A/N: Okay, I've never done this before but I'm all up for trying new things. This is my first central one-shot, so I hope it gains justice. I don't normally write for Courtney, so I'm sorry if she's OOC.
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing related to the Total Drama series. Also, this fic is based on the poem "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou.
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
A poised smile is all Courtney reveals as she strides down the populous corridors of Wawanakwa High. She knew that she had an assertive impression as most students usually froze when she walked by. The way they suddenly stopped what they were doing just to smile at her was questionable.
As the school president, Courtney knew that everyone pretended to like her. After all, her mother didn't raise no sucker.
With your bitter, twisted lies,
Most people would have wondered why someone else disliked them, but Courtney couldn't care any less. She was basically in charge of the school, so she had other matters to focus on.
The demeaning looks from those bystanders... Nothing but dislike and conceit were poorly hidden on their faces. The CIT pretended not to know of their true nature, but the truth was she knew quite well.
You may trod me in the very dirt
The situation was ironic. Everyone constantly treated the CIT with disrespect, yet she somehow gained the most influential position.
As she headed to her destination, the murmurs behind her continued to rise. She wasn't concerned. In the end, she knows she is intelligent and independent, unlike most of the sheep at their school.
There was no point in caring about the harsh opinions of the world. Her's was the only one which truly mattered in the end.
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Amusing jokes. Silent threats. Witty remarks... This is usually what happens behind the CIT's back, but she mentally waves them aside.
They were trying to bring her down, but she continued to rise.
Due to the successful future that awaits Courtney, high school was a laughable matter. It meant nothing to her.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Keeping things short and professional, Courtney approached a few students. Each time she handed them a brochure, using her charisma to convince them to join the school's debating team.
Each time she offers, she is declined. The chosen students either claim that they are too busy to join or that they are suddenly late for class, completely unaware of the fact that they still have twenty minutes until their lunch break is over.
Why are you beset with gloom?
There is one student in particular who catches Courtney's eye. The lonely goth from her biology class, Gwen, was currently shoving random books into her locker. Surely if Gwen was opinionated enough to dress the way she did, then she should have a lot of interesting perspectives to share with her peers.
Noticing that the goth was always gloomy and had no friends, the CIT approached her, hoping that her request would be the first sign of their friendship.
"Hello, Gwen. As your school president, I think you should join the debate club. Its a-"
"Excuse me, but I was speaking," Courtney interrupted. "Ahem... Joining the debate club is an excellent way to share your ideas on specific topics which concern the world. Your opinion matters; never forget that."
As Courtney finished, a sarcastic smile appeared on the goth's pallid face. "Yeah, because I so want to join your preppy club... Like I said before, no thanks, so why don't you just back off?!"
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Scratch that thought about starting a friendship with Gwen. Her attitude was appalling. All Courtney tried to do was help and this is how she is treated?... This is unacceptable.
"How dare you speak to me like that!" Courtney huffed. "You should be thankful! This school is lucky to have such a devoted president like myself!"
Expecting a snarky comeback, Courtney was surprised to see that Gwen had turned around and walked away, obviously not giving a damn to her wise choice of words. Courtney rolled her eyes. Gwen really was a loser.
"Well its no wonder she has no friends..."
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Since the goth was her last hope, Courtney discarded the idea of finding new members for the debate club. Everyone here was useless.
Oh, how it was true...
Growing up in a small town, the same faces often appeared in Courtney's mind. The fact that there were a lot of job shortages made her doubt the future at times. She honestly didn't want to face the problem of not being able to succeed.
Sometimes Courtney shivers at the thought of failing and having no other option but to seek a part-time job at the Dairy Shack.
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Courtney's life at home wasn't any different from school. Her parents occasionally reminded her that she needed to work hard at everything, otherwise she won't have a purpose in life. Almost everything she did was criticised and she had grown accustomed to it. In the end, their tough love helped develop Courtney into the person she is today.
Snapping out of her thoughts, Courtney sighed, placing the brochures in her backpack. As long as she believed that she was successful, then she would make it in the big world and leave this small town behind. Her mother taught her that one of the first few steps to success is confidence, and that is something that she must have at all times.
