I don’t know where I belong in life. I don’t fit in. I’m different. I’m too smart. I’m weird. I’m off-putting to people.
These are all things that I have said, been told, or thought in my 28 years on this planet. I am not sure why, but a former friend of mine put it in a way that I understood when I was in my early 20s: I’m an alien. And now, looking inwardly and outwardly at the “friends” I’ve had I completely comprehend what he meant: I don’t belong. I’m not from anywhere, really.
I was born in Georgia and moved when I was 2 years old, raised in another southern state, and moved (admittedly I was happy when this happened 12 years ago) to another southern state when I was 16.
I grew up in a stereotypical southern town where being outside the status quo was not appreciated and I caught onto that at a young age. The classification of where you were in life starts at a young age. By kindergarten, I knew my lot in life: too smart to be allowed but never going to skip a grade nor would I be able to transfer to a different school. I was stuck.
I came to my elementary school on the first day in 1994, already know how to read, write, my colors, numbers, shapes, etc. By the time I was 5, I felt that Sesame Street was beneath me.
I was the first person in my school system to be in the gifted program when I was in first grade. This honour (or curse, depending on how you look at it) was usually bestowed upon you when you entered second grade, but again, I had to be different. I was reading at a 7th grade level by then.
The “Gifted” program was both a blessing and a hindrance to my social growth. I say this because it was amazing being able to do, study, and read whatever I wanted; however, being from a small town, my family outsiders because we were not from that city, it was not easy to relate to other children my age because I wanted to talk about Shakespeare and they wanted to talk about whatever-the-fuck cartoon was popular at the time. I couldn’t relate to my peers. I could, however, relate to my mother’s high school students though, and I did.
I have always flirted with the line of being too mature for my age and yet hopelessly gullible. While I fully grasped the academic view her students had, I was not mentally ready for the seemingly adult world they were in. To spare the horrible details, this later in life put me in situations that I was NOT ready to deal with and ultimately blocked out until I was much older.
To return: elementary school was an odd time. Being that I moved to that city when I was two years old, raised there and attended the public education there, I still did not fit in. I was a faster learner than my fellow classmates, was in gifted, and had an overwhelming sense of boredom when it came to actual classroom studies. I was a good student, but I would finishly quickly and this become VERY bored and want to do my own thing: reading a book, drawing, or talking to other classmates. I didn’t see that this was a problem, but thankfully, being in the gifted class, I was able to leave the classroom for an hour or so a day and be allowed to be..well..myself–something I feel that my teachers and classmates couldn’t quite understand.
Jumping forward to the most awkward time of any young person’s life: middle school (or junior high). HORMONES, ANGST, WEIRD BODILY CHANGES, and for me, the worst part of all of that: no gifted classes. I was thrown from my cocoon of weird safety into the masses. I had to actually interact with my classsmates in “honors classes”, which were really just over-glorified classes that your parents signed you up for to make your schedule seem impressive.
Again, I must remind you, that I may have been in gifted but I did have my own classification of friends: the smart kids. The ones with ADD, the ones who always scored highly in tests, the ones who didn’t fit the mold of our city’s way of doing things. Looking back, however, with the mixture of middle school in general, wanting to fit in, and not knowing to really be around my peers in that kind of setting, I panicked.
The Smart Kids would keep to our group, knowing that if we ever dared venturing over to the popular crowd we’d be met with humiliation. And yet, I felt like a guest, an outsider, in my own social group. I didn’t feel like I was truly one of them.
High school came and those feelings lasted. We added few to our group, yet we were all in the same classes–admittedly some chose art over band–but we still carried on together. I still couldn’t shake the feeling like I didn’t belong. High school is where I first needed and took a “mental health day”, and my mother weirdly agreed to let my stay home and decompress. I did not realize how important this was at the time.
My freshman year was not anything exciting, but by sophomore year, things picked up. My small group of weirdos seemed to become distant from me, some popular boys were noticing me–this I found very confusing and gross–and I found out I was moving further south, to a different state, at the end of the year.
You’d think my friends would rally together and want to spend more time as a group, but that simply was not the case. This group that I had called my home decided to shun me, turning towards cattiness and jealousy that I was leaving, and acting more heartbroken that mother wouldn’t be teaching them anymore. Me, however, they could care less about and they showed it.
**it must be know that throughout all of this, I tried to maintain a good attitude. I was used to playing by myself, I was used to spending hours lost in books and movies, I never went to any parties, I was fine with spending hours at play rehearsal and working on the school newspaper. I was not ok with never being invited anywhere and treated like an afterthought on most things. I also didn’t understand how friends whom I had known since we were 5 or 6 suddenly didn’t want me around anymore..**
And then I moved. My first day of junior year at a brand new high school in a new city, in a new state! I was extremely nervous but had high hopes—all of which were shattered within the first 3 classes of my first day. No one spoke to me, interacted with me, or even looked at me. Junior year was off to a great start, until I met some kind and welcoming seniors. One especially grew to become my best friend and we stayed friends until years after high school. I thought I had finally found a niche in life. A friend who understood my “weirdness”. I was right…..and I was wrong.
19 years old- 23 years old is a big mush of drinking, sex, drugs, parties, and maybe attending college classes when it fit in my schedule. My friend from high school and I were tighter than ever and rarely did you see one without the other. But like all good parties, it eventually ends…and sometimes not for the best. She won’t even acknowledge my existence if we happen to be in the same place and it is still my fault for everything that happened to her in those 4 years…. yes, like it was my fault you broke your foot because some guy you tried to fuck didn’t walk you to the street after he kicked you out? I never told you to leave with him… I merely said, “you should flirt with someone because your boyfriend dumped you”. End of sooo many other bullshit stories.
Enter new friends. A breath of fresh air and what I thought was a good start over point for me. These girls seemed motivated, fun-loving, and better friends than what my high school bff and I were devolving into. I started spending time with them and my old bff eventually ditched me to live like 19 year old street urchin when she was pushing 27.
I spent, in total, 6 years with these girls. 4 years being, what I thought, best friends with one of them–especially after HER bff moved to South Korea to teach English. This of course was a fucking sham, but she played her part well. So much so that I was really convinced that we’d stay friends even said BFF returned. I trusted this feeling, and asked this girl AND her sister to be bridesmaids at my wedding. I AM A FUCKING IDIOT.
And here I am, 28 years old, half drunkenly blogging at 3am, wth dried tears on my face because I am pouring my heart onto a blog post about never really knowing friendship. How fucking sad is that?
I just want to know what it’s like to have someone “get” you. To have someone who is interested in the same things as you, offers a challenge of opinion but still loves you, and not once makes you feel like you don’t belong. Yes, I have a husband who meets ALL of that criteria, and that’s why I married him, but I truly don’t know what it’s like to have a real friend. I’ve been alone for so long now, that I’m starting accept what someone told me long ago: I am an alien and I will never make sense.