I thought I was right to worry, for I was no regular girl. I was not one for make-up or nervous fits of giggles when boys went by, I didn’t look forward to the latest fashion magazines and shopping escapades. In fact the mall made me nauseous. Even when I was a young girl I traded playing with Barbies to getting muddy with Tonka trucks and Hot Wheel cars. I was all for hanging out with the guys, in jeans, climbing trees, cliffs and making tree houses, I was a girl who liked snakes, tadpoles and fishing down by the sea shore. Much to my mother’s dismay; she wanted to dress me in dresses and lacey things, which she succeeded in until I was about six or so when she gave up because I repeatedly came home with mud in the ruffles, and grass stains on my knees.
It was not that I didn’t like guys, it was that I didn’t feel like I had to spruce myself up into something I wasn’t in order to get unwanted attention. I thought the whole thing was rather silly really. Why would someone like me just because I looked a certain way or did certain things? Why would I be more valuable because I fit into a certain group and how that group’s status was looked upon? Who was making up these silly rules anyhow?
When I finally did get to junior high I quickly saw how things were divided down into subgroups, there were the Popular kids, Goths, Punks, Jocks, Metal heads, Skaters, and the Geeks. I had not come up with these names of course, it seems they were a sort of inferred social hierarchy handed down over the years by those who had come before us, those who had survived our plight of the lowly junior and lived on to the grand heights of becoming a senior.
Personally I didn’t think I fit into any of the said groups, and I was glad of the fact. I wanted to be different, a square peg in a round hole. I wanted to be hard to define, to stand out from the rest and to be trekking down an untrodden path. I decided to join groups that interested me rather then ones I was “supposed” to be interested in: The swim club, drama club, school newspaper, and the photography club.
Then I found my niche, which was when I became a peer helper in school and on the crisis line in my city. I had a knack for listening and being there for those who needed to unload their stories, those who needed a shoulder for a while. There were those who wanted guidance and those who didn’t. I was there for them regardless. I was listening to them no matter their social standing, skin color, or creed, but because of their simple need. I learnt a lot from the experience. I found out that no matter who we are, or where we come from, or what we think we know, we are all the same. We want to be loved and accepted for who we are, challenged at what we are good at, and cherished as individuals. So reach out for what you want, don’t be afraid of breaking through barriers just because someone has pegged you this way or that. You might just find another dimension to the person you are.