It all started in what one of my friends considers the armpit of America, New Jersey. I was placed in a ESL class (standard procedure). I believe this one girl was a bully and just about picked on everyone. It was at the point where she pinched me and of course I pinched back. The teacher sided with me entirely on the fact that I was a brand new student and well the girl didn't have a good track record. However, that was enough to mark me off to the rest of the class.
By the time second grade came along, my mother decided to place me in private school (no, it had nothing to do with the pinching incident). The public school system in the north isn't the best. So imagine this, walking into a classroom full of students who had not only known each other but were wearing uniforms. Then me of course wearing not a uniform. As I walked in the teacher obligated everyone to introduce themselves. So as I introduced myself, I curtsied. I repeat, I curtsied. I still cringe about this. Of course there was a cute boy in my class.
Only in second grade did we have a Valentine's day dance, where of course my mother picked an outfit that day I dreaded and the boy who I thought was cute was a short distance from me. When I ask my mother what I did in that situation, her answer wasn't a shock. I ran in circles around the dance floor.
Anyways needless to say I didn't fit in with the popular bunch in my small and quaint classroom. I was different. I wore Mickey Mouse pins on my private school ties in fourth grade AND although I did cheerleading I would skip because the HIGH SCHOOL coaches made me feel as if I did nothing right. However, this didn't mean I didn't want to fit in. I longed to belong to the trio of girls who sat at the end of our classroom lunch table. I tried. I tried so hard to the point where I was bullied. I was a sensitive child as most only children are. The turning point was when I was told what days I could sit in with this trio of cool girls. It wasn't up until Melissa stood up for me. I sat with other girls who were different. There was one girl who was more alienated than I was and she even sat with us. Harmony and having more than one friend in my class seemed like a literal blessing.
But before I got too comfortable....
My mom decided to move us all to Georgia. Yes, New Jersey to Georgia. It's just as easy for me to tell you I cried the whole way. It felt as if I cried the whole 15 hours. Sure the vacations to Georgia weren't too bad but MOVING. At the time it felt as if it was the end of my world (I was only 10).
Unfortunately for me the public school system here was actually better than New Jersey so I attended public school. Unfortunately for me I didn't have the best wardrobe. I mean I wore a uniform 5 days a week; What can you expect? So there I was huge sweatshirts and sweatpants every single day (Snow in Jersey, not a joke) and coming into a classroom who AGAIN everyone knew each other, the status quo was established and I didn't belong to any of them(At least this time they weren't all in uniform right?) . I slowly got acquainted with everyone and made some friends. I still wanted to be "in". It all seems stupid, you know? Anyways everyone was wearing Justice and of course I had to have Justice and I did. I still didn't fit in. None of this bothered me as much because I had one friend named Amber who became my best friend and I wasn't the only addition to the class.. Also it's worth mentioning the girl who lived next to me, never liked me either although I never exchanged but 2 words with her.
I thought things were looking up for me in middle school but of course, I was wrong. 6th grade I made one of my best friends and we were super close simply because we both had a mutual dislike of the girl in my neighborhood who didn't like me for any reason. Things were looking up for me and my like of Hannah Montana seemed to be a good but rather bad conversation starter. I was known as the girl obsessed with Hannah Montana. My best friend and I shared a similar goal of attempting to fit in but finding ourselves to be unsuccessful. The public school system was not in my favor the status quo established in elementary school carried on into middle school and of course the glorious 4 years of high school. I did the talent show in 6th grade and take a wild guess at what I sang... Hannah Montana (shocker).
7th grade I was still super attached to my best friend and we thought we could conquer the world since we had the same class. The universe however had other plans in store for us both. I was placed in the homeroom with the meanest girl possible and she hated me (again I do not know why). She gave me a blank piece of paper and called it an invite to her party. She accused both my best friend and I of being lesbians. Of course my mother handled this. I was shy to the point where I didn't stand up for myself and maybe if I did it wouldn't have gotten so bad.
8th grade I embraced the fact I wasn't part of the established food chain. If the food chain in middle school existed I was simply nonexistent. I began to feel misunderstood for some reason or another prompting black eyeliner and Paramore. I was as edgy as it got. I began an ongoing experimentation with makeup, short hair and a straightener. Needless to say it was rather distrastorus. I had friends who were in-between as I was. I began having friends who perhaps were edgier and did things I didn't do but respected that I didn't do those things.
I think throughout my social experimentation I have gathered to never judge anyone. It's okay to be different.High school to me felt like a turning point, because at the time I still didn't believe elementary and middle school food chains applied to the best four years of your life. I socialized with the less cooler people. If social climbing was a thing, in high school I was still bottom of the ladder. It wasn't until Junior year I found my niche. In 9th grade I befriended a girl named Geo, who after gym disappeared in my life. 11th grade brought us back together through a mutual friend and through Geo I met my group. We all had strict parents, a love for One Direction, and we all were in a way just normal. We weren't totally alienated and we didn't totally fit in. Our group was diverse and filled with laughter.
For once I actually liked being different.
Senior year was uneventful and it was then that I became okay with who I was. I made friends with a Danish foreign exchange student and I made another close friend that I slowly began to trust more than anyone. I didn't really let popularity get to me. I didn't need a ladder to climb and I didn't need a food chain to be a part of. I was okay with being me. My friends from junior year carried onto senior year and the longest journey seemed to be over.
College was the literal turning point for me in so many ways.
I walked into a college with amazing friends back home and as a commuter I saw no point in befriending anyone. You're probably wondering how is that a turning point? Well I didn't try to make friends, it just happened. One day I was somewhat early to class and sat in between Kim and Maria. I began to become fully happy with who I was and this has led me into the most amazing and transforming phase in my life. I love who I'm becoming. I love the people I surround myself with and the constant laughter provided through much needed times. College is the point in life where you learn to embrace your differences and find people who are just as different and if not even more different than you are.