Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

I may not act like it, but I've lost a parent. It may not seem like it, but I've lost a best friend. And I may not look like it, but when I'm not bouncing off the walls or being loud with excitement and energy, I'm terrified of meeting new people.

No, I didn't lose a parent to death. More or less, he lost me when he decided to let my step father adopt me. He abandoned me when he made the choice to stop talking to me. In fact, I haven't gotten a letter or phone call from him since the fourth grade.

I did, however, lose a best friend to death, but she wasn't a person. She was a dog. And I'd known her since I was just a few weeks old. As with most dogs, she died of old age at fourteen.

If you ask anyone who knows me well enough, "What is Kayla like?" one of the first things they'd probably tell you is "hyper", with a capital H. I don't think I have ADHD, but I am extremely energetic. So why am I so afraid of talking to or introducing myself to new people? I'm afraid to make a bad impression. I'm scared of being looked down upon because someone new might think I'm weird if I get to know them.

The truth is, I'm nothing like the girl most people know me as.

When you look at someone new, what's the first thing you think? If the person is pretty or handsome, you may say or think, "Oh, they're probably really snotty. Just look at those clothes!" Or even worse in my opinion, if the person is wearing glasses or has stringy hair, "Look at the nerd! They're probably SO much smarter than I am."

Well, what if that snotty, nice-looking person actually had feelings? What if, in the extreme, they were lonely and had no friends? And what if that nerdy kid was incredibly charming and funny and had a good heart?

Let's face the facts: you will never truly know what a person is really like unless you get to know them. And the only way to get to know them is to be their friend.

I hate the way people are always judging others by their looks. Today's society has become one that is obsessed with looking pretty or handsome, all to make other people jealous. Once I asked my mom if she could take me to the mall and let me buy something from Aeropostale. She told me no, and when I asked, she said, "Why become a walking billboard when you could wear something so much nicer?" And she was right—people who wear name-brand clothes are just like human advertisements. The only thing productive that you are doing when you wear name-brand clothes is putting more money in others' pockets.

I bet that ninety-nine percent of you reading this never knew what I told you about me. A lot of you didn't even know my name was Kayla. And I'm sure that a lot of you will forget by the end of the day.

But some of you did know all of that and more about me, all because you were courageous and good and got to know me. You didn't judge me, and I thank you for that.

I will always try my best to not judge anyone. When I see a new kid sitting alone, most of the time I won't just sit there and let someone else talk to them first. I've been there before and I know how much it stings to be so surrounded and yet so alone at the same time.

So the point I'm trying to make here is this: no matter how pretty, ugly, tall, short, skinny, heavy, smart or disabled a person is, you never know what they're really like.

Never, ever judge a book by its cover, because that book might just be a page-turner.