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He Would Have Made a Difference by nicolemtracy He Would Have Made a Difference by nicolemtracy
In elementary school I was the odd one out. For whatever reason, the other kids picked on me and I didn't have any friends. I never understood what was wrong with me, why I was the one no one liked. It was a very painful experience.

I remember tailing the popular girls all the time. I just wanted to hang out with them, but they made every effort to avoid, ditch me and leave me out of anything they did. When I was 10 or 11 one of the girls surprised me on my birthday with a gift. It was wrapped in bright paper and a pretty bow. I unwrapped it, excited that they had finally accepted me. It was mud. You can imagine how I felt and how hard I cried. Thinking about that still tears me up to this day.

Those girls and boys molded me into a painfully shy and awkward person who craved acceptance and approval from everyone around me. I often changed my persona around different people trying to appear as someone they would like, not that it did any good.

In 9th grade I tried to kill myself. My mom caught me. I still have the scars. They'll always serve as a reminder of how much those people hurt me.

In high school I promised myself I would never let anyone I met feel the same way I felt. I would be friends to everyone I met and let them know they mattered. I still changed myself to fit in with different groups of people.

I tell you this to say that if I had had an Arnold during even preschool, I would probably be a totally different person. Even if he would have been my only friend, it would have made an enormous difference. I would likely be less insecure and self-conscious. I'd probably have a better body image and would hate myself so much. Even now, at 25, I still have no confidence. I still struggle with self-hatred and feelings of worthlessness.

You can be someones Arnold. You can make a difference. It doesn't take much either, just letting people know that you care about them, even if no one else does. That's the kind of person I try to be now. I may not be perfect, but I try to let the people I care about know how much they mean to me. I still have a hard time talking to strangers though, so it's difficult to spread that acceptance around as much as I'd like to, but I'm going to try harder. I want to be someones Arnold. So I can prevent people from feeling the pain and despair I felt in 9th grade and all through elementary and middle school.
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:iconyunix-2:
YuniX-2 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014
Its funny, but it seems like a lot of us who were bullied as children react in a similar way. I was also bullied a lot as a kid. I'll never forget the time the girls I was sitting across from at lunch said, "Why do you hang out with us? We don't like you."  after spending the whole year acting friendly with me, or the time my entire class made fun of me until I cried because in editing a boy's paper I thought his h looked like an n. But the world needs people like us, people willing to take our own pain and turn it into someone else's saving grace. I make every effort to do that as a teacher, and in my day to day life. Acceptance of others isn't always easy, but the children who are the hardest to work with are the most rewarding to see grow. It really makes me happy to see other people who have taken the same lessons from a painful childhood as I have. The world needs more people who think this way, who are capable of turning their greatest weakness into their greatest strength, and who can find meaning in their suffering.

A word of advice: One thing I have found is that it is impossible to change who you are (your opinions, beliefs, ideas, loves, and hates) for others without immense cognitive dissonance, but that it IS possible to change the way you express yourself to others, and often times this is what makes all the difference. When you try to change who you are, what you like and dislike, people can sense you aren't being genuine and dislike it. However, if you learn to express yourself in a way that follows social conventions (which is something I at the very least struggled with greatly - I was super bossy and came across as condescending a lot and had no idea) then even people who differ greatly from you will respect you. If you think this might be part of your problem, I highly recommend doing some reading on social skills and the mistakes people often make with them. Then try out different ways to express yourself based on what you've read. Treat it like an experiment, you know? What works and what doesn't. I did that in High School and it's really changed my life. I have SUCH a good social life now, it's a complete 180. Most importantly, I always feel like I'm being true to myself. I'm just doing it tactfully. And remember, not everyone will like you, but people loved Hitler and were totally wrong about it, so it's definitely possible for people to be just plain wrong about how awesome you are too.

