Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The One

Check out Two Writing Teachers
to read more slices
or to post a slice of your own.

It has been a few weeks since I have written a slice.  This was not an easy one to write, but one that needed to be written.

This poem is about an unusual form of bullying, a silent bullying that goes on in many schools.  The way we treat people or in many cases, the way we fail to treat people can have a lasting effect, sometimes even a fatal one.  It is my hope the we continue to teach kindness in our schools, so young people will continue to keep their flames burning brightly.

The One

You don't know me personally,
But I am sure you know someone just like me.

When I was in elementary school, 
I was the one not chosen 
to be on a team
to read with a partner
to share a seat on the school bus.
I was the one not invited to birthday parties.
I was the one left to swing by myself
in my own little world
with no friends.

When I was in middle school, 
I was the one walking down the hall by myself.
I was the one who ate lunch alone
at the table farthest away from everyone else.
I was the one who didn't play sports
or play an instrument
or belong to the in-crowd.

Now, I am a senior in high school.
I am the one with a 4.0 GPA.
I am the one who has the potential 
to reach goals
to go far
to do anything I set out to do.

But I am also the one who sits home on Friday and Saturday nights.
I don't go to the football games.
I don't go to parties
I don't hang out with friends.

I am the quiet kid who doesn't get into trouble.
I am the one who is a people-pleaser.
I am the one who makes good decisions.

Most of the time.

I am the one about to make a decision that will affect many people.
I am the one about to take my own life,
to extinguish it 
like blowing out the flame of a candle.
Just like that,
I am the one who will no longer exist
in world where I have no friends
where I feel I don't belong
where I don't fit in.

People will blame themselves
and wonder if they missed something
if they could have stopped me.
They will wonder if I was the one
who was picked-on 
who was bullied.

None of that is true.

You see I am the one who was never hit
or harassed 
or intimidated
or teased.

I am a victim of an unwanted visitor 
who has been with me for a long time.
I am a victim of the silent bully,
the bully who pays no attention to kids like me.
I am the one who is simply ignored.

Maybe, just maybe
 if someone would have taken the opportunity
to get to know me
to become my friend,
I could be the one with the flame still burning.


  1. Leigh Anne, I am about the cry. This is written so beautifully. There is this voice that comes through he words that I will not soon forget. Your message is clear, and one that I will not forget as I walk the school hallways today and the days to come.

  2. This is so beautiful, Leigh Anne and will give us all something to think about. I am so sorry for your loss of your former student.

    Sweet Writing Life

  3. Kindness can and should take so many forms. Thank you for that reminder.

  4. Wow.
    I hope you can find a way to get that published somewhere. That may not have been your intent when writing it, but I think it needs to be heard.

  5. This is so powerful and sad. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how tough it must be. There is a silent bully out there. We feel so powerless to help. I teach gifted kids and these are often the ones who do not fit in. They know it. They go on doing the right thing while suffering inside. I hope writing has helped you, but more than that, I think this poem will help others.

  6. Oh my Leigh Anne. I'm in tears. I do know this type of situation but I haven't had the one that went to this place. The silent bully of being ignored. I don't think when we speak of bullying to our students we think of this one. Thank you for this beautiful piece. I hope it helped you work through this pain. It has helped me.

  7. That was really powerful. Very well written.

  8. This is beautiful. This form of bullying is often ignored. You brought it to the forefront. I hope it helps you through this difficult time.

  9. How true. The silent bully is just as damaging...but we tend to not act on it because it is not in our faces. I am so sorry that you had to write this....but I am glad that you did. It is amazing what a smile...a kind word...an acknowledgement to a peer may accomplish. While reading your poem I could feel the pain that this person was experiencing. This poem needs to be included in anti-bullying packages. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

  10. Oh, Leigh Anne. We had just such a tragedy at our school six years ago. He was exactly like the student in the poem - and he chose to commit suicide right at our school, early in the morning when he was sure to be found by his classmates. We need to be mindful of these children. We need to act on what we know to be taking place.

  11. Leigh Anne, my prayers are with you and other teachers and this young person's family. Your poem has expressed so many feelings and concerns. Too often we don't think about the silent bullying, but hopefully your slice will reach out to other who need to hear these thoughts.

  12. Oh, Leigh Anne, my heart goes out to you. The poem raises such important issues and we see them every day in schools. Thank you for reminding me to have careful eyes and to keep kindness in my heart at school.

  13. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this incredible piece.

  14. Leigh Anne, such a thoughtful and powerful poem. It reminds me of The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig and Patrice Barton, a picture book I shared with my Sunday School class just before school started this year. I learned about it on PB 10 for 10 in August.

  15. Oh Leigh Anne- my heart goes out to you, the student's loved ones, the school community.... That is a powerful poem so beautifully written to capture the pain of isolation and loneliness. My hope is for adults and kids to pay more attention to those invisible boys and girls out there in the world. We humans have a basic need to belong, to feel connected in this world. It doesn't take super-human efforts for us all to reach out to others in kindness and acknowledge one another's presence and value in this world.... Thank you for sharing this with me. With hugs, Trudy

  16. Oh Leigh Anne, Thank you for this poem. Beautifully said. Needs to be said and thought about daily. We need to pay attention. So so sad.