Fitting in is tough. No matter how great of a person you are, it seems you never truly fit in. However, to the people that are around you, you are seen as one who fits in completely.
My daughter is going through this right now. She is a freshman in high school, and is mature beyond her years. She is strong willed, independent, and has a sense of who she wants to be. She is not athletic, she is in orchestra. She loves art and music, and she refuses to conform to the “norm” at school. She doesn’t wear name brand clothes, she prefers to shop at thrift stores. She actually hates it when I take her to a store to get something new. I am proud of her, beyond proud. I am always saying that she has an old soul, and that she is so much fun to have around. Sadly, the kids that “fit in” at school like to criticize her for what she wears and other things they can find to pick on her about. She was really sad after school today, and it makes me sad that these other kids care more about fitting in, than getting to know her at all. My heart hurts for her as I can picture what she goes through at school, and how she stands up for herself so well. She will make it through this. She will make friends that share her interests. It all just takes time.
I never fit in in high school. But, much like my daughter, I didn’t care. I was editor of the yearbook, and had my close circle of friends. That was all I needed. She will find that, too. It’s funny, because even now I find myself in situations where I am “left out.” For instance, my son plays football. He has played with the same boys on the same team for four years now. At practice, and at the games, I am usually sitting alone, or with one other family. Then there is a whole group of parents with boys on the team who always sit together. Always. Reminds me of high school, as there is no room for new people, and if I ever try to talk with one of them, it is awkward. One time I even saw one of the moms at the mall, and said hi to her. She looked me right in the eye, and turned and walked away. OK. Whatever. It doesn’t hurt like it used to. I grew up. I moved on from cliques and stereotypes. I don’t need to feel wanted, because the group of people I do call friends accept me for who I am, and are fun to be around. So, every year, at the end of the season, we are all excited when they win. Then don’t talk again until next Fall. And it’s okay.
I hope that my daughter will stay true to who she is. In the end, she will be so much happier, than if she had conformed, and been who she wasn’t. Some people quit valuing the stigma of “fitting in”, and they simply just be and live. She will find her spot in the world. And she will have the time when the not fitting in part doesn’t even matter anymore.