Wilson Middle School, Council Bluffs
Dear Terry Trueman,
Not many books can make you feel as if you're flying down a tunnel of emotions. Not many books change your mind as fast as the New Horizons.
Not many books make you cry and laugh at
same time. Yet, that's exactly what Stuck In Neutral did to me. I was so unsure of how to think or how to feel. A mix of emotions hit me all at once, as
if a glass of milk tripped,
spilling everywhere. For example,
when Shawn's sitting by the window,
while his family is watching his father's and sister's interview, I didn't know if
I should feel bad for Shawn when he
got seizures, or
he couldn't hear the
interview. My mind was
changed. My idea of people like Shawn will never be the same. It forever changed.
I will not rush to
judgement the way everyone at the poem reading of Shawn's father did.
You're ugly, stupid, a nerd, fat, no one likes you. Everything ever said about me,
taken to heart. It's always made my self-esteem low. Many said
something about me was wrong, weird, or stupid. So, I changed. I changed everything
about myself. I changed so
much, that I felt
as if I had been hiding behind a mask forever.
Scared. Scared someone would think
of something else that was wrong with the real me.
After reading Stuck In Neutral and seeing the
way Shawn has seen everything, I knew things had begun to change. It
started by throwing away
the mask I had been wearing.
Shawn had given me the strength to remember authentic me. Shawn, a fourteen-year-old
boy with cerebral
palsy, can listen, understand how people see him, and ignore it. For a person to live as Shawn did knowing people didn't
see him as a normal person, but still not get down on
himself has shown me
I can be who I was meant to be. I do have the power to just ignore all the horrible stuff said and thought of me, and know in my heart that it isn't true. I can trust
in myself and see I am my own person for a reason.
Shawn also knew he was a perfect person, only in an imperfect
shell. My personal
flaws and problems are actually what make me
perfect. If someone
points out my differences, it only matters what I know is true. I'm
not saying it will never hurt, but I will never lose myself again or hide behind another mask. My true self is here to stay, and I'm the only one who can be perfectly me. No one can see things the way I do. How could anyone possibly
know anything is wrong with me, unless he
or she was me?
As time goes on, I know I won't see my differences as flaws. I will pay attention to the good things in my life. Some people, like Shawn, can't control movements, but I can. Some
people don't get enough to eat, but I do. Some people
don't have families, but I have mine. Some
people are abused,
threatened, unloved everyday,
but I'm not. Instead
of trying to change myself to fit in, I should be trying to make the world a better place. If all those people can believe they are perfect, so can I.
Thank you Mr. Trueman
for writing this story.
It has changed my life in many ways. Stuck In Neutral has shown me I don't have to be that little girl hiding behind
an elephant size mask. I have to
in who I am and let the world see the real me. I will work to
be more like Shawn. Thanks, Mr. Trueman, for showing me.