“Still I stand tall, like a tall oak tree; my head held high for all to see.” (Craig Harrison)
I looked down at my feet and dropped my head in humiliation. The stench of embarrassment filled the air surrounding me. As I made my way down the long corridor lined with immature high school students, I could hear their insensitive comments and spiteful laughter; I could feel their malevolent glares piercing my back as I passed each of them. The grey walls glared at me too, they were moving closer and closer towards me. My feet picked up pace as my vision began to blur from the pathetic tears that I could no longer hold back. I had to get out of there!
I ran towards the large army green exit door at the end of the corridor. The cool moist air rushed into my lungs, almost making me choke; I held my breath and ran straight ahead into the dense vegetation of the nearby bushland. Cold and wet, I stood in a small clearing; alone, with my head up and my arms stiff by my sides. I closed my eyes and imagined myself as a tall oak tree, I imagined I belonged. I felt the air blow through my branches and tickle my leaves; I could smell the rain falling quietly and slowly drizzling down my trunk. This reassured me that despite my `life disaster`, the world still revolves. I stood waiting for my thoughts to collate; what to do next? That was the question that sent shivers down my spine.
As different scenarios of what I would do next played out in my mind, the sky began to fill with darker rain clouds. Each scenario started well; then ended with me hiding in an old deserted house for the rest of my life, living in a wild African jungle with the animals, or moving to a busy French city where no one speaks my language. I had no clue what I was going to do yet! The wonderful scent of the cold rain became stronger and my hair became heavier; this reminded me of my hometown. My body was beginning to feel sore from standing so still; being a tall oak tree required strength and stillness, two things that I possessed. As I slowly relaxed my muscles and looked down at my feet, the rain softened as the clouds began to clear. I took a deep breath; still contemplating my future actions. Briefly, I scanned the beautiful wet scenery surrounding me; I tried to save this moment. The moment where everything sparkled for a split second as the sun played hide and seek with the dark heavy clouds.
The high pitched school bell rang, drawing my attention away from the scenery. As I departed from the drenched bushland, my shoes squelched through the gooey sludge leaving deep muddy holes behind me. When I reached the school building I was soaked and I was ready; ready to take action. I stamped my feet hard on the cement pathway, just next to the army green exit door, until my soles began to ache. Inhaling deeply, I pushed the heavy door open; while trying to maintain a confident, yet natural image. In a movie this scene would have looked much more graceful. I kept my head up, relaxed my shoulders and looked straight ahead; for a concise moment I was an oak tree; tall and strong. There was no way I was backing down now!
I walked casually down the corridor; one foot in front of the other. This was scenario one. As I walked down that corridor, I thought to myself; this was my school now. It didn’t matter where I was in my past, or what I was; I was here, now. I walked past my fellow students, this time not in shame; this time I didn’t run. This time I was me. I held my head high for everyone to see; I was ‘the new kid.’ I ignored anyone who couldn’t accept me for who I was. People talk a lot about racism in today’s society but it wasn’t until I left my home in England that was full of people just like me that I realised how evident it really is. I was now the outcast, and the best way I could think of handling this foreign situation was to try and blend in. I still felt their glares piercing my back, and heard their comments and laughter continue; however, over time, I hoped that I could be accepted as just another student. After all, we are all just people, with different families, cultural beliefs, body shapes, names and skin colour. I am just like them, only pale and white. But until then, I will continue to hold my head high; for I am a tall oak tree standing strong.