She was not like other girls her age. Her view of the world was different. Her response to the world was different.
Her peers didn’t understand her. She loved to act silly and wasn’t embarrassed by much. She had her own style and would enter a room chin-up, silently daring others to criticize.
She thought maybe she was cute, not really gorgeous or stunning. Really she felt awko-taco [awkward] most of the time. Boys thought she was hilarious and joked around with her but they didn’t *like* her.
The few close friends she had didn’t always get her sense of humor. She looked at them with jealousy. They were pretty and funny and athletic and had good grades. They knew just what to wear and say and how to act.
They didn’t realize that when they didn’t call or when they hung out with others how much it effected her.
She resorted to humor and they didn’t see that her self-deprecating humor was a way to deal with the fact that inside she felt different and feared that she would never really be accepted because of it.
Inside she needed to be accepted. She wanted people to *like* her, but she didn’t want to forgo her quirkiness to conform.
Sometimes she gave in. She suppressed her uniqueness to fit in. She became what she was not.
It never really worked. She spoke up too much. She didn’t understand what the drama was all about and would say so unabashedly. She still dressed and acted quirkily. She had a certain something about her that gave off an impression of assurance – that she didn’t care what people thought.
But that was just her defense – she wanted SO badly to fit in. But she also wanted SO badly to be herself and for that to be ok.
But in middle school being yourself is only ok if it’s like everyone else.
I was that girl and I am raising her.
My heart aches in remembrance and in empathy.
And I am SO PROUD of her!
Loved this post, Nana. It made me reflect on my youth compared to my boy. My son is everything I was not as a kid. I started out just being shy. But eventually that grew into isolation. I too wanted so bad just to be liked…to be accepted. I had a quirkiness then, and still do. But just like then, I hide it. I stay crammed in my shell. My son, though, is energetic, engaged, loud, creative. He demands attention. He is many things I wish I could be. His ADHD may drive me nuts at times, but at other times, it…HE inspires me.
I did the opposite and embraced my quirks but drew a shell around myself – I was the clown, the mascot at school, the crazy girl, but I never let anyone get close because I always *felt* they were judging me…I’m eagerly watching my daughter, wondering which ways she’ll go! My son is just like you describe yours – seems like boys aren’t hampered (as much) with the emotional need to be accepted – they are who they are! It’s so awesome to be a parent and watch your children grow and learn along with them isn’t it?? Thanks for stopping by!
I loved this Nana,
Beautifully written. I was completely unaware that i was different until I got to middle school.
Thanks! Middle school years are so difficult in so many ways! Just hoping we all come through relatively unscathed! The way my kids are spread apart I have 8 years of middle school ahead! Oye!! Thanks for stopping by!