The First Time I Caused a Stir by Using My Words

Before Lindsay Lohan donned an oversized pink polo to hang with the Plastics, I wore a purple polo to sixth grade.

And apparently, it pulled up a little at the waist when I raised my hand to answer a question in class.

This led to the prettiest girl in my class saying to someone else that I should throw my shirt away.

When I heard of her comment I was boiling mad. Who did she think she was?

I spent recess on the rooftop with my friend Stephanie doing old school magazine layout. We each had print outs of products to feature and celebrity photos cut from other magazines that we were gluing to sheets of printer paper. Handwriting page numbers.

There was a beautiful thing in the works: My first ever magazine. I pretty quickly, happily picked a title for the magazine. I hand drew a cover that interested me: a bed in a walk-in closet. (I don’t know, it made sense to me at the time LOL.) I drew up mock subscription invitations on the back, and included a call for contributors. I gave my little sister an advice column to write.

And I wrote a Letter From The Editor.

Stephanie helped me get the proof copy ready. And then my mom helped me print 10 copies on the printer my parents had at home for their business. It was actually a laborious process because there wasn’t an automatic double-sided print. You had to manually do that.

I was ready on a Monday morning with my 10 copies of RoZgIrl magazine to distribute during homeroom.

And it caused a ruckus.

Stephanie and I beamed with pride as people clamored to read the copies. And there were whispers and looks as they came to my favorite part of the magazine: a little blurb where I wrote about how unkind it is to judge and talk behind someone’s back about what they’re wearing.

Of course, it was my response to the girl who’d picked on me for my purple polo.

And honestly? It felt amazing to know she now knew what I thought, and honestly, feeling a little vindicated that without even naming her, most if not all of my classmates knew exactly who the blurb referred to.

My teacher, who was the coolest and so beautiful, called me to her desk. She gave me recognition for the creation of a whole magazine. And promptly asked me not to hand anymore out. I don’t remember if she said that she wanted to read future issues before they were handed out, or if I just wasn’t allowed anymore, period.

Little Rosella smiled kindly in response to whatever exactly she said.

And I never created another issue of RoZgIrl magazine.

I’ve been a little disappointed in myself for hiding from the power I wielded with my own magazine in 6th grade.

But today, I choose to remember this entire situation with pride. It is fully who I am. I am that little girl who made her own opportunity to share her truth.

So what if others squirm? Hell, even I squirm when writing my truth. But I’ve seen time and again in my 29 years just how crucial it is to share your truth.

WORDS have always been the medium of my own healing.

Exploration through writing has made sense of my lived experience.

And I have always used the written word to express my truth and bring change.

What would you have told your class if you’d wielded this same kind of power in 6th grade? (Not what the grown-up you would do… what would little you do?) If you dare to share, drop a comment!

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