Isabel wrote a fantastic post today that really spoke to me. 

I have always felt a little bit on the outside of things.  Not a complete outcast, but definitely not part of the crowd either.  The older I get the more I discover it’s probably all in my head, but that doesn’t make it any easier. 

For just over seven years I was an only child.  Not just an only child, but an only granddaughter and niece as well.  As a result I spent a lot of time with adults.  I was extremely precocious.  My mom likes to say that I’ve always been at least 10 years older than my real age.  This makes it pretty hard to relate to other kids.  I became a teacher’s pet because I usually got along better with whoever was in charge.  I spent most of my growing up years with books.  I absolutely loved to read.  Plus, I never had to try and impress anyone that I was reading about.    

I grew up in a pretty small town where it’s hard to get people to change their perception of you.  I was usually pretty standoffish and shy but I think it was probably taken as me thinking I was better than everyone else.  Truthfully, I just didn’t know how to act around people my own age and it made me extremely nervous. 

I had a brush with being part of one of the more popular cliques during late junior high/early high school.  I have to admit that it did feel pretty awesome.  Then they started doing drugs and I was totally not interested.  I made the mistake of telling my parents that a few of them were outside smoking during a sleepover at my house.  I was always really open with my parents and they were (and are) pretty cool so I didn’t see the problem.  I knew my parents weren’t going to do anything.  The girls found out I had told on them and I was blacklisted.  I was pretty devastated, but looking back it was for the best.  

I was lucky to have a handful of fantastic friends and even a few boyfriends during the remainder of high school.  I certainly don’t look back at that as the worst time of my life, but I don’t know that it was the best either. 

I thought college would change everything.  I was determined to put myself out there.  I shocked my parents by introducing myself to complete strangers up and down my floor.  I was excited to meet my roommate, make new friends and really come into my own.  I had a rough time adjusting first semester, but I really hit my stride that spring. 

When I returned for my sophomore year I met J.  He was my first real relationship.  At first I handled having a boyfriend like I always had in the past.  I really tried to balance time with my friends and time with him.  Then I started seeing less and less of my friends.  J became everything.  I really lost my sense of self.  It was just easier to be around him and not have to work at other relationships. 

By the time J and I broke up midway through junior year I was lost.  I had completely distanced myself from my college friends.  I had opportunities to make new friends, but I didn’t take advantage of them.  I really regret that now.  The spring of my junior year was really gloomy.  I went to class, to work and spent most of the rest of the time in my room with the door closed.  I was back to where I had started with not knowing how to be around people. 

When The Tall One and I started dating we spent a lot of time with his friends.  I really wanted to get off on the right foot with the other girlfriends, but I knew pretty much right away that I wasn’t going to feel totally comfortable around them.  I was older than most of them and we had been in very different circles during school. 

I was also “that girl”.  The one that was so selfish to pay all of that money to go to a private school.  The one that left the small town.  The one that thought she was better (even though I really didn’t).  Now that we’ve been around each other more the tension has eased, but I still don’t feel like I’ve been brought into the fold.  I probably never will.  I just smile, ask questions and try to bring really good food to the potlucks. 

I love my friends.  They are amazing and I would not trade them for anything.  I’m starting to forge a deeper, more adult bond with my sister.  But I wish I could find someone that just totally gets me.  TTO is fantastic and I am completely myself with him, but he doesn’t care about what’s on Perez Hilton or pedicures or cute shoes.  I would love to have a go to girlfriend.  Someone I can e-mail back and forth from work all day.  A person that I can comiserate with when I feel like I just don’t fit.    

I’ve recently started to discover that a lot of what I thought I knew about myself just isn’t true.  I like to lead a lot more than I like to follow.  I want to be in charge.  I am not shy.  I like to be around people.  I have limited myself by doing only what I thought the group wanted to do.  It’s okay to be different.  I worry WAY too much about what other people think – and they probably aren’t thinking that anyway.  They’re too worried about their own crazy hair, ill-fitting clothes and shiny face.