Ramblings from the sheltered


Story by Katherine Doan, Staff Writer

Sheltered. The state of being covered or protected. Synonymous with asylum, hidden, isolated. Unaware of the dangers of the outside world. Oblivious.
I’m not sure when I realized how sheltered I was. It may have been when I entered Texas Middle School sporting pigtails, a polo button up, and navy pants with whales embroidered on them. It may have been when I witnessed my first drug bust and didn’t understand why I couldn’t pet the officer’s dog. It may have been when, after being told that someone sold weed, I made the comment that I would rather sell flowers, such as tulips.
I don’t regret my sheltered past (and present), but it did cause some repercussions that I am still faced with everyday.

Sheltered Chapter One: St. James
I enjoyed my time at the small private day school. Mandatory uniforms prevented popularity based on appearance. I was praised for my Rapunzel-like hair, and the only association I had with makeup was dance recitals and physical torture. Although I was mildly abusive, I had a loud personality and a great group of buddies.

Sheltered Chapter Two: Morriss Elementary
Although I was only a student there for a year, it was crucial for my sheltered development. It was here I was freed from the hold of uniforms and my true (awkward yet adorable) personality began to shine through my clothing. I made friends with kids my age that were unlike any that I had met in my years of private school. I also saw a much stricter side to the educational system, instead of the more lax, learn-at-your-own-pace curriculum I had grown accustomed to. I began to enjoy school and developed a love for knowledge that previous years of education had failed to instill in me.

Sheltered Chapter Three: Texas Middle School
This may be the darkest chapter of my sheltered journey. I didn’t make the cheerleading team. I didn’t fit in with the petty popular crowd everyone else worshipped. I had emergency surgery and was hospitalized for a week. I was exceedingly self conscious and my self esteem plummeted. I was repeatedly accused of being Pentecostal because of my long hair, and I was so painfully shy I avoided making eye contact with anyone I hadn’t known since preschool. The only outlet that was open for success was school, and I became mildly obsessed with achieving perfection.

Sheltered Chapter Four: Texas High and beyond
It was in this sheltered and slightly awkward state that I entered high school. Drill team, newspaper, and student council made up for all the misery of middle school, and I began to become the average shy nerd who avoided any type of social interaction outside of school functions and study parties. My sheltered past has made me quiet and reserved, but my exposure to public schooling has made me very aware of my surroundings. I listen more, speak less, and I am sincerely trying to understand the nature of the average high schooler. Despite our differences in music preferences and life goals, I am beginning to connect with my peers. My small group of friends have tried to bring me out of my introverted shell and show me the wonders of the outside world. And I, in turn, have tried brought them into my sheltered sphere of late night Scrabble competitions and Phantom of the Opera marathons.
It’s in this awkward balance that I currently reside. In between knowing how to recite the Greek alphabet and not knowing how to begin a conversation. I hope that as I continue to observe and learn from my peers, I will become less socially awkward and, in a case of extreme need, willingly social.