I always remember feeling like the odd duck, the different girl, the one who didn’t fit in. I was cursed (blessed?) with oily skin, prone to break outs. I was incredibly skinny…and awkward…and felt I didn’t fit in, in any of my groups.
I was homeschooled for my first few years, so I didn’t fit in with other school kids. I took gymnastics and my level on the Team was supposed to meet on Mondays and Wednesdays. I had youth group on Wednesdays, so I went on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the “older” girls. So I never felt I really fit in there either. When I did go to school, I went to a private school. My mom worked at the school to pay for my education. We weren’t rich, didn’t have a lot of money and I certainly didn’t dress the part of a private school girl. I got a lot of my clothes from garage sales, and even some hand-me-downs from other kids at our school.
During my private school years is when I found some great friendships, or so I thought. We would have slumber parties and celebrated birthdays and other milestones along the way. When we all went off to the public middle school, a lot of these friendships changed. I became the brunt of jokes, especially about my skin. I got called nicknames because of my size. I ate alone in the gym. These were the girls I had spent the last 5 years eating with every day, sharing top secrets, writing plays with, and now I was an outcast. How quickly things changed.
I still talk to a few of these girls, and you have to forgive and move on. But I don’t think I will ever forget the hurtful words. I only hope that I can teach my child (or children, if that happens) that friendships are to be valued. You don’t just throw a person away with your hurtful words, because that’s what everyone else is doing. Trust me, if I could have changed myself during middle school, I most definitely would have. No one wants to stick out in 7th grade. But now, I’m not so sure. It’s made me who I am. And for that, I’m proud.
I’ll most likely always be the odd duck. The crazy hippie mom who dreams of homeschooling and cloth diapers and co sleeping with tons of kids. But I wouldn’t be this person today if it weren’t for being the odd duck out growing up.