Excluded: Confessions of a Social Reject
By Lauren, age 15, California
I gotta say, I hate my face. Not because my brother says it's ugly (who listens to brothers?), but because it splits me in two, when I'm really in the middle. People say I look younger than I am - usually around 12 - but I'm actually 15, entering my junior year of high school. Isn't that a good thing?
I like to think my brain's already at 18 (it probably isn't, but hey ...), and I take everything I do seriously. Maybe too seriously. I keep my word, never show up late, dress to the occasion, and always keep to the business agenda. But no one considers me for jobs.
My teachers love me. My peers, though, see the young face and think, middle schooler. Don't bother talking to her; you'll be labeled a dork - or worse, a freshman. Those who know me either think I'm out of their league or too busy to talk (huge revelation here - I'm not).
Now, in middle school all this would have been fine. Except then I moved from the city to the country. In short, everyone at my new school had lived and grown up with the same people all their lives. Oh, and I didn't own a phone. I've got one now, but it's the cheapest thing out there, and there's no texting or internet. Not having the internet further alienated me, so I ended up hanging out in the one place that reminded me of home - teacher's classrooms.
Classic. Classic way to be falsely labeled a teacher's pet because I needed another assignment that didn't involve the internet. Classic to sit in a library and type all lunch because I didn't own a computer. Classic to go to high school and finally realize that only the teachers and complete social rejects talk to you. Lovely.
So, as a social reject myself, I'll attempt to defend myself.
I'm one of the most successful kids in my class - straight A's, die-hard work ethic, and flexible. I ask people if they want to work with me. "No." (Of course, they never say that outright. They insist they "already have a partner".) Do I always turn out A assignments? Yes. Do I smile at everyone, wave, and be friendly? You betcha. Have I tried everything? I'd like to think so. Do I really look busy all the time?
Hmm. *stares into space for an hour.* Who was it that said it's harder to talk to a girl in a group? 'Cuz that sure isn't me.
I'm told to laugh more. *giggles at computer screen* Um, yeah. That felt weird. It's easier when you're having a conversation with someone, but *cough* if people did they'd be labeled as dorks, remember?
"Dress like a teen!"
*sigh* I don't buy my clothes. Even if I did, wearing a tank top won't exactly make a difference when you're barely five feet tall.
"Get technology! Listen to an iPod!"
Sure, just hand over some $20 bills. Or, I could get a job ... oh, wait. They see me as a middle schooler. Still, I'll take the 20's ...
It doesn't behoove anyone to exclude someone else. If you've done it, even unintentionally, try this: name five people (or visualize them if you can't remember their names) who tend to work alone. What do you think of them? What have you heard about them? Are those two things the same? And one more thing ... watch what they achieve. It may blow your mind, and it is worth your time.