Trying To Fit In

1 Jul
Skate-jumper

Skate-jumper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In response to yesterday’s post, I realised that some of you may wonder just what qualifies me to determine that being normal is boring or that being different makes you happier. I’m not in any way an expert on the subject, nor have I scoured through various resources for research. No, I am simply stating this from my own experiences as well as those of the people I know and I welcome any arguments or criticisms because the purpose of this blog is also for some healthy debate and discussion.

In order for you to relate to my idea that being yourself makes you happier, I will use my own experience as an example and hopefully it will help you understand where I’m coming from.

I was never a girly girl who played with Barbie dolls or had tea parties. I was more of a tomboy who would pretend to be a Power Ranger, run around playing all kinds of sports and games with the neighbourhood kids and just general rough housing. I didn’t care much for wearing pretty dresses or worrying about my nails. Around the age of 12, I took up skateboarding only because I started to get bored with roller blades. Skateboarding at the time was the ‘in’ thing to do and looked to be a lot of fun. So everyday after school, I used to hang out with the boys from my neighbourhood, some popping wheelies on their bikes while the rest of us attempted tricks with our boards.

Only one other girl used to hang out with us at the time but she preferred her ride around on her bicycle. The other girls would often give me strange looks as if I were some alien from out of space. I knew from their whispers to one another and their judgmental looks that they were judging me for not being like them, sitting in the sidelines admiring their hair and gossiping about boys. They soon started treating me as being an outsider, a pariah, even though I was fitting in fine with the boys. What it all boiled down to was the fact that I was different and they were afraid of difference. I, personally, like to believe that they were afraid of the fact that I was getting all the attention and not them.

The looks and whispers continued that entire school year and needless to say, it made me question myself. Why was I different? Why couldn’t I fit in with those girls? Why didn’t they like me? With those questions constantly invading my mind, I decided to change, to be like those girls just so that I could finally be liked. I stopped skating and started getting involved with the gossip on boys, forcing myself to keep up to date with the latest male teen that all the girls were into, just so I could fit in.  At that age, I was still a little immature and was far from ready to start thinking about boys.

I not only stopped skating and playing sports but I also tried changing the way I dressed, in keeping with what most of the other girls were wearing. That didn’t quite work out. I ended up feeling worse about myself and criticised myself on a daily basis. Everything  about me was wrong and I longed for the time when I was just happy. Happy doing what I enjoyed, happy being however I chose to be.

There’s a whole lot more to it than just that, but I’ll leave it for another post. The message I’m trying to get across from this story is that I enjoyed being around the boys and just doing what made me happy. Who knows? Maybe if I’d continued to skate and hang out after school with the neighbourhood boys, I may have ended up in a relationship with one of them, as teens these days do. Instead, by wanting to fit in with what those girls perceived was ‘normal’, I put my focus solely on pleasing them and wanting to be like them which, in retrospect, was one of the worst decisions of my life because I ended up being miserable and spent most of my time alone.

The end result of it all is that I haven’t gone back to skateboarding since. Not so much because I’m afraid of not fitting in but more due to the fact that I’ve outgrown it and am a little apprehensive of injuring myself.

Have you ever put something on hold or tried to hide it in attempt to get others to like you?

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