Back in my elementary school you had the popular kids, the not popular kids, and the kids who didn’t care which group they were in. I was in the unpopular kid group. Not to say that I was a complete loser. I just didn’t have a lot of confidence back then. I was unhappy where I was and tried multiple times to be accepted into the popular circles. Our playground field was a sort of meeting place for the cool kids. The popular kid society consisted of two or three smaller groups which flocked around one ultra being, the idol of the pack. The “in” kids really didn’t do much other than talk and try to impress everyone else with random cartwheels and bridges. Once, I approached one of these flocks and shyly asked, “Can I play?” The head kid immediately said no, they were busy, and pointed across the field to another group, telling me to try asking them instead. So I went to the other group across the way and asked the same question: “Can I play?” It was
the same reply: nope. They were doing something that they couldn’t include me in. And I was sent over to another group, then another. After going around in one gigantic circle, being rejected all along the way, I did the only thing I could do. I sat down right in the middle of the green, and cried.
You’d think I’d give up, but I was determined to be noticed. I tried talking to them, though that always ended miserably because I couldn’t get their “twang” with words and why they were talking about bras when we weren’t even old enough to wear them. I tried a few of those cartwheels and bridges they were displaying, but I kept falling on my head and embarrassing myself even further. I really wasn’t athletic in the third grade. I even practiced those dumb cheers that they make up on the fly. To tell the truth, I really did not want to sing and act out how I can’t “do my thing” because my clothes are too tight, or about how when my momma walks down the street, the boys would honk their car horn at her. Yeah, it was really humiliating. Years of making a fool of myself later, I was out of elementary and middle school and ready to start with a clean slate. It was a lot easier for me to make friends since I wasn’t so picky. I stopped trying to imitate the stacked, the bold and the beautiful. And with that realization, I became me. I didn’t have to win friends. They came to me. Actually, I still had to get over being the shy quiet type of girl who would blend in the background. One ordinary day, this totally awesome person still found me (Actually, she sat next to me.) and we just hit off. She introduced me to all her friends, and I couldn’t have been happier. It’s been nearly three years since then and now I truly feel a like part of the circle. I didn’t have to pull any fancy stunt, nor did I have to bleach my hair. My friends are the best because they accept me for who I am. I don’t need to change to earn true friends. I just had to realize that I had the ability to do it inside myself all along. For every kid who thinks that they can’t gain another person’s attention because they are “not good enough,” than stop it. I believe that you can find the people you are meant to be with. They will believe in you too if you will only show your true colors. You’ll dazzle them all!
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.