And if that advice comes off as condescending I'm really sorry, I still do that sometimes but am a bit more aware of it. I just wanted to give you the benefit of my experience to accept or ignore as you choose. I figure even if it's useless for your situation, food for thought is always nice to have.
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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you. This is great advice. (I can't imagine why mistaking a "h" for a "n" would make people make fun of someone until they cried. That's just stupid. Irritating..Onion  People can be real jerks.) But I'll definitely give your experiment a try. If all else fails, I'll at least know what works for me and what doesn't. Nommy smile  And for your sake of mind, no, it didn't come off as condescending. wink 
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:iconlilaily:
lilaily Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Dear...
I understand you, I have called the suicide hotline so many times that you can't even understand. I went through something not any human being would love to go through. Even now being a Junior in High school I am constantly being let down in life, but I did have an Arnold his name was Jesus Christ. If I wouldn't have been christian... I probably would have not been writing to you this message.
I am so SO GLAD that your mom caught you. My parents didn't even bother to do anything. I later on found out that all I really wanted was attention. I am a different lady now and have been through tougher struggles but, I am :) ! Thank God I found someone like you.
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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
:hug I don't know you, but I can honestly say that I love you. I'm sorry you went through all of that, but remember that there are people who care, people who can see how important you really are and want to see you be happy. I'm glad you've overcome those challenges and that you're a stronger person for them. Be proud of who you are, because if you're not, I am.Shy 
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:iconlilaily:
lilaily Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
How sweet are you, well I am happy to say that my parents failed me times but, they always helped me out since then!
I am happy that you care, and if you care to see... I am a youtuber and am starting a web series of various things feel free to check it out!
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:iconpuffball17:
puffball17 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014   General Artist

this is incredible. I actually saw this a few days ago when I was having a really bad day. okay it was a little worse then just a bad day, but...

well the thing I always said I loved about 90's cartoons was that they had kids as the main characters, unlike cartoons before them like captain planet and tmnt that all had adults or teenagers as the role model figures. it showed kids that they could be their own role models, that they could make a difference right here and now. but it's more then just that. having kids as the stars makes the kids that are watching it feel like they are not alone, even if they are.

when I was younger I always related more to Arnold, so much so that I really didn't appreciate the show as much as I should have because the lessons he stood to teach always felt like common sense to me, but as I got older I realize others didn't really see there moral compasses as easily as I did. I always did my best to be a good friend to people, even people that weren't always good friends to me. even though I knew it probably would mean I'd probably get hurt in the end, it didn't matter. not that I let people walk al over me. I didn't do it just to please them. it wasn't about them. it was about the person I wanted to be. if I can make it to my death bed knowing I never let any friend of mine feel like anything less then a human being at my hand I will have done a good job.

do have so social problems, but what with me moving around so often when I was little and being exposed to so many new faces so often I adapted out of necessity. which was great but I never really learned how to sustain a long-term friendship. so when I got depressed in high school and eventually dropped out that was pretty much the end of the part of my life that involved having friends. and I find that I've been very alone for the past few.... years now actually.

but now that I think about it (which I often do) I've never really not been alone much. though I always did my best to make sure my friends new I was there for them I never really got any of it back. I never really had anyone I could go to with my problems. and still don't. one of the many reasons I relate to Helga so much.

this show is more then just a show to me. the characters feel like real friends to me. not because I can turn the show on to forget about my problems, just the opposite. because when I looked at this picture there was a split second I saw my self in it standing were your standing, and I saw myself the way Arnold would have seen me. as a human being. I finally felt like I got some of it back. thank you so much for that.

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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm so sorry things have been so hard for you, but I'm glad you tried your best to let the people in your life know they mattered. That's what makes the difference between simply tolerating someone and genuinely caring about them and that differentiation is what makes you somebody's Arnold. You make someone feel loved and wanted, you make someone feel accepted and you make someone step away from the edge when they feel depressed. It's people like you that give me faith in humanity. So thank you. Thank you for being one of those people that make life worth living. Thank you for making a difference to someone. It really does make a difference and it really does matter.
I know we don't know each other, but you're welcome to share your problems with me whenever you feel the need to. I may not be the smartest person in the world, but I've been know to give some pretty good insight.:hug 
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:iconpuffball17:
puffball17 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014   General Artist

"it's people like you that give me fate in humanity." that is defiantly the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. thank you. I have a sneaking suspicion you may be one of those people to many others also. (including me of curse)  ^^

and don't hesitate to come to me with your problems as well. I love to listen and I never judge.

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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Sounds good. I'll do just that. Nommy smile mini 
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:iconkoizumi-marichan:
Koizumi-Marichan Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
and you are SOOO CUTE IN THE PIC !!! ;O; I want to hug you so hard !!! ;o;
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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Ha ha ha!! I actually had to find a picture of me when I was 9 to make sure I got it right. I had square bangs that my mom would cut. Luckily for me she was pretty good, so I didn't have any embarrassing haircuts from her. revenge of the tard 
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:iconkoizumi-marichan:
Koizumi-Marichan Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
you made me cry with this ;_; In my first years in the middle school, i had very few friends, but i felt they didn't undestand me cause i was so shy and i didn't like the 'cool' things... i felt alone. Also i had a boys group who bothered me u.u I wanted to move me to another school, and i did! In the other school was different, my classmates accepted me (i still didn't know i was a fangirl although i acted as one .-.).. in the high school last year, i started to draw again (i draw since 5 lol), only anime x3 but they loved it :3

