In senior drama class, the first weeks of school were spent working on a project to be shared at the Spring Fundraising Dinner. It was a selection of personal stories that highlighted how members of our class had felt like they were “on the fringes” but then found a place of belonging at HD. The stories were nearly ready for performance when life as we know it came to a halt, so they were never shared. Because they are beautiful and meaningful, we wanted to give you a glimpse of them in this format.
When Hollie was in elementary school, she struggled to find friendships that were true and real. Rumours and stories were spread about her, making it hard for her to trust others or to be herself. When she started high school at HD, Hollie was practiced at hiding herself away so that she could protect herself from hurt and betrayal.
In her skit about finding belonging, Hollie sits in the centre of the stage, eating lunch alone. She speaks directly to the audience, saying,
“When I came to high school, I didn’t really have any friends. I had also developed really bad anxiety and trust issues which made it hard to make friends. Sure, everyone at HDCH was friendly, but I kind of blocked myself off from really connecting with people because I was afraid of getting hurt. So at lunch, I sat alone, a lot, until about half way through Gr.10, when everything changed for me.”
One-by-one, other actors surround her on stage, sitting next to her, chatting together, smiling, and creating a semi-circle. Hollie continues to speak:
“One day, about halfway through the first semester of Gr.10, a few girls came up to me. I had a few classes with them so we made small talk for a little while and they invited me to sit with them. I didn’t want to be rude, so I accepted and actually became really close with their group after I got to know them and began to trust them. I also became pretty close with some people in my drama class which led me to another group of people. Since meeting my people, I have really found myself and become more confident. I’ve grown into someone I’m proud to be, and I finally found somewhere I belong. I feel I can be myself and I know I’ll never be judged, or hurt, or used, and that’s what belonging is to me.”
Hollie’s experience isn’t unusual. Many people struggle to build relationships after being hurt because it is scary to be vulnerable. We are thankful to Hollie for being willing to share her experience so that others can follow her pathway to find belonging. It takes tremendous courage to open up to others, but the reward is friendships that are deep and true and beautiful.
This is Hollie.
She is a member of our drama class, and we love her just the way she is.