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Gabby Nicholls

Australia

I am a 16 year old Australian girl. I live in Victoria. I am in my final year of school, and I plan to study criminology in Canberra next year - but writing is my main passion. I'm about as socially adept as a clam shell. That's because I'm a writer.

Message from Writer

I have a published book called Powerless, and it is the story of the very human Jessica LaTista who has been inserted into a world of magic. Her best friend has become magical, and she must learn how to cope with being the sidekick, with playing second fiddle to her best friend. It's a book about friendship, and how to stay human and sane in a world that seems to be anything but. It's the story of the sidekick, and it represents all of the bypassed, unpowerful best friends in any classic hero tale. Jessica LaTista is human, and she is powerless, and she is us. The regular people who only wish we could be part of the story.

Someone Like Me

February 16, 2016

When I was eleven years old, true friendship was not something I ever expected to find. It was something I had never experienced, not once, and so it was something that I could never hope to understand. It would have been impossible for eleven-year-old me to fathom the random occurrences that could lead to a person to whom I could connect, a person I could share myself with. 
I'm not even sure I understand it now. How can anybody truly hope to understand something as complex, as painful, as beautiful as friendship?
To truly explain friendship - at least, the way I feel it - I need to rewind. I need to go for a stroll through memory lane - a lane laced with traps and tears and pain. I need to go back to a time when I hadn't experienced it.
I remember exactly two things of the first two years of school, and they aren't particularly nice:
  1. Getting sent to time-out to eat my lunch after defending myself from a student who kept scribbling on my school work
  2. Sitting alone by the flower beds every recess and lunch time, hoping somebody would come and talk to me
I moved to a new school in grade two. At this new school, the kids were cruel. I was there from the start of grade two to the end of grade four, and that was three years of absolute hell. 
I had people I called friends, because I was living in hope that this school would be better than the last, but I was fooling nobody but myself. The girls I called my friends would always hold my opinion lower than anybody else's, and they would hit me and kick me and put me down any chance they got. Oh, but it wasn't only those girls - it was everyone. I got called name after name after name. 
Crow Face is the most memorable name. One day, the boy I was sitting next to called me thatand I drew on him with my red pen in retaliation.
The teacher - the teacher of a parent-funded private catholic school, the teacher who was friends with the boy's parents - made me walk him down to the bathroom to wash his hand off. 
I was abused, harassed, chased, and betrayed by the students at that school.
So I moved schools again, to a different town this time. 
One day I was walking around with a group of girls whom I referred to as my friends. These were girls who always made me 'it' for tag because I was the slowest student, girls who always ditched me and left me out of things and then denied that they had done anything wrong. Girls who manipulated me into doing what they wanted me to. I was walking with these girls, and they turned to me and one of them said with a callous frown: "Why do you always follow us around?" 
I responded, already in tears, that it should be obvious, why did they think I was, that they were my friends. They looked at me like I was completely stupid.
At the end of grade six we moved back to our hometown so that I could begin high school. 
On the first day, I found some people who had been nice to me in grade one, but never really my friends, and I joined up with them. 
Then I ran back to my mother in a panic.
"They are friends with Kaylee! The girl who bullied me in grade three!" 
My mother told me not to worry about her, to focus on the nice girls. I did, and for a while, maybe three weeks, I managed to hang out with them.
Then one of them, the one I had been relying on to be nice to me, approached me.
"Gabby, could you find someone else to hang out with?"  
I agreed, yes, I could find somebody else to talk to, but really I was shattered. I may not have fitted in with them, but at least for a while I had pretended to.
Then my English teacher suggested I move into a selective advanced learning program. He told me that my school work was far above average, and he thought it would benefit me. I moved into the class, and I mostly kept to myself - until one day I got forced into the last remaining seat in the room. This is where eleven-year-old me began to learn what friendship was. 
I was sitting next to the tallest girl in my year level, with crazy, frizzy hair and flushed red cheeks. I was in awe - she was, from what I could see, the smartest girl in the smartest class in year seven - and, honestly, I was kind of scared. I didn't particularly like strangers.
Then she spoke to me. She sounded as scared as I was, and she sounded as socially awkward as I was. And today, six years later, we are both still scared, and we are both still socially awkward, but we are connected in the way only friends can be. I would put her above myself, above anyone, and anything, in a heartbeat if it meant she would be happy, because that is friendship.
From the day I met her, my group of friends grew. People came and went, we all had our ups and downs, but now there are six of them. I have six people whom I can trust with almost anything, two that I trust above all others, and now I know what friendship is.
Friendship is pain.
Friendship is the string of coincidences that lead to meeting someone you can truly say you would do anything for.
Friendship is inside jokes and laughter loud enough to drown out a hallway full of screeching teenagers.
Friendship is the most brutally honest feeling you will ever feel, and it is a privilege to experience it. 

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