Do you ever feel like you are on the outside looking in? Have you ever felt alone when everyone’s laughing at something that you don’t find funny? Do you ever feel out of place, even in places you’ve been to a million times?
Well, you’re not alone. I’ve felt this way since elementary school.
Now, while I’ve felt different for a great majority of my life, I’ve only felt frustrated by it a few times. I can clearly remember the first time in my life that I ever realized that I was different than my peers. I was sitting in Mrs. Richardson’s music class in first grade. She was absent that day, so the substitute teacher put on a children’s musical film. Even though I can’t remember the film exactly, I remember everyone laughing at it around me. My classmates couldn’t get enough of this one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater…they were doubled over, cracking up, and had their eyes glued to the screen.
I was sitting on the carpet, not looking at the screen, but around at my peers. Why are they all laughing? Why am I not laughing? I didn’t think the movie was funny at all. And after I got off the school bus that day, I remember telling my mom, “I don’t think things are funny that all the other kids do. Why is that?”
She told me it was because of a big word — maturity. We both knew that I was different from the other kids, but what I saw as something possibly wrong with me and my little kid mind, my mom saw as a unique quality. I’m still working on seeing it as such.
Because here’s the thing: being mature and thoughtful isn’t heavily welcomed in high school. In the classroom, sure! But at the Friday night football games? Not so much. I’m no longer in my first-grade music class, I’m in my twelfth grade graduating class. And not much has changed. I still don’t laugh at what everyone else laughs at, I don’t wear what everyone else wears, and I certainly don’t enjoy all of the activities that my peers do. Okay, so I’m not at home sewing pillows every Friday night. But, many times, I’d rather be at home reading my book with a cup of tea than out. I’d rather hang out with my mom than people my age. I’ve never been to a high school party, and even when I’m with people, sometimes it feels like I’m looking at things from a different perspective. An older perspective.
And sometimes that feels wrong of me, like maybe I’m missing out on the whole “high school experience.” But I’m done trying to force it. I’m learning what I like and don’t like, and I don’t have to add or change that list if I don’t want to (this means I won’t have one single ounce of guilt about staying in and reading When Calls the Heart and drinking vanilla comoro tea. Try it sometime 😍) Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for you getting outside of your comfort zone. You will grow to new heights when you try new things. But I’m learning to accept my comfort zone for the beautiful delight it is.
I turned 18 yesterday, and this new age begins a brand new journey. This year, I’m going to learn to accept my uniqueness and the way God’s wired me. It’s all beautiful when you see it through His eyes. So if you feel alone, or if you’ve felt different for a long time like me, or you feel like you’re changing and you just don’t fit in, don’t fret. You are made this way for a reason. Decide today that you will stop trying to fit a mold. Just run out all over that mold. Because God doesn’t make mistakes, and the sooner we start embracing the things that make us different, the sooner He can show us why He made us so beautifully and uniquely different.