Did you want to see me broken?
Confidence... It was a good factor, but admittedly there were a few times when it didn't work out so well for Courtney.
A small phase of breaking the rules almost led to her downfall. This was mainly due to her problematic relationship with the school's delinquent, Duncan. The scandalous actions she committed during their relationship had almost cost the CIT her future a couple of times.
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
For a five month relationship, their short-lasted love was stronger than most. While Courtney wanted the best for the punk, she always found herself lifting his spirits only to pelt him down further in the end. He often retorted by doing the same to her.
Due to both parties being stubborn, the couple often bumped heads and constantly lashed out at each other for the most minimal reasons. Although, in the end, all their problems were usually solved with a simple kiss.
It was a complicated, yet simple relationship.
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Coming across an obstacle is normal for most relationships, but everything was suddenly becoming too much for Courtney. She reached the final straw as she and Duncan were in the middle of their sixth fight today. She knew that their love was fading. All they did was fight now.
Her shoulders dropped from the brutality of his insults. A part of her felt heartbroken, yet the other half felt like slamming his face against the cold wall. Even though no tears are visible on her cheeks, her feelings are acknowledged due to her slouched frame.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
"I will always love you, but we can't continue this trainwreck of a relationship... I'm sorry, Dunkie, but its over."
As Courtney says goodbye for the last time, the delinquent feels the need to apologise, promising that he would never insult her again.
This wasn't the first time he'd said that. Those words were now empty to her. In order to be happy, Courtney needed to leave him for good.
After all, who wants to visit their future husband once a week at the local prison?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Since the relationship with Duncan caused nothing but heartache, Courtney knew that she needed to get over him quickly. In order to do this, she decided to find herself a rebound.
Feeling the confidence ooze from her skin once again, Courtney asked the ginger-haired farmboy, Scott, out on a date. After all, he always seemed to have an eye on her.
As they dated, Courtney realised that Scott was actually more stupid than he seemed. Being known as an intelligent student, this was something that bothered Courtney. They could never have a logical conversation.
Scott was sweet, but his obliviousness caused a majority of their fights... In the middle of a heated discussion concerning his back acne, the CIT finally lashed out at him.
"Does my haughtiness offend you?!"
He looked taken aback by her choice of words. "Babe, of course your hotness doesn't offend me! I think you're easy on the eyes... No, wait! That came out wrong!"
Don't you take it awful hard
"Easy on the eyes?! What do you take me for; a page three model?! We're through!"
Deep inside, Courtney knew that the awkward farmboy meant well, but she needed a reason to break up with him. She admitted it was cowardly of her to do so, but there was no other way. After all, she was high maintenance and she expected nothing but perfection. If they were together in the future, then how was Scott going to support her? By harvesting corn and selling it on the sidewalk?
The thought made Courtney cringe.
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.
As Courtney walked away, she could still hear Scott's quivering voice pleading for her to stay. For the first time he sounds afraid and part of her heart is tugging towards him, but she shakes her head, refusing to turn around and run back to him.
Courtney picks up the pace, reminding herself that she doesn't need a man in her life to be happy. And so, she put on the bravest face she could, leaving probably what could have been the best thing in her life.
You may shoot me with your words,
Heather was one of the few bemusing factors in Courtney's life. She always had something against the CIT and was the main reason why everyone made fun of her. As the raven-haired girl continues to throw insults her way, Courtney ignores her, knowing that everything she says are bitter lies and that she can't bring her down.
You may cut me with your eyes,
The ice cold look that Heather pulled would scare most people, but it meant nothing to Courtney. Beyond everything, Courtney already knew that the Queen Bee viewed her as a serious threat. Basically, both girls had power.
Heather had unlimited power over the students, and Courtney had the same amount of influence over the staff.
Courtney felt as though her spirits were lifted as the majority of the staff agreed for the cheerleading budget to be cut in half. The look on Heather's face was priceless since she was the captain.
