I’m Kristina Calco and I’m 12 ½ yrs old going on 13 on Dec. 26 (the
day after Christmas aren’t I lucky?) You are reading about my life in my
preteen/teenage years. Let me tell you a few things about me.
I have wavy/curly dark brown
hair an inch or two longer than my shoulders and dark… and brown eyes.
I wear glasses and am a little pale, not so much anymore because I got
tan over the summer. I’m 4 ft 10 ½ (I know I’m short for my age,
20th percentile, but I’m growing.) I’m in 7th grade this year and am dying
to be 13 (then I’ll finally be a teenager!). I have to get braces really
soon right now I’m wearing a twin block to move my jaw forward. I had an
overbite but it’s almost gone because my treatment for that will be over
soon. Although braces are no walk in the sun, they’ve got to be better
than this! I’m not popular but I’m not a loser and I’m actually pretty
shy around other kids, unless I know them well.”
|In middle school,
Kristina was a 4.0 honor student who always strived for perfection in everything
that she did. She was extremely artistic and her work was chosen, not only
to be on the cover of the school yearbook but she was also selected to
design the school t-shirts. In an effort to overcome her shyness,
she joined the student broadcasting staff, the yearbook staff and the newspaper
staff. And although she was admittedly not the best at sports, she
joined the Swimming team, the Volleyball team, the Track team and even
joined the Ski Club. She signed up for Forensics and earned a 3rd place
trophy in the 2003 State Forensics Tournament.
She later wrote that no one would ever know how hard that
was for her. That was actually one of the proudest moments of her life.
her school in every way imaginable and attended numerous sporting events,
such as basketball and football. At the end of the 8th grade, Kristina
tried out for and made the JV Cheerleading team for High School. She wrote
in her journal:
“Me, Kristina Arielle Calco,
I made the cheerleading squad for high school! JV too! I’m so proud of
Despite all of her accomplishments however, there were
some who would choose to drag Kristina down.
Our first indication
of what had happened was found in Kristina’s suicide note, which was written
in the form of a poem. She wrote:
knew I was always the ugly one. Don't say that's a lie because you don't
know what some kids have said and done. It hurts to think about how mean
some people could be. Even when I started to look a little better, they
still couldn't see.”
When we found
that note, we were absolutely dumbfounded. Not only could we not make heads
or tails of it, but we had absolutely no idea why she would write that.
She had blossomed into a beautiful girl. And so our search for answers
found 2 Instant Message Conversations in which Kristina said to a friend:
“You should have heard what
they said to me in middle school. It was awful. I felt like crying.
Everyday this boy would tell
me I was ugly and nasty, and then he got other people to say it too. It
was torture and a living hell.”
In another IM conversation, she tells another person:
“Everyone I've ever liked
has always rejected me for reasons of ‘God, you are so ugly’ or ‘I’d never
go out with you’.”
When the other
party questioned her about whether these words were actually spoken to
her and what she did about it, Kristina replied
they actually said those words to me and I cried a lot."
By this point,
we began to question her group of friends, which included both her Middle
school friends as well her High School friends. Yes, it was all true. We
were told that Kristina was teased and tormented and ridiculed throughout
her middle school years and up to at least the 9th grade. Neither she nor
any of her friends ever told a single adult about what was going on. We
were told that there was a particular group of boys that did this to her
and that every day the girls would have to console Kristina in the cafeteria.
Her friends would reassure Kristina that she was not ugly and that she
was beautiful. They thought they were doing the right thing. Unfortunately,
the bullying never ended. Kristina, who was such a frail and sensitive
girl, was made to feel ugly on a daily basis by a group of her own peers.
By the time she was in the 9th grade, she had internalized the verbal assaults
until she believed them with every grain of her soul.
To her friends
and her classmates, Kristina, to quote a fellow classmate “was one of those
rare gems that was as gorgeous on the inside as she was on the outside.
She was incredibly multitalented, intelligent, and articulate, and she
had a certain grace and class to her that many others her age lacked greatly.
