I have no right to feel like I don’t belong, because in all aspects because of my privilege, I should belong. I am white, heterosexual, relatively gender conforming, so what do I have to say I don’t belong about?
This morning Chris and I were talking about Kari. She’s smart, funny, and an all around great kid, but this is why she has trouble fitting in. She won’t alienate the other kids who want to play. She doesn’t like games where kids have to do dares to be allowed to play. I worry for her.
I worry for her for a very real reason. I too didn’t fit in. I moved to St. Louis in the fourth grade. I was gifted, but not Star-Trek-quoting gifted, just regular gifted, so I didn’t fit in with them either. I was quickly the butt of every joke of the classroom bully and received loads of sneers from the popular girls, year after year. I didn’t have any friends, then I did in sixth and seventh grade, then a new bully arrived, and my friends left me for her since I “couldn’t get along with her.” I was so hurt I swore of trying to make friends and closed myself in, dedicating myself to academics. I graduated in the top 10 of my high school class of over 400. But I was lonely. I started college early at 15, and it was there I found friends, but those were fleeting. I think I was more of a novelty to them than anything. Even at work I wouldn’t fit in sometimes, and I read that as more my fault than the fault of others not being comfortable with me (always trying to do my best, ambition, integrity). I found I fit in the best when I was so burned out at my last job, which is sad to think about. I’m learning though. And sadly it’s taken me until my 30s to realize that not all social “situations” are caused by something I did. 🙂
I am really trying to not sound like a pity party here, but I’m stumped. I am struggling to find the solution to this, for Kari’s sake, so I can save my mini-me, our ‘Sheldon’ (read: The Big Bang Theory) from the heartbreak I so painfully experienced.
I am honest. I don’t gossip. I’m trustworthy, a hard worker, smart. I believe in true equality. I am a feminist. All these things alienate me, but why? I won’t change the good in me to be accepted by those who want less.
What I really feel: Be the good in you. Don’t change. Although it might not be where you are right now, and it can feel pretty damn lonely sometimes, somewhere you already belong. But to a pre-teen, that’s hard. I think it’s hard at any age.