The first time that I knew that I was different from the girls around me was when I was in sixth grade. I was sitting on my friend’s bed with a few other friends while they were flipping through the pages of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. While my friends giggled and fantasized about looking like the models in the ads, I felt completely out of place, and frankly, uncomfortable. There was always something in the back of my mind that reminded me that my personality didn’t match that of my friends. I was like a puzzle piece, trying to force myself to complete the picture that my group of friends so effortlessly fit into.
My parents have always told me that I’m wise beyond my years; that I’ve been a mini-adult since that day that I was born. My maturity level has allowed me to communicate better with adults than with kids my own age. And let me tell you, twelve and thirteen year old girls don’t exactly turn a blind eye when the girl that they’ve been hanging out with acts more like an adult than a kid.
When I was in sixth grade, I was involved with a really popular group of girls. While they were worried about push up bras and boys, I was more interested in my upcoming math test. When these girls realized that I wasn’t one of them, they made my life miserable. Girls are vicious and can do a lot of emotional damage, especially when they’re the people that you thought were closest to you. It got to the point where I had to eat lunch alone in the guidance counselor’s office because every time that I sat down at a lunch table, people got up and moved away. Every day after school in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade I came home and cried. My parents used to dread my after school calls where they would have to hear about the horrible things that had been done to me that day.
Since middle school, girls and I have gone together like oil and water; we just don’t mix. I have constantly struggled with being ostracized by my peers, which caused a lot of emotional damage. I know that a lot of people don’t believe that something that happened in middle school could really affect me that much. But after being left behind by the people who I thought were my friends, I’ve had a really hard time letting people into my life because I’m terrified that each new person that I trust is going to exploit my secrets and desert me.
My social struggle has followed me through high school. I continued to struggle with discovering who I was as a person while the people who I thought were my friends once again abandoned me. My best friend of four years left me in the dust when she soared to the top of the social tower. She eventually wrote me a letter where she called me a “mental and social parasite” and told me never to talk to her again and not to be surprised when my “friends” left me for the same reasons that she did. This girl was the first person that I trusted after my middle school fiasco, and this is how it turned out.
It has taken me a really long time to heal the wounds that were inflicted upon me in middle school. And an even longer time to realize that everything that was happening to me wasn’t my fault. Now, I’m a senior in high school and I’m proud to say that I’m finally on the path to self-discovery. I’m a work in progress and frankly I’m proud of my imperfections, because what’s so great about being perfect anyway? Even though I’m different than the people around me, I’ve learned to embrace my differences and make them work for me. My maturity and my “adultness” are a huge part of who I am and I shouldn’t have to change that for anyone. Instead of changing who I am for the people around me, I waited to find the right people who accept me as I am. I’ve learned how to flaunt my differences even if it means that I don’t get along with everyone. My differences are what makes me, me and I’m really proud of the person who I have become and I won’t ever let anyone make me unsure of that again.