Being Myself

Allison - Red Lion, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 1, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in being me.

I was a huge tomboy in elementary school. And I clearly remember how strange that was to all the other girls. The guys didn’t care, since I kicked a mean soccer ball, but I was always aware of the catty glares boring holes in my back as I traipsed around in sweats and a Nike headband every day.

I remember my best friend used to tell me what the other girls said behind my back. I remember my sister calling me her ‘cousin’ or ‘step-sister’ to others, because I was ‘weird’ and ‘embarrassing.’ I remember being confused as to why I was ignored by many social circles. ‘Weird,’ was a word I heard often, never in a positive way. As a result, I grew very insecure with myself. So I changed.

In junior high I abandoned the sporty clothes for more feminine ones, I changed the music I listened to, incorporated ‘like’ and ‘dude’ as every second word in my vocabulary, and any interests of mine that might be considered abnormal, I hid from my friends and family. I tried to act like every other stereotypical ‘normal’ girl my age for two years. And for once, some of those ‘normal’ girls befriended me.

I was miserable.

All throughout my junior high years, I kept up with the trends, and tried to fit in. But even if those girls and other kids liked me for who I was then, they weren’t actually accepting me. I was still the comic book reading sport-a-holic with an explosive temper and an odd fondness for the musical CATS. Even if I acted like everyone else, I was still me under the American-Eagle clothes and constant use of the word ‘whatever.’

The change back into me was one that lasted most of my freshman year of high school. I lost friends, who were never really friends at all, and the weirded-out stares and rude comments were slung once again. But this time was different.

Now, I am always myself. I will never abandon my beliefs or interests for fear of being shunned by my peers. I will never hide aspects of my personality because they aren’t ‘normal’ and I walk, talk, and dress the way that best suits me, and who I know I am. Those who like me for me I keep close, and the rest are at an arm’s length or more. For I believe I am normal through my differences, and in being honestly, proudly, and genuinely me, no matter how others may scoff and sneer.

I believe in never being afraid to show my true colors, even if the effect is like black across a rainbow. Because no matter how different or weird I am in the judging eyes of my peers, I am me. And all the pretending and striving to be like everyone else is quite simply…‘whatever.’