May 14, 2010

Odd Girl Out

by

Have you ever been part of something but didn’t ever feel that you belonged?  I have.  Well, actually, I do currently.  I have to tell you it’s a crappy feeling.  I feel that no matter how much I give it is never enough.  I feel that I try hard. But ‘they’ don’t care. I’m not one of them.  Never have been. Never will. That’s just how it is.  That’s how I feel.

I’m a grown up.  A 40-something grown up woman.  I shouldn’t be having this conversation with myself (or you), really.  I shouldn’t feel like I’m walking the halls of middle school hoping that ‘the popular girl’ will let me sit near her table at lunch. I’m too old for this drama.

Being ‘the new girl’ was always hard growing up.  I went to 5 or 6 elementary schools, I lost track.  I went to 4 junior high schools.  It’s only 2 years, but yes, I went to 4 schools.  One of those I went to for 3 days. You read right.  3 days.  (Thanks, mom!)  But I went and I tried to fit in.  And, for the most part I did.

As a blogger, sometimes I feel like the odd girl out.  Living in a virtual world presents a different dynamic when trying to get to know someone.  140 characters only takes your conversation so far.  What may be funny in person might not translate well in cyberland.  So we keep trying and reaching out in different ways. And for the most part it’s fine.

In real life, though, when face to face with other adults I expect a certain level of professionalism when working with others.  I’m not like the others in this group.  My family isn’t the homogenous Norman Rockwell painting that the others are.  And because of that assumptions are made.  Wrong assumptions, and I haven’t yet figured out how to politely tell people that not only are they wrong but they are offending me and my family.

I don’t send my child to ‘the right’ school, so I’m considered different.  As a matter of fact I homeschool so that makes me somehow less qualified to speak about educational issues.

I want to belong.  But I don’t want to stand up in front of the world and become a laughing stock when I am accepted.  I also don’t want to teach my daughter that it’s ok to feel like less of a person.  I am allowing this feeling to permeate my being.

It stops with me.  I say whether I belong.  I have a right to be part of the group I’ve been invited to be with.  I have a voice and my voice is just as important as anyone else.  Yet, I allow myself to feel bad and not speak up because I don’t want to make them feel bad for being jerks.

I matter.  I may not matter to everyone in the world, but I matter to me.  And I matter to my family.  And to my friends.  I also know that I matter to other people who are physically distant.  So why do I allow myself to be judged by someone else’s criteria of who or what I should be?

I want people to like me.  I think we all do.  We want to be acknowledged for who we are and what we do.  I understand that not everyone will like me.  But don’t treat me like I’m less than you.  I don’t deserve that.

Sara

{ 16 comments }

Briana May 14, 2010 at 8:35 am

Not sure what’s going on but sorry to hear you feel that way!! 🙁

Sara May 14, 2010 at 9:22 am

Briana,

Thank you for stopping by and commenting. This is more a reflection of my sitting back and watching others interact and also being treated as less simply because I’m seen as different. Different because I’m a woman, different because I homeschool, different because my husband is not the same color as ‘they’. It’s not really one thing, and I appreciate that you reached out. That shows me you connect and understand. Thank you!

Briana May 14, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I can see where you are coming from because I feel the same way sometimes but for different reasons. I don’t homeschool, I work outside of the home in addition to my blog, and I try to separate my religious beliefs on my blog!

Lisa May 14, 2010 at 8:35 am

What a very sensitive and thoughtful piece – being different after all is what makes life interesting! Standing up for what we believe is right and modeling behavior is where greatness begins! And just so you know, you always matter to me and you always “belong” with me too! Sending Big Hugs your way!!

Sara May 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

Lisa,

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment and thank you for the hugs and extraordinarily kind words. It’s always hard to hear people talk about wanting different people so more diverse decisions can be made but what it comes down to is that they want diversity b/c it looks good not because it is good. Thank you for my hugs!

