For a long time in my life, I was a prejudice person. I used to judge people based on things I had heard about them, not based on actual experiences I had with them. This is something that we are all guilty of. Maybe we don’t like someone because of things we have heard about them, or maybe we don’t talk to someone because, “that’s just not who I talk to”. We’ve all done it. No one is innocent in this regard.

By the time my sophomore year of high school rolled around, I was growing increasingly more prejudice. I would judge people based on the rumors I heard about them, and yes, I would even judge a person based on the way they looked. It was a nasty habit of mine, and one that I had no intentions of breaking.

burn book, mean girls, and movie image

During this time in my life my immediate family, my Aunt, and my three cousins were all nestled under one roof. My cousins were going to be living with us for a few months while their house was under renovation. I didn’t mind though. I was really close with all of my cousins, they were like my best friends. We saw the world in a similar way and all of us carried the same sense of humor so every night was like a slumber party. We would spend hours talking about life and joking around.

My cousin L, who was a year ahead of me in school, would give me a run-down on all of the teachers I was about to take. It was the usual, “This teacher gives a lot of homework” and “This teacher talks a lot about his home life”. There was nothing too unnerving until we got to talking about Mr. M.

L told me that Mr. M was scary. He was extremely strict and he put unrealistic expectations on his students. A large part of his teaching was going to be based on professionalism, and if a student lacked it they were going to be sent into the hall or even given a pink slip. L warned me that Mr. M would try to make me change my handwriting (I used to dot all my i’s with hearts) because of its childish nature and lack of professionalism.

Now, being the feisty sophomore I was, this enraged me. How DARE he, or anyone else for that matter, try to make me change who I am!? There was no way in the world I would change my handwriting, it was a trademark! It was a part of who I am!

background and transparent image

So, the first day of class rolls around and the students were sitting in our seats patiently. After the bell rang, we could hear Mr. M in the hallway, screaming at a kid to get to class. This put the students on edge.

The minute he entered the class, it was like a military boot camp. We were all the cadets and he was the drill sergeant, inspecting the room. He walked up and down the aisle of tables, telling kids to sit up straight, put their hands above the desk, get their backpacks off the back of the chairs, and even to stop chewing gum. He was screaming at us. I don’t think there was a single person in that room that didn’t have the fear of God put in them. At the end of class he gave us an assignment, it was called “My Expectations”, a letter we were required to write to the teacher about what we expected to learn from the class.

The first day of class had definitely left me shaken up, but not discouraged. I hand wrote that entire letter in sparkly pink ink, and I made sure to dot every “i” with a perfect heart.

art, doodles, and drawings image Queen image

When I returned to class the day after I turned in the letter I was pumped full of adrenaline. I had two cups of coffee that morning and the mentality that I ate bad teachers for breakfast. I was ready for a fight.

The bell rang and I was on the edge of my seat. He walked into the room, pointed right at me and said, “You must have a lot of love in your heart”.

I was shocked. I had completely misjudged this teacher based on things I heard about him. In that moment I vowed that I would never let my preconceived notions change my mind about anyone ever again. I’m so happy that I made this promise to myself all those years ago because I have since met some of the most amazing people.

kindness, quotes, and judgement image

Don’t ever judge a book by its cover because some of the most amazing people you will ever meet may be someone you wouldn’t normally talk to.

-xx Lenny