Monday, August 8, 2011

All About Growing Up

I have been writing a lot lately, maybe not here but I definitely have been writing. I've been working through some parts of my personal history, revisiting times in my life that were hard or hurtful.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about my junior high (grades 7-9) experiences.

The writing started off on the negative sides of school. Bullying, and the likes. But as I look deeply now, many of those things seem so small. I was teased, for sure, but there was never any physical threat. The main group of students that were hard on me were all nice when it was a one on one situation.  It was hard for me to understand why anyone would let others tell them who they could like or not. This one group was about 20 students, all of which treated me well one on one.  When I flipped out at lunch one day and called them on it as a group, they all just simply stopped talking to me at all. I suppose this was a blessing, the polite conversations stopped but so did the rude remarks. (I tend to bite my tongue until I just can't take it. So when I speak my mind, EVERYBODY has to hear it)

The parts of me that were most criticized, were things I couldn't control. My clothes, hair, money and other stupid things.  We didn't have the money to buy new flashy expensive clothes, so I wore what was comfortable and when I got something new, I just loved it no matter where it came from. My discount department store new stuff was so much better than their hundred+ dollar shirts.

I've been digging a bit deeper into personality traits, and analyzing some of my own thoughts and actions as I get older. I've come to realize that my need to be a better person has always been there. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind at that teenage time, I knew that "they" were dumb. I knew that there were more important things in life that clothes and money. I knew that the friends I kept were friends because they were supportive and caring, not because they shopped where I shopped. I hoped that some of 'those people' would wake up and see that they were focusing on the wrong things in life.

I always felt ignored, lost in a sea of people I could never compete with. But truthfully, I never wanted to. I hated the thought of what would happen to me if I did fit in with them. Maybe I would wear the same things or could afford the same things, but I really don't think I would have.  I never begged my mother to buy me that brand name sweatshirt so they would leave me alone. I was tearful and afraid, yes, but never ever trying to become them.

I had an image float through my mind last night. It was me, back in that school, back with those people. Standing well dressed for half the price in the hallways where people used to brush by me without notice.  I had thought, years ago, that no one liked me. I had decided, years ago, that I hated all of them. It was easier for me to control this situation. They didn't like me because I didn't want them to.

Then it hit me, like a rush of emotions, I am still the same person now. I never really 'hated' them, but I sure didn't want to be around them. I wanted more for myself, I was better than that. I could see what was important when they couldn't.

I am still the same person. I am still very selective when it comes to making friends. I have a hard to reaching out. I have a hard time opening up. But when I do, it's often a rush of everything. I have friends who know everything about me. I have a limited number of 'acquaintances' and a lot of people I just don't even want to try to know.  I hesitate to trust anyone. I calculate the number of ways things can go wrong. I worry about telling the whole story to anyone, just in case they judge me for it or find a way to use it against me.

When I open up, when I finally feel trust and respect for someone, I am fully prepared to share everything. I always strive to be more than I am. I try every day to find a better way to do things. And I shelter myself from people who have their own agendas. 

The pain that I felt in Junior High, wasn't caused by other kids, it was my own personal protection program.  I'm extremely grateful everyday that I didn't fit in. I wasn't like them then, and I'm not like them now.  The dark side of me enjoys that several of those girls didn't finish high school because they became mommies, and it loves that the skinny girls are all bigger than me now. (And I've had three kids!!)

I'm not a 'fashionista.' I'm hardly 'girly' except when I'm playing dressup with my little Angel Baby.  I don't have high material needs.  I focus on the things that are important. Like making sure the needs of my family are met and building strong children. 

When I was 13, 14, 15, I thought I was losing my mind. But I think...
I just may have had it all right then too.

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