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
A menacing glare from Heather is all Courtney needs in order to know that their war was far from over.
It was funny. They were the same, yet so different...
But still, like air, I'll rise.
In the end, Courtney knows she has the advantage. Heather could have all the fun she wanted because their remaining time at school was her empire, and that said empire shall soon be forgotten. Courtney, on the other hand, knows that she has a world of possibilities ahead of her. Her time to shine will come soon.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Finding herself to be friendless, Courtney usually found herself getting along with the teachers since they were as intelligent as herself. One teacher in particular always had something against her ideas, yet he always agreed with her in the end, usually referring to her appearance.
"I don't think we should cut the cheerleading budget, but you're kinda hot, so I'll allow it," Mr McLean informs with a wink.
Does it come as a surprise
From time to time, this continued. Since her history teacher seemed to be interested in her, Courtney decided to play along and turn him into the perfect man. The look on his face was hysterical as she handed him a list on how to correct all his faults.
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Ever since Courtney offered to write the list, she found it funny how Mr McLean stopped commenting on her appearance all of a sudden and even began to avoid her in the corridors.
This whole situation was unfortunate. Courtney revealed who she truly was to her teacher by offering friendly advice, yet he ignored her...
How rude. He didn't deserve her help.
Out of the huts of history's shame
Perfection is all the CIT strived for, so why was it so hard to gain?
Courtney is constantly reminded by her father that success is always achievable in her family. However, every time he says this he also mentions how she could easily lose everything if she makes one wrong move.
Every time they have this conversation, Courtney tells her father that she will be successful and do what she can to gain perfection.
As she says these words, her father looks at her with doubt.
Courtney sighs. Why was it so hard to make her parents proud?
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
Her mother was exactly the same. Courtney remembers the past when her mother always ordered her to succeed; even at the impressionable age of a child.
"I will try my best."
Her mother strikes her for the innocent mistake. "No! You will not try your best... You will do your best. I will not accept my child as some failure."
Little Courtney looks up at her mother with tears in her eyes and nods, accepting the fact that she has no control over her future. It never even occurred to her that she would actually take interest in the future later on...
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Through these experiences, Courtney continues to try her best, yet all she does is see herself as a failure in the end.
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
The CIT remembers the day when she showed her parents the test which she earned a mark of 87 out of a possible 100. Her mother pouted, asking why Courtney couldn't reach that 90 mark.
Courtney's heart sank at her mother's reaction, yet she somehow expected it. She could never make her parents happy.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Even though Courtney's results were always top of the class, her parents were happy but never amazed. They always reminded her to gain perfect scores in her exams so she could earn a spot at university.
The stress was becoming too much.
With all the social sacrifices and countless hours spent studying in the library, Courtney knows that everything will turn out well in the end.
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
Leaving the small, insecure girl behind, Courtney knew she had to pick up the pieces herself. After all, there was no other shoulder to lean on.
She had no real friends.
Her parents would be too disappointed to notice.
Duncan would end up barking insults her way,
And Scott would infuriate her for being so kind.
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
From the previous generations which consist of psychologists and lawyers, Courtney realises that she is lucky to have what she has, yet she could never break free from it if she wanted to.
If she wanted to give up now, then she would let everyone down; especially herself.
Courtney keeps her head high, smiling at the bittersweet effect of her planned life.
Now that high school is officially over, the CIT is eager to receive her letter in order to find out if she's made it into her chosen university or not. Today was the day that would effect the rest of her life.
Her mother and father appear out of nowhere and hand over the said envelope. For a moment, Courtney feels nervous, but that feeling disappears as she scans through the letter. A small smile appears on her face and she hands the letter over to her parents.
Once her parents finish reading the letter, they look up. They share the same smile.
Knowing that her parents are proud of her success, Courtney is relieved... And for the first time in forever, she feels like she has truly accomplished something.
A/N: Well, I've got to say I enjoyed writing this, so I hope you all liked it.
Originally, this poem is about racism but I wanted to explore the concept of defeating hardship with confidence; hence why I used Courtney. Thanks for reading. Feel free to review your thoughts!