Guest Column: Trustworthiness

Learning to Trust
“Trust is hard to come by. That’s why my circle is small and tight. I’m kind of funny about making new friends.” – Eminem
“Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.” – Isaac Watts

As a child, I was relatively outgoing and energetic, often playing in the dirt on the playground all by myself, perfectly content. I didn’t mind friendship, but I was perfectly okay on my own. I was that one little girl always running around and whooping like a wild animal. The other girls wanted to play princesses, and I wanted to play wolves. See the contrast? Because of this, I didn’t form very many solid friendships, and I was usually off in the corner of the classroom writing on a scrap of paper in my free time.
Like most first-grade kids, I trusted my parents more than anything. My friends at school were okay, but most of the time I’d rather be alone. With my parents, though, it was different. Parents were great! They’ll play with you and tell you stories and help you with whatever you need. At least that was what I thought, until my little sister entered the equation.

I was my parent’s kid, I was their daughter, and then, all of a sudden, they pushed me aside and started pampering this new kid. What was she, anyway? She was just a tiny gurgling baby! There was nothing cute about her! What was wrong with my parents? As a four-year-old dealing with entirely new happenings in life I’d never experienced before, I was not at all impressed. My little sister was cute, sure–for the first day or two. After that she was just annoying, crying all the time and screeching and hogging my mom. Hey, remember me, parents? I’m still here! Over here! Your daughter! Remember?

Of course, I didn’t say any of that, but to this day I remember exactly what it felt like. It was as if, at all times, I was staring through a window with my mom and dad on the other side, obsessing over my new baby sister and how perfectly angelic she was, meanwhile I was left on the other side of the window, looking through the glass, invisible. It was the first time I’d ever felt that. Betrayal of trust. For those of you with little siblings, you might know what I’m going through.

Call me jealous, self-centered, whatever you want–but this little story just proves how important trust really is. Especially to young children! They’re so small and their brains are so underdeveloped that they don’t realize what’s actually going on. The way they see it, their loving, trusting parents just replaced them with a new kid, a cuter one, a better one.

Now, I don’t mean to be blunt, but when I was younger, I hated my sister. I didn’t trust her, not at all, and I didn’t trust my parents either, not after tossing me aside for a bundle of swaddling clothes with less than half of my own intelligence. For the next few years, I was usually alone, drawing. The only person I knew I could trust was myself. If I was having a bad day, I would close my eyes and dive into the realm of my imagination, where I was loved and cared for by my imaginary friends. My world was so much better than the real one! I could have all the adventures I wanted, and even the perfect parents!

What’s the point of this long, long monologue about my early childhood? That trust can make an imprint on us far, far into the future. It’s taken me a while to recover, but I know my parents still care about me–and after everything, I still care about my family. Trust comes in many different shapes and forms, and it doesn’t always come easily. But in the end, it does, even if it’s not apparent at first. So even if you’re afraid of trust, give it to the people who deserve it, and if they’re good people, you’ll know by the way they treat it. So never be afraid to trust.

BIO: I’m Jenna Mark, 8th grade, a student at West Valley City School. I like comics, video games, books, and writing stories when I’m supposed to be doing productive things (shh–don’t tell anybody), I spend my free time drawing, either in the margins of my school notebook or on discarded printer paper. My family and I live in a fairytale-esque brick house in Spokane with a population of four people and four cats.