One of my mother’s most repetitive and emphasized phrases is, “You’re different, honey, and they don’t like that.”
Through middle school and high school I faced a lot of negativity from my peers. People were my friends and all of a sudden they weren’t; some others did not even give me the golden chance of friendship. Up until my junior year I was very cautious of my behavior and how I portrayed myself to others. I always made sure I was kind and tolerant towards everyone. Yet, people still found faults in me. My freshman year – also my first year in Memphis – a girl in my World Geography Honors class tried picking a fight with me because she thought I was fake [read: I was too nice]. My senior year, one of my own friends openly told me I was too harsh and too arrogant [read: I had no filter].
I guess I could never seem to find the right balance.
I battled with the ludicrous concept of “perfection.” I did whatever I could to make friends and keep them. Now, I was cautious because 1) I wanted people to like me, but also, 2) So I couldn’t blame myself for someone’s sudden decision to become bitter with me. I emphasize the second point by taking note of several instances and scenarios in which my “friends” would do or say things that actual friends (or good people) wouldn’t do or say: “Oh, I’m sorry, we forgot to invite you!” “Um, you can’t be in our picture.” “Well, you’re not really a part of our group, you’re kind of like an extra.” And so, because of point #2, I couldn’t understand why they were doing aforementioned things. I admired these people – and although I may have been already established as a permanent acquaintance – never actually a part of their group, never actually a real friend – I wanted so badly to be a part of them. I wanted to be fun enough to be invited, I wanted to be good enough to be in the pictures, and I wanted to be important enough to be a part of a clique. But, no matter how nice I was or how much of a good listener I was, I was still forgotten and left out.
A typical beginning to the typical underdog story.
Digressing back to point 2): Why wasn’t I good enough? I kept over-analyzing my actions as to figure out how I must mold myself to make people like me and want me. Am I too nice? Am I too confident? Am I too loud? Too boring?
My final conclusion, fixed two and a half months away from graduating high school, is this: I was good enough, I am good enough. Just because I wasn’t like everyone else did not mean I had to fix myself or shape myself so I could be, and so people would accept me. The truth is, I would never really fit in – and they knew that. No matter what I did, it would not change anything. Maybe I am a bit too ambitious, too realistic, too passionate to keep up with the cotton-candy-pink teenage dream.
Mark Twain said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” At this point in my life, I find self-satisfaction in not being a part of a group; of not fitting into a certain type of category. I celebrate it. I’m different, I like that.
Quote: “I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.” – Henry David Thoreau