I can clearly remember that first feeling of not fitting in and not being one of the “cool” kids. In all honestly, it bothered me every single day. I thought about it before, during and after school. These feelings affected what clothes I wore, how I did my hair, how I walked, how I stood, the classes I chose, where I would sit, the way I talked, pretty much everything.
Nobody made some magic list of who was cool and who wasn’t, or told me I should try to pretend to be anything but myself. Now, thinking about it as an adult, it was me. I’m the one that decided who and what was on those lists, and let me tell you, I wasn’t on it.
Growing up is tough. Everyone and everything is changing around the clock. As a preteen and teenager, you’re self-centered and it can be difficult to see past your own circumstances. I think this is a normal part of the process. I mean, it obviously takes some people much, much longer to grow out of this than others, but we can just avoid those people. ? I was one of these self-centered/absorbed kids for sure. I always thought everything was an effect of something I did or didn’t do. A laugh from a group of kids near me, someone’s grumpy attitude, not being picked immediately when we were told to form groups. A little voice inside my head that would say, “don’t be weird today, try harder to be likable and people will want to be around you.” I’m not gonna lie, the voice still exists 20 years later, it’s just much easier to tell it to F off now.
That little voice inside my head has repeatedly told me I should try harder to be like the people I had put up on an imaginary pedestal. Here’s a ridiculous example, ready? I’m serious, it’s so ridiculous it’s hard for me to even write down!? Ok, in middle school, a couple of the “pedestal” girls would stand with their knees extremely hyper-extended, click here if you haven’t a clue what that means ?. I do not stand this way naturally but, there I was, waiting in the lunch line, FORCING my poor little legs to their limits just to try and mimic them. Wow, that’s embarrassing. Now, as an adult, I know that these girls (most likely) had no idea their legs were even doing anything any different than every one else’s. I also now know that it’s not healthy to attempt this “look”. DUH
?If this is the example I chose to share with you just imagine what absurdities I won’t be sharing!?
The truth of the matter is, I’m not like a lot of these pedestal people, not then and not now. I spent a long time laughing at jokes I didn’t think were funny and doing a lot of things I didn’t really like because I thought it would somehow turn me into one of them. I guess I’m kind of weird. I always have been and most likely will continue to be a weirdo.
Today it’s a little different. My oldest son just began 6th grade and doesn’t have even one of the anxieties I felt as a grade school kid. He is just completely himself and everyone loves him for it. And if they don’t, he doesn’t bat an eye. Thankfully, it’s much more popular to be different and just who you genuinely are today. I only wish I would have given myself more credit as a kid and embraced my personality from a younger age. I was in my late twenties before I truly let myself be me. That’s a lot of years wasted for no reason.
I think if my son wrote a list of pedestal people he would be the first one on it. And that’s something.