Submitted by Lillian

My Friend Ian

Ring!!!!! That’s the sound of sweet freedom! It’s not that I don’t like Math but the way Mrs. Vincent explains things is so confusing! Luckily, I get to hang with my friend Ian at lunch. Ian is a great friend because he always knows what to say when I’m feeling down. He doesn’t just help me, but he helps my other friend Mia, (we call her Chicken). Once Chicken was feeling really depressed because she submitted her art for a contest at school and she didn’t win. Ian told her he would pay her for her art because it was going to be worth lots of money one day, Chicken felt so much better. So basically, Ian is like our group counselor. One day at school I noticed Ian sitting out on the playground by himself, so I started walking towards him. When I finally got to where he was sitting, I noticed his eyes were red and he’d been crying.

“Oh my god, I couldn’t wait for this day to be over!” I was trying to change the subject to something light, but it didn’t work. “What’s wrong Ian?”

“I hate myself, I hate this body, and I hate the way people look at me!” “I wish I would just die!”

I couldn’t believe it. My best friend and support system was crashing! I was so scared; I didn’t know what to say. I said the first thing that came to mind “You are beautiful in your own way, you’re my best friend, how can you hate something that means the world to me?” When I said that I realized it was true, he really did mean the world to me.

You see Ian is transgender and recently changed his name from Mackenzie to Ian, so he was dealing with lots of changes, but I told him “the next time that nasty voice comes to mind remind yourself that you are beautiful”. I learned that even our strongest support systems sometime need reinforcement, so tell people how you feel about them because they need to hear it.