There was something about her that just made the entire room light up.
She exuded radiance and had a sparkling personality that led others to
feel better without warning.”
She cared about
everyone, to the detriment of even herself. She was kind and considerate
and caring and always made people feel so good about themselves. Kristina
worried about her friends, her bullies and the world around her. She wrote
about her deep desire to help humanity in some way and that it was her
hope to become a great scientist and find a cure for Cancer and for Aids.
This is the
Eulogy that I wrote and read at Kristina’s visitation:
was a very sensitive young girl of 15 who sadly was just never meant to
make it to her 16th birthday, which would have been 12/26/2005. To us and
everyone else, this Saturday, (December 3rd, 2005) seemed not much different
from any other Saturday. Kristina slept in, ate breakfast, showered and
dressed. She asked to go to the library to get books for a project she
was working on about John F. Kennedy. I dropped her off at the library
while I drove to pick up my other daughter from dance class. After that
I drove Kristina to the mall to do some shopping. She helped her friend
get ready for the dance and decided that she’d like to go after all. When
she came home she went directly upstairs to fix her hair. When she was
done with her hair and makeup, we drove to get a dress at Marshall Fields.
She chose the dress she wanted, we paid and we just cut the tags so she
could wear it out. We drove home to get the $10 entrance fee and my husband.
Kristina asked me how she looked, to which I replied that she looked great,
which of course wasn’t what she wanted to hear. She had wanted me to tell
her that she looked beautiful, which of course she did. Kristina told us
the dance was over at 11 pm, so my husband arrived shortly after that to
pick her up. He called her cell at which time she told him she’d made an
error and that it was really over at 11:30. She came out sometime around
11:40 PM, came home, showed the other kids her dress, and proceeded to
get on IM. I must have told her 6 times to take off her dress and get ready
for bed. She asked me to take her picture first, which didn’t seem an unusual
request as she did this for every dance she had. I took her picture and
then went up to bed.
last time I saw Kristina alive.
saw the gorgeous, bright, brilliant, intelligent, special person that she
was. She couldn’t stand looking into mirrors because all she ever saw looking
back at herself was “ugliness and fat”. “So
I don’t look”.
just pretend I look really good, sometimes it’s really hard though because
I don’t like being, thinking... that I’m pretty when I’m not."
reason, in the wee morning hours of Sunday December 4th, Kristina lost
her focus. The stage had been set and with such a frail and sensitive soul,
she just couldn’t bear the pain that had consumed her. In that one tiny
infinitesimal instant, Kristina made the choice to kill herself. Suicide
seemed her only escape… her only way out… her only way to end the pain.
You see, in
Kristina’s mind, life was like a test, where there was supposed to be a
perfect outcome. She was always looking for a certain set of steps to follow
a clear, precise beginning, middle and end, and life just doesn’t conform
to those rules, despite all the wishful thinking in the world. For Kristina,
it was like trying to solve a math equation for which she’d been given
the wrong formula from the start. No matter what she did, she just couldn’t
get the correct answer.
In closing I
want you all to know that Kristina could never have understood the finality
of what she did. She wrote about it so often as if she could have done
it any day or time, just as you or I would take a breath. I know that in
her mind that she imagined it would be like simply walking away down a
long road and just not coming back. In my heart, I know that she couldn’t
possibly have fully realized how one person’s life could touch so many,
many other people’s lives. ; She didn’t understand that once you are gone,
you can never, never ever come back.
in a 7th grade journal entry:
only reason I even bother to tell my sad sob story is that someday the
public might know what a teenage girl goes through. So as you know nice
guys finish last... well it might as well be nice
girls finish last, too”.
Tragic as our
story is to tell and live each day. I feel that there are things
to be learned from Kristina’s story. Written in the hopes that no
one else might ever have to awaken to such a blustery snowy morning as
To read Kristina’s complete Life Story, visit her memorial web page at http://www.theshabbycastle.com/kristinacalco