I believe in the middle

Jennifer Lee - Charlotte, North Carolina
Entered on September 22, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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When I was in the eighth grade, I was, amazingly enough, in the “popular” clique at my middle school. There were twelve of us, all working on being the best of the best while already higher than the rest. I was a recent member of this group. I didn’t know all the rules. A girl named Katie started verbally and mentally abusing me. My job, though I was unaware of it, was to ignore this as best I could while still trying to be included in this group surrounding her. I was stoked when I was thought I was finally in the position to confront her. Of course, this happened on the walls of our myspace pages and instant messaging. My so-called-best-friend was over at Katie’s house at the time and immediately joined in the fight. She wasn’t on my side. Unable to respond to their hurtful comments without digging my hole deeper, I sat there crying to myself while they degraded my image to nothing. When I came to school that Monday, I was overlooked by all of those that I had considered my friends. This was not what I was expecting. I expected to be congratulated or at least recognized for standing tall and not bowing down to their level. Instead I was rejected.

I realized quickly that I would never be fully accepted into this popular group. Nor would I lay around in wait for an apology. Even though it was a blow to me at the moment I am sure now that I was never prepared to actually receive a high place in the social standings. I am a normal girl. I wake up late for school, I hang out with friends on weekends, and I often spend way too much time in the shower. I was not born to wear Abercrombie&Fitch since childbirth and I wasn’t born to be popular. So much of my life before high school had depended on being part of the “in-crowed”, being included. It’s such a relief to be able to step back and see how ridiculous all the drama is in the first place.

Sometimes I just get the urge to do something completely random. At the mall I talk to people on opposite escalators and I always feel a little happier when they talk back. There is a liberating feeling to being unattached to popularity. People are more accepting if there is nothing to compare you to. My friends and I often go the most expensive mall in charlotte just to jump out at customers from behind corners and make awkward scenes in stores. There is a freedom to it that could not be achieved if how I looked was an issue. The middle is the goal. This I believe.