Monday, October 11, 2010

...I don't get it.

Understanding the world around me can be really hard for me sometimes. Social rules, especially, really perplex me. Growing up, I didn't really fit in at all because I didn't understand why other girls did the things they did. I didn't even have a crush on a boy until seventh grade - and he was a video game character - so I couldn't even talk to them about that. They matured faster than I did.

I was definitely a tomboy as a kid (and still arguably am, if that term applies to adults these days). I grew up playing with boys because most of the girls around me didn't know why I liked dinosaurs and cars and astronomy and why I didn't want to play house with them or why I didn't want to pretend to be a mother to a doll. To be frank, I didn't need a doll - I had a kid brother to help take care of in real life, and I've never been in a state of cat-lessness before, so I had them to raise.

Middle school and I didn't get along too well. I was basically ostracized for being different, and a lot of kids teased me (and went so far as to call me ugly in some cases). That, forever, will be something I never understand. I was a nerd, definitely, and I was really smart and could memorize information after hearing it only once. But I couldn't fit in, so I was tossed aside and mocked for not being like the others.

I don't think I ever regained my confidence fully after middle school. I was made fun of in high school, too, but to a much lesser degree, but it got to the point where I started wearing my headphones in between classes just in case someone decided to try to be mean to me. I think the worst part was that no other students ever stood up for me.

I'm twenty-one years old now, and I'm a lot more confident than I was my first year here in college (I'm a senior now), but there's still some reservations I have about myself. I still don't think I'm the type of girl guys like to date, I still get closed off in public because I'm afraid of being automatically disliked for being myself, and I'm still reluctant to socialize with people who aren't really similar to me. It just...I don't feel comfortable with it because of all that teasing.

I've been thinking about this a lot more lately because Tyler Clementi was a graduate of my alma mater, Ridgewood High School. The more that poor, innocent boy crosses my mind, the more I wonder if that could have been me. Tyler was gay. I'm mildly autistic. We both were made fun of for things that weren't our fault - they were just part of who we were (and are).

I may not understand why people are so scared of people who are different from themselves, but what I do understand is that what makes us different is also what makes us individuals. If someone's making fun of you, make sure you let people know - nobody should be allowed to do that to you. It's not fair to you, and it shows how insecure they are as people, since if you have to boost your own self-esteem by knocking down someone else's, you must not be a confident person.

Nobody deserves that.

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