There’s a sad lie you’re being told. It’s about “the real world”. There is no real world. You’re in it. No. We aren’t always crowded into classrooms for a hour at a time and, most of the time, we don’t have to pee on a schedule. But, the social aspects. The cliques. The “mean girls”. The stupidity. They’re still there. Just look at the government games, if you need further proof.
I was never the popular girl in school. I knew the popular kids. They were in my classes and knew my name. We knew each other enough to say, “hi”. I highlighted a lot of people in my high school year book. Now, I remember very few of them. I knew these people. They weren’t my friends.
There was no place I really fit in. I wasn’t popular. The so-called nerds and misfits wanted to be my friends, but I was too busy trying to fit in. You know what I found out? Those nerds and misfits had more fun. They didn’t need to impress anyone and they knew who their friends were.
Years later, the lines are blurred. People I thought hated me and looked down on me, in high school, are now my Facebook friends. They like me. I like them. We talk. We support one another. This is what gave me a false sense of believing the myth.
On my more confident days, I think, if I could go back to high school, knowing all I know now, I would do so much better. Then, I look around at the social group I’m in and realize I’m in high school all over again. The same cliques. Same politics. Same “he said, she said” gossip. This time I’m married to one of the “cool guys”. But, I’ll never be cool. This realization made me miserable for years. Any time, there is a large event, I still get hit with the agitation and anxiety, because a part of me still needs time to get through it.
I’ll never be the pretty, popular girl. But, I’m not jealous of her. I’m jealous of the support system. It’s the difference between, “I want to ….” and having people who will help you accomplish your goals, or just getting a pat on the head and figuring it out yourself. The latter is frustrating and sometimes lonely, but still worth it.
I tried to fit in with the popular people. It didn’t work. I can act, but I can’t be fake. Instead of fitting in, I had the opposite reaction. I repelled. My bliss came when I gave up. That’s another myth: Never give up. Some times you do have to give up. It doesn’t mean you quit. It means, you need to take time to reevaluate what isn’t working and start again. It’s okay. Give up. Then, START OVER.
Remember what I said up there about so-called nerds and misfits? I say, ‘so-called’, because those are the people that are different. The people that aren’t out there in the spotlight. They’re the ones with the fun ideas and deep thoughts, but no one ever asked them. Once you get them talking, they won’t shut up. So, proceed with caution. But, Seek them out. Do it in high school. Do it in the real world. They are the people who accept you as you are. Unique isn’t a bad word. Quirks are meant to be celebrated.
Be who you want to be. The hell with everyone else.
© 2012-2014 by Lisa Magoch Johnson/Being Artemis All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Lisa Magoch Johnson/Being Artemis
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