In the university, I meet people who like the same things, finally i felt i fit into a group, and in Internet was better lol

I'm so happy you are here ^^ and i want to know you aren't alone :huggle:


Sorry for my bad english :P
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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks Koizumi! I'm sorry you had to go through that. Life can be cruel sometimes, but know that I love you and I think you're totally awesome!I Love You Emote 
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:iconkoizumi-marichan:
Koizumi-Marichan Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:huggle:
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:iconkattzchan:
KattzChan Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
By the time I finished reading this, I found myself in tears. I'm so thankful that you're here today so that I could have the chance to read this. You should be so proud of the person you are now and it's because of those hardships and those scars that you are. Don't let those scars you have represent pain, but represent how far you've come. Let them represent what made you into the wonderful person that you are. If you were one of those popular girls, who knows, you might have caused harm to another person just like you. 

You're right, it's so important to be someone's Arnold; someone's glimmer of hope in a shitty world, someone's reason to live. Someone's faith in humanity. You may not even know it, but you probably already are someone's Arnold just because of the way you live your life now. Protecting the weak and downtrodden....somebody has to. Right? Monkeyman!

What you wrote is so important to me because it's how I feel about the show. I love that you get it. It's so much more than a TV show. It IS our Arnold. My time in Jr. High and High School was hard, too...I think everyone had a hard time. My sister is mentally handicapped AND deaf and I spent a lot of time in school just being "the retarded girl's sister". I watched people make fun of her on the bus and I didn't have the guts to stand up for her or say anything. Our house got egged on a regular basis, too...

One day, I watched the episode "Hey, Harold," the one where Harold decides that he likes "big" Patty. At the end, Harold hears Stinky and Sid making fun of Patty and doesn't say anything until he gets so mad that he says:

"Stop it! You guys don't know what you're talking about. Her name's not Big Patty, it's Patty. And she's not clumsy and she's not dumb. Not only that, she's smart and she's nice and she's funny. I must be crazy to listen to you guys. Why do I care what you think? The only thing that matters is what I think. And what I think is I like Patty! And if anybody has a problem with that, I'll beat you up so bad it won't even be funny!"

This episode brought me to tears. Do you know what I did the next day? I heard people making fun of my sister on the bus again, and I stood up for her. Before I got off the bus, I said: "She's my sister. She is different but she is my sister and you could learn a lot from her if you would shut the fuck up and listen!!"

 When we got off the bus, I wasn't sure if my sister really understood what happened, but she stopped me, and signed the words "thank you," and then hugged me.

I'll never forget that day. I'll never forget what drove me to the point that I snapped and made the decision to be a good person for my sister. It was a lot of pain. It was a lot of ridicule. But in the end, I truly believe that I am a better person because of what we went through as a family. 

I also believe that Arnold has made me a better person. Arnold did make a difference in your life (and continues to do so) because now you want to be more like him for someone and you are an amazing person because of that. Thank you for sharing your feelings and your life with your watchers. I needed to read this today. Arnold is a constant reminder for me to be the best person I can be and this beautiful picture was another strong reminder that it makes a difference. 

Thank you for being my Arnold today, my dear. Don't look away, Look up.
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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I had to hug my husband in order to stop crying after reading your message. It touched me more than you could ever know. Thank you. Hug I can't even express how light I feel right now.
Also, I think your sister and I would have been great friends. People don't understand that people with disabilities are not limited by them. They are amazing people and you really can learn so much from them. I had the honor of volunteering in the special needs class my junior and senior year of high school and it was the most amazing experience of my life. I had never seen so much unconditional love in one room before. It was amazing.
But again, thank you. I think I feel a little more pep in my step Rabbito twist 
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:iconkattzchan:
KattzChan Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Aww!! I didn't mean to make you cry! Thank you for the kind words regarding my sister. She is so precious to me and I wouldn't have her any other way. I've learned so much more about life from her than I ever could have without her. I'm so glad you got a chance to work with special needs people, and even more glad that you found it to be such a rewarding experience! Your message made me feel pretty good, too, so I'm happy to have returned the favor, dear! Hug 

I need to take my own advice, perhaps, but you deserve to know how wonderful you are. Always take past bad experiences as learning experiences that you draw strength from. I'm so glad you're still around to share your art and beauty with us. Heart 

