What is a name? Is it something that defines you? Is it what people call you? Or is it simply how you show yourself to the world?

Chloe Rose is my name. Now, it may seem like I have a basic white girl name, but look closer, look through the eyes of the person it describes. I grew up in a small town, went to a private school, where I met other Chloes. The whole time there I thought, “Wow, I am nothing but normal. I have blonde hair, get good grades and have a basic name.” There was so much more beyond just the surface.

I never knew how people viewed me until I got into middle school. I never knew what it was like to be different, to not fit in. But then something snapped. I needed to wear skinny jeans and a sweatshirt. I needed to get good grades, I needed to have blonde hair. But that's the funny thing. I don't. I was letting people and the basics of my name define me. Don't get me wrong. I still am. I don't think that I will ever be able to truly be myself.

The world is such a judgmental place. It twists you, makes you feel like you have to be someone else. Labels you. It's almost like people don't want you to be different. Everyone wants you to be the same as them. But that's wrong. They are putting people into a position where you feel trapped, like you are in a cage and the key is across the room. You can see who you want to be, but as soon as you go to be that, you realize you can't. You're shut out from your true self.

People cover up their pain by inflicting it on others. They point out your insecurities, and make you want to change yourself to fit in, to match. It's like a puzzle. It will never work if you don't match, if the pieces aren't the same.

She is too fat, he is too skinny. Her clothes are too baggy, his clothes are too tight. What is it that you want from me? You want me to change my body? Do you want me to put on makeup so that I look the way that you want me to look, instead of the way I want to look? I've done that. I have twisted and turned around every possible corner to fit in, and I know that others have to. But what’s the point? All that you are doing is showing that others are better than you, that you will never be strong enough.

But that is the standard. You have to have the perfect smile, the perfect body, the perfect face for society to even look at you as normal. You see all these movies where people are perfect, it's almost like even big famous networks are trying to make you someone else. Oh, but then when they include someone who isn't “perfect” they are trying to show that they support body positivity. How about making a movie about someone being put down for their image?

The government also gives you an image. It shows you that in order to be normal, you should be married, have a “normal” job, a few kids, and a picket fence house. But what is normal? No one really knows because our whole lives, we have been told the same thing over and over again. What is normal is sticking on trend. There is no normal.

Forget image, what about personality? Have you ever noticed that the nicest people are sometimes the ones considered “ugly” or the ones that are constantly beat down and shoved into a corner by the world? Or that the cruel people are the pretty ones, the popular ones? Once you really get to know someone, you realize that the most important image, that most important thing about a person, is how they make you feel.

In conclusion, your name is not the only thing that labels you. And there will always be others who try to knock you down and push you into a corner. And, if we are being completely honest, most of the time it works.

Chloe Rose Manchester is 13 and a student at Cunha Intermediate School.

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