Growing up, I was the only kid in my school to have parents that were divorced. As charming a child as I was (cough, cough), that fact carried a certain social stigma. As all seventh grade girls (it was so long ago that we didn’t have jr. hi.), I wanted desperately to fit in and belong to the popular “clique.” Since there were parents that wouldn’t let their children play with me because of the divorce, for a while I would do anything to belong. So when one of the popular girls called and said that we were all going to wear dark skirts and white shirts to school the next day, I was all in. It didn’t phase me that no one was going to tell the “new” girl and she would be left out. I had been included! It was all about me.
The next morning I was uncomfortable as I put on my dark skirt and white shirt. But it didn’t stop me. I became more uncomfortable on the bus ride. And finally I was horrified as I saw her face when she realized what was going on. She was an outcast. I had participated in making someone else feel the way I felt a lot of the time…on the outside looking in. What had I done????
It was a pivotal moment for me. I can point to it and say “That changed my life.” I sold my soul just to fit in and at the expense of someone else. I still feel shame when I think of it. I rummaged through my stuff, put on a sweater, and buttoned it up so as little of my white shirt as possible could be seen. I couldn’t wait for the day to be over so I could go home and change out of those awful cloths.
That incident solidified something in my character. Nothing was worth being accepted if it hurt someone else. The next time something like that came up, I was strong enough to say I wasn’t interested. I had sealed my social status fate. I was okay with that…still am.
I don’t know what it did to her. We never talked about it. I might have apologized at the time, but I don’t remember. If I did, I’m sure that it had little to no impact. We all went on with life and spent the next five years together through eighth grade and high school. I continued to be on the outside looking in, but I liked the view better from where I was. I didn’t feel the pressure to do anything I didn’t want to do just to belong…still don’t. I stuck up for kids that others picked on and have continued to champion against mean girls.
So if for some reason CF you are reading this little blog, I apologize for hurting you, but know that some good came out of it.
Comments are always welcome…