Li May 14, 2010 at 9:21 am

Sara – I think we all feel that way sometimes. Wanting to belong is a very natural way to feel (very instinctual, I think). But you’re right, not everyone will like or accept us, and that’s ok. Its good to have these little chats w/ourselves. For what its worth, I think you contribute immensely in the blogger world & twitterverse. Forget the cool girls table -We can sit at our own cool girls table! 😉 did you ever see 13 going on 30? I think its very telling about how “high school” can be a perpetual state of being for some adults – don’t let the immaturity of others get you down. Just remember – YOU ROCK. And as long as YOU believe it, no one elses opinion matters. As Dr Seuss said, “There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

Hugs,
Li
Twitter.com/LaLicenciada

Sara May 14, 2010 at 9:49 am

Li,

Thank you for visiting and commenting. I LOVE Dr. Seuss, but you may have known that. I never say 13 going on 30, but I might just have to get it. My post wasn’t really about blogging/twitter but I’m sure it does apply as well. This week I was exposed to things that finally made me feel that no matter what I did that my ‘diversity’ and ‘unique style’ was no as appreciated as the words would imply. I witnessed men thinking that because a woman was a tough negotiator then it must be her husband putting her up to it. I sat as I listened to people say they should call a person’s husband so he could talk some sense in to his wife, even though she is the professional we are working with. And, as this post pertains to me, I had the realization that because I homeschool there are people who think I don’t do anything all day. And that because I don’t work in an office (even though I am a lawyer and I do still work) that my opinion is just that of a housewife. I thought that people would grow up, as I have. I guess not all do.

Again, thank you for your kindness and support. I will sit at your table any day!

Sara

TracyC May 14, 2010 at 10:30 am

Sara-
First off BIG HUGS. I know you, and I know your family. You belong whereever you want to be. Some people are so closed-minded they don’t get it. I often feel the way you do, even around some of my closest friends. I think it is just part of life to feel this way at times. That being said if you consistently feel this way in a certain group you have the right to speak up for yourself. YOU matter. YOU belong. You are a very bright, caring woman, and I know that *my* life is better for knowing you, so even if you don’t belong with them, you will always belong with me. We can be outcasts together-it’s more fun that way!

Sara May 14, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Tracy,

Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate you sharing about your experiences. It is so unfortunate that we are grown women and still having these very ‘teen-ish’ experiences.

Sara

Valerie D May 14, 2010 at 11:37 am

Wow, that was powerful. And I don’t know anyone who can read that and not sympathize. We’ve all felt that way at some point in our lives. Reflects my post in a way about trying to break into publishing. But I know how you feel. You are a confident, intelligent, awesome person. It takes a long time to realize that it doesn’t matter what others feel. I want to be accepted too, but now I know it has to be on my terms, not theirs. Your daughter has an awesome role model-keep it up.

Sara May 14, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Valerie,

Thank you for your comment. I forgot that you had posted about something similar within the publishing world – http://vdemetros.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/the-agents-are-the-popular-kids/ – just a week or so ago. The topic is quite universal.

Sara

Becca - Our Crazy Boys May 14, 2010 at 12:12 pm

I like you! I like you! Genuinely and truly.

ZoniDuck May 14, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I read your post this morning, and I’ve been thinking about it all day. I’m sorry that you have to deal with this kind of ignorance. It’s never easy being “outside the norm”, and I admire you for being you, no matter what anyone says or thinks.

And I love you, but you already knew that. ♥

Honey May 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Hi Sara,

You matter to me! I look up to you and respect you and I like you a lot (just so you know!). I understand about being the odd one out. You will never live up to anyone else’s standards, so you have to set your own!

Blessings
Honey

Renae @ Madame Deals May 14, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Hi Friend,
Well this is a battle that we all fight. We all want to be accepted. I personally can’t stand it when someone doesn’t like me. It tends to eat at me, “what did I do wrong”. But really, I should look at it the other way- what is wrong with them! It is really unfortunate that people are so quick to judge. I see it every day in real life and in the virtual world. Hang in there girl! You know we all love you!

Hollee May 15, 2010 at 4:48 am

Sara — Wow! What a powerful post. It came on the heels of my editing the final manuscript for Good Enough is the New Perfect, and while we’re not supposed to reveal our big secrets, I’ll tell you one thing: So many women we interviewed said exactly what you said. So many women feel that they’re not doing it right, that they’re not the same as anyone else, that they’re not good enough. You are not alone. (And personally, I think your Year of Awesome makes you particularly awesome.)

I’m not sure if you feel left out from the mommy blogging crowd; I do know how it feels to tweet into the darkness and feel like you’re yelling “Hello, out there.” Echo, echo, echo.

Tweet at me — I’ll always tweet back!:)

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