Struggle to fit in

Struggle+to+fit+in

Photo by Hannah Patterson

Story by Sydney Schoen, Staff Writer

I looked in the mirror and winced. The new outfit, bought entirely from Hollister, wasn’t working the same magic on me as it did on the other kids at school. I closed my eyes tight, pursed my lips, and prayed that when I opened my eyes, my idea of beauty would be staring back. I looked in the mirror a second time. No change.

Movies have always portrayed popularity as someone’s outward appearance, not how someone acts. We are all fed images of size 0 heroines who always seem to have the perfect clothes. All of the popular kids seemed to have walked right off of one of the sets. I thought that to be cool, to be accepted, meant that I had to look exactly like them. I still wasn’t a part of the “elite”, however, by just dressing the part. I was eleven, and my self-confidence was at an all time low.

The first time I recall trying to move up on the social ladder, I was in kindergarten. There were three levels to the hierarchy. At the top were the fastest runners, next came the kids with no front teeth, and at the bottom were those whose only talent consisted of being able to color inside the lines, if even that. I was in the group of the latter. My cool, new Sketchers didn’t hold up to their promise of cheetah-like speed, and my teeth seemed cemented to my gums. Losing a tooth seemed more plausible though, and so I lied about it. I conjured up some story about the dentist having to pull one of my molars. I told everyone my mouth was too sore to open wide, and everyone bought it.

As small of an issue that it was, it was a pattern that I began to fall into. I would lie to my “friends”, let them cheat off of me, anything in my grasp that I thought would make them like me more.  I had to be one of them, or so I thought.

Eighth grade. It was a big year for me. I had seniority over the rest of the middle school, and I also had an epiphany. I came to the realization that I could never be the coolest. No one ever is. There’s always someone more popular. This revelation allowed me to venture out, to stop limiting myself to what I thought I was supposed to be doing, and thus allowing me to do what I was actually interested in.

Being cool is a relatively loose term, and should be defined by you, and only you. In the grand scheme of things, friends don’t always last forever. You grow apart, grow up, etc. Whatever the reason, you shouldn’t confine what you like and how you act to who you hang around, or who you wish to hang around. Be different, all the cool kids wish they could be doing it.