" ......, And the best student award once again goes to......" The hall was suddenly quiet.
The voice of Principal Ivanka echoed throughout the hall as she announced the winners from each class. Trophies and medals were being awarded to the students who had topped the honors list.
There was tension in the atmosphere as everyone was desperate to hear the winner. Each year, after the putting together of scores, assessment, extra points, and of course the exams, the best student from each class was announced.
I was in the 8thgrade and was just 13 years. My mum Ariana Rivera had attended the award ceremony like she always did with my dad. However, this time she came alone wearing a huge smile on her face. Of course, I always won the prize for the best student each year. My straight A's was a reward for the constant literal burning of the midnight candle.
I could feel her move slightly on her seat. I was scared her perfect lips would expand from the excess smile on her face she looked radiant. I felt uneasy, I know I always took the prizes but something wasn't right this time. I felt it in my bloodstreams.
At the beginning of this school year, a new student was transferred to my class and she was a big competition.
Ava Charlise Townsend.
She immediately became the talk of school with her charisma, beauty, and grace. Everyone wanted to be like her or be friends with her. She made every difficult question seem like a piece of cake and most times teachers awarded her extra points because she was too sweet and of course had her way with words.
We competed for everything and staged for the spotlight. We were both very smart and intelligent although we were totally different. I was her complete opposite.
I was chubby. Yeah really chubby almost obese and wore glasses due to my poor eyesight. I was the type of person people avoided for fear that their social status would drop to a deprecating zero. I was always avoided like a plague, except a few times when people needed help with an assignment or test. How pathetic.
I was nothing compared to Ava.
She was skinny. The type of skinny someone like me would go anorexic to achieve. Her hair was long and blond and was neatly pushed to the back with a beautiful hairband. She had an Oval face, glossy brown eyes and when she smiled, she flashed the most beautiful set of glittering teeth.
She was PERFECT.
"Scarlet", my mum said bringing me back to earth and placing her hand on mine. "Straighten your dress you are about to be called. You've got to look good when you go out there".
Why was there suddenly a million butterflies in my tummy?
The principal waited for the hall to be totally quiet before she continued.
"And the award goes to"...
I felt my lips curl up to smile. It had to be me, it really had to be me. I had put in so much effort into this. I took extra lessons every weekend. Joined extracurricular activities to boost my points. Of course, it had to be me.
"Ava charlise Townsend" Principal Ivanka announced cheerfully.
Oh no. How..how could this be? I tried all I could. I thought.
My mum was still in shock. I watched as Ava climbed the stage. Her plaid skirt neatly ironed, her straight hair curled in the right places. So perfect.
My mom dropped my hand forcefully as she stood up and stormed out of the hall without giving me a second look. Hot tears stung my eyes as I tried to force then back in. She was absolutely furious.
Standing up to go, I took a last look at Ava as she blew her mum and dad a kiss. Grabbing my bag I left the hall to quickly meet my mum.
I could feel a million stares on me as I raced after my mum to the car park. I met her standing beside her white Porsche, her head leaned on the car door. I didn't bother to wait for my award as second place. I felt hurt.
"Damn you" my mum cursed. I was shocked because my mum never cursed; at least not to my hearing.
"You are just no good. I spend my entire life trying to shape you into your best but guess what you are. A complete dummy. Look at you. Did you see Ava? She looked soo charming. What a sweet little girl. And you; you let her steal the spotlight from you?" She said without stopping to breathe.
I lowered my gaze and stared at the floor. My heartbeat was louder than ever. My hands were suddenly pale and sweaty.
"You know what Scarlett"my mum started again, spitting out the words I dreaded most through gritted teeth. "I. Am. So. Disappointed. In. You."
"But mum I tried" I forced my self to say as tears rushed down my eyes. "I did all I could. I came out second place"
"That is rubbish. You must strive to be the best. Until you have that in mind that you don't settle for less, then you are going nowhere"
With that, she got into the car, hit hard on the gas, and sped out of the school with me at the passenger's seat struggling with my seat belt.
That was everything I needed. I thought as I wiped my eyes and glasses with my sleeves. I caught my reflection in the mirror and finally, I realized that I hated everything thing about me.
My mom has always been disappointed in me. I had to change. For me, no for my mum.
I had to give her what she had always wanted. I could be the perfect daughter she expected me to be.
I was going to strive to be perfect.
Maybe that was the only way people would take me seriously when I spoke without considering how fat I was; perhaps I would be accepted and have friends like the others.
I knew it wasn't going to be easy. But I had to sign up for it.
I was prepared for my new life.
If it would make me the perfect daughter she desired and stop the bullying and intimidations I faced in school then I was ready.
I cried non stop till we got home. I had never been this hurt. The fact my mom openly stated her disappointment pierced a hole through my chest. This hurt more than being called names and humiliated.
As I laid down on my bed soaking up my pillow I knew my life would never remain the same. What I didn't know was that this was the beginning of eating and anxiety disorders and a lack of self-confidence.
That was how it all began.