While growing up I was the dorky one in the classroom. The one no one liked. The one everyone bullied. The one who always ate alone at the lunch tables. The one the teacher had a hard time understanding. I never got along with my peers, and reflecting back, I was a weird kid. In the end, I think I’m a better person because of it. Don’t get me wrong, if I could have made myself a somewhat normal kid I would have gladly done so. But I learned a lot from being a loser.
I don’t think I really stopped being a loser until my early 20’s and even though I am married to a wonderful wife, I still, at times, feel like a loser. While growing up I had a very difficult time getting along with others. Not that I didn’t want to, I just couldn’t figure out how to. This helped insure that I spent much of my time walking around the playground trying to stay busy so not to think of being alone. There was something about walking that took my mind off my sad affair. I remember going to lunch and trying to eat as fast as possible so other children would have less of a chance to see me eating alone. After wolfing down the tater tots I would go find a place on the playground where only a wandering eye could see me. I had such difficulty with others that I even got suspended once for it. Another girl on the playground mistook what I said and living in “politically correct” California in the early 90’s the teachers did too. How can a nine year old say anything that would warrant suspension? Looking back makes me cringe because, in reality, I was suspended for being misunderstood. Middle and high school were much worse, but they are too complex and painful to speak of. What sums up my education best is that from the first day I ever attended school till the last I never ate once with someone at a school lunch table.
After high school I left home to be a missionary for two years. Those two years of dedication taught me how to “play well with others.” During those two years I lived with numerous strangers and had to interact in many difficult situations. At times it was a personal hell but I learned how to interact. My mission helped me to see that because of the experiences I had while growing up I was able to understand many of the problems that others are going through, and more importantly, make me want to help. That’s why I am becoming a Social Worker. I’m compassionate, loving, understanding, and concerned with helping others now because not many were any of these with me. I became an empathetic person as an adult because I was a loser as a child. I believe I’m better for it.
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