Out of the In-Crowd
I often feel like I’m “not good enough”. I tell someone I got an A on my math test, they ask me why I don’t get A’s every time. I feel like I went the extra mile, I find out I fell short. But I also feel I’m not “good enough” for other people. Something I haven’t thought about in a long time, but have recently been reminded of, is that I am a part of everything, but a part of nothing.
I realize that doesn’t make much sense at first glance. Let me explain.
In high school, I was really involved. My common app was full, my days were busy, I was constantly choosing between commitments. TACH step or ASB step? Jump rope or work? Morning practice, dance set up, or Rose Court interviews? I had a lot of talents and passions I was constantly pursuing; I was always grateful for those opportunities. I was a part of everything I could join and I put my name on every project I was able to.
But, in a way, I was also a part of nothing.
As I’ve mentioned before, growing up, I felt different. I felt isolated, alone, and those other words I hate so much, unique and quirky. I didn’t understand why I was constantly referred to as those words, I always considered it was the nicest way of calling someone an outsider. Even to this day, people sometimes tell me they haven’t met anyone else like me. What does that mean?
In high school, I had a few friends in ASB who I really loved, but it always felt like everyone else was in this massive “popular” group that I was never really welcomed or invited into, even though I was reminded often of my “popularity”. I felt more like that within the senior class specifically, it was almost like there were two senior classes; the ones who were cool and accepted, and then me and one of my closer friends. While I could still talk and participate in our discussions, I felt like I was never missed if I wasn’t there or no one would care if I wasn’t in ASB at all. It didn’t matter if I had the second highest position, I didn’t feel needed or valued. It didn’t matter if I was on the Winter Formal court, I wasn’t cool enough to be on their party bus. It didn’t matter if I was most likely to win Miss America, won prettiest eyes, or had a feature about me in the yearbook, I was still not anyone’s friend and I constantly felt forgotten. A part of ASB, but not really.
In TACH I had a few more friends, I felt like I had a little bit more control in the group, and was always invited to sit with everyone, but I knew that a lot of them would go out together on the weekend, something I never did. I’m not sure if my feelings of isolation were always just in my head, but at points they were overwhelming. There were many, many moments when I would be on the outside of a circle and needed to force my way in, not really a part of it.
I think my most obvious examples of my feelings would be when I got to the final 25 for the 2016 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Royal Court. My situation was pretty much a metaphor for my life. I was number 220 of the 800 girls who tried out to be on the 2015-2016 Royal Court. I was a finalist, but not a princess and not the queen. I was apart of the elite group of 25 girls that was constantly reminded “it could be any of you”, “you’re all so successful and beautiful”, “you are exactly what they’re looking for”, but yet again, it wasn’t me. I could’ve been a part of the Rose Court, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t good enough to be apart of it.
If I’m being honest, I even feel out of my sorority sometimes. I was good enough to suicide bid and still become a new member, but I wasn’t good enough to make a lot of close friends or many deep connections. I always see the other girls go out to brunch with each other and take group pictures together, but even last week there was a moment when a girl in my pledge class didn’t know who I was. I wish it was different. There are so many girls who I know I could be close with, but I’m not feeling like a lot of them want to get to know me. I know this could all change with time, but it one of those things that I reflect about and think...could this really be happening to me again?
I think I’ve just recently realized that I’ve been trying to fit in my whole life. I always found myself on the outside of group pictures and I’m worried it could stay like that for a long time. I know I shouldn’t believe every worried thought I have since they’re notoriously inaccurate, but I’m starting to feel like this constant trend will always be with me. While I think acceptance is the key, I don’t think I could’ve ever been able to do that in my heart. Even to this day I still struggle with being out of the in-crowd and I’m sure I’ll be thinking about it my whole life. I’m starting to feel like it’s a piece of my personality.
When I look back on high school, I have great memories, but there are not many people from high school in my life who I would call friends. My last semester at LCHS, if you told me I’d feel this way in a year, I’d believe you, but I’d wish it wasn’t true. After putting so much time into everything I was a part of and loved, I really wanted something that would last out of it like friends for life. Instead, I have memories and t-shirts.