Thank you. And if you ever need a friend, even though we just met, I'm a good listener. Always happy to meet a fellow football head. Love Keep your sunny side up! ^^
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:iconmarymorante:
marymorante Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014
You make remember myself, you are not alone anymore, If you want to be my friend :)
I have another draw of HA, also a few fanfiction
I'm sorry my english is terrible :P
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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you. I'd love to be your friend. :)
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:iconmarymorante:
marymorante Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014
You write something about Hey Arnold, maybe about Helga, I want to read it
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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Actually, yeah. I have a fan fiction in progress called Tattered ribbon. Here the link: Click Here!
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:iconmarymorante:
marymorante Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014
Hola mi nueva amiga :) escribí un fic para san Valentín y te lo dediqué, espero te guste 


Te mando un fuerte abrazo. 

MM:)
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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Muchas gracias. Me alegro de haber sido capaz de inspirar a usted. Espero que usted continuará para superar la adversidad en el futuro y ser una persona aún más increíble que ya es. (Si esta estructura está mal es porque estoy utilizando el traductor de Google. Yo no hablo español. Mis disculpas.)
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:iconocphantom:
OCPhantom Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Powerful...
Brings up my past...
I hated everything about school. I was always the odd man out, the black sheep, shamed for everything I have ever done.  After i graduated high school i gained some confidence then college let me discover who I really was. It wasn't till I was 21 when I started drawing the things I loved. Here now almost 22, not giving a single fuck what anyone else says about what I love and what I draw.  Most people still wanting to drag me back down and hating everything I do, can't even draw a stick figure or write.
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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I wish I had your confidence. Thank you so much. :)
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:icondazeddaisieso-o:
DazedDaisiesO-o Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Don't let anyone bring you down or make you feel you're not worth it. For me, elementary school was a pain and middle school was practically hell. I understand. I don't get why people have to be so rude and disrespectful. That just shows how insecure THEY are about themselves. Look, don't try to change yourself for someone else, because if you have to be someone totally different for someone to like you, they aren't worth your time. Every life is precious. Remember that, kay? :hug:
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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much. It's really nice to know I'm not alone in this. :)
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:icondazeddaisieso-o:
DazedDaisiesO-o Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You are very welcome. :aww:
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:iconmetalheadrailfan:
metalheadrailfan Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014
I know exactly what you mean. I was picked on nonstop until at least my 8th grade year (7th was the worst). Why? Mostly over just my interest in trains instead of the stuff that's considered "cool" like video games and sports. I had a couple of friends (morel like acquaintances) but we never had much in common. Sometimes I felt like they hung around me just to pity me.

I guess when I joined my high school swim team, people just suddenly either left me alone or actually wanted to be friends with me. Despite this, I still feel like I'm everyone's target to this day, even if I'm nearing 21. 

Thankfully I have two great friends I practically consider my younger brothers and have been a great influence on their lives.
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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Screw them, man! Trains are bitchin! But seriously, you're awesome. I love you man. :)
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:iconmetalheadrailfan:
metalheadrailfan Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014
Exactly! I know look at some of them and it's my turn to laugh because I'm actually going to achieve what I've been dreaming about practically my whole and they're stuck at McDonalds with their "Glory Days" behind them. 
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:icondarkness87:
DARKNESS87 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014
Yes everyone can always use an Arnold in their lives. I'm very sorry that you had to go through that. Remember there are a lot of outcasts out there. We're everywhere. I never went through the wanting to fit in. My approach was to love myself first. To the point of never letting anyone close to me. You have to get to the middle. Love yourself be true to thyself. We usually don't get the ppl or things in life that we want. But we always get what we deserve. With that said. Pray and God bless. The devil is busy don't get caught in his business. And if your not religious know the most evil thing to do is hate oneself...
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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much. :) I'm definitely going to be trying harder to be a better person and to try and love myself. I think the hardest part of that is seeing myself through God's eyes and not my own.
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:iconilovehelga:
ILoveHelga Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014
love it :D^^
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:iconjose-ramiro:
Jose-Ramiro Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Nice pic, and very powerful message. Glad you survived.
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:iconnicolemtracy:
nicolemtracy Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you. Me too. I would have missed out on a lot of awesome stuff. That's the worst part about suicide. It's always a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
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:iconjose-ramiro:
Jose-Ramiro Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Exactly. And not a good permanent solution; it creates a permanent problem.
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:iconbaconkitty:
Baconkitty Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this is so powerful..
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:iconsmashbros2008:
SmashBros2008 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Well dosent this give good memories...:iconfinallyplz:D
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