong when she was at her weakest. It took her so long to get to where she was, she was too afraid to let it go. Some fears are okay to have, while others can completely destroy your life.
Ali was an example set for Crystal, and so many other younger people.
 
Sometimes, when you fall to your knees and break, you can find something to hold onto to pull yourself back up, and become even stronger than before.
Sometimes, all it takes is a push.
 


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