Social scenarios are not my forte. A crowded room of people is not a comfortable place for me. I find myself getting nervous, panicked, and clumsy in these settings. The thought of presenting myself to others in a manner that will lead them to like me is stressful. If you think about it, we all put this pressure on ourselves from time to time. It does not matter how old you are, the need to fit in survives decade after decade. Hell, I am 38 years old, and I still find myself around people that make me question my own worth. They have better houses or a better car, and I am left feeling inadequate and reaching for more. Looking sideways at the door, because I just want to run from the room and hide in my home. However, the people that I am feeling inferior to could care less about my home or car, and enjoy being around me. I am just too self conscious to see that. Being self conscious holds us back, and creates the atmosphere around us, causing us to feel like outsiders.
I see it happening with my youngest daughter. A group of friends that she has had for years, has now chosen to turn her into an outsider. They no longer invite her to do things, and relentlessly drag her down at school. My daughter would come home and tell me things they were saying to her, and I would quietly wish for this to blow over. My daughter has always lived outside of the box. She wears what she wants, no matter what the styles are. She is creative, imaginative, and fun to be around. Yet, it wasn’t until I saw it with my own eyes at a Christmas event at the school, that I fully felt what she dealt with on a daily basis from these girls. They were in their group, pointing and whispering at my daughter as we walked by. It did not matter to them that I, an adult, was right there, they still pursued my girl just to put her down. It’s ugly, and unfortunately something that has happened at schools for ages. However, it stings a bit more when you see it happening to your own child. My daughter looked away, but I stared all three of those girls right in their eyes with the meanest mom look I could give. One girl looked ashamed at what she had done, but she is following, just trying to fit in with the girls who were so quick to turn on my daughter. Now my daughter is trying to find where her place is in all of it. She feels like the outsider, claiming she no longer has friends. Outcasted by some, she is slowly making new friends, and I hope she finds her shine again.
My oldest daughter has always marched to the beat of her own drum. She does not cave in to the latest crazes, and does not sacrifice who she is just to fit in. I see in her too, that sense of a lost outsider as she moves about her school days. However, she has survived, and maintained her true self. Friends have come and gone, as everyone is trying to figure out where they belong. After all, that is what we are all trying to do in this life. She lets self doubt, and feeling of worthlessness creep in from time to time, but overcomes and perseveres. She asked if it was hard for me in high school, and I told her “I thought it was at the time. But looking back, I was never mistreated, and eventually found a place where I belonged.” It’s funny how, in the moment, I swore high school was plain awful, but now look back and see I was just fine.
In this life we are all outsiders looking for our home base. Circumstances are temporary, and self doubt can skew what reality looks like. We are like puzzle pieces, looking for our spot to make life’s picture whole. Cliques and groups are a necessary evil in life, but opening our eyes to the fact that we are all looking for our place, can soften our self doubt, and open the door for change. We do not have to be friends with everyone on this earth, but we should all work hard on getting along. Empathy for our fellow outsiders is crucial in promoting our own progression. After all, we are all standing outside of this life together just trying to get back in.