This post should have come out earlier, but it took me some time to come to terms with it and to be able to put my feelings to words.
Most people don’t realize that I am a highly introverted person, and that going up to and talking to a stranger or making friends for me is as good as jumping off a cliff. I have suffered because of this throughout my school life, always ending up alone. While most boys my age were talking about the latest cars and were interested in sports, I was singing and drawing and painting.
I began to realize I was the odd one out, when I was the last to be picked for teams, last to find a partner during a project, and eventually I stopped receiving invites for birthday parties too. It was all okay, until the bullying started. I was cornered and considered a freak for being different. My lunch box would be stolen; I would be called names and tickled until I couldn’t breathe.
This began a vicious cycle of the bullying, which kept pushing me further into the shadows, only to be bullied more. It became painful to get up each morning, to get ready for a day at school and to sit with the same people, even my grades began to slip. I felt helpless, like there was nothing that could be done.
The only encouragement I found was with my parents. Each evening, when they sat for riyaz, I would sit by their side, and each day, mom told me a story. Stories that gave me hope, and I would survive the next day. And little by little, they guided me out of the darkness of misery.
11th grade started and a new student joined my class. It was like any ordinary day, until the bell rang for recess. On my way to the water cooler, I saw the new student sitting alone on the back stairway with his lunch box. And I saw my reflection in his body language.
I smiled at him, he timidly smiled back, and that was the beginning of my first real friendship.
Giving up is never an option. Every darkness is followed by a sunrise, it only depends on how long the night is.