I learned to embrace my sense of humor
I had ZERO friends. Unless you count the super religious kid whose parents made him be friends with me. People talk about all those play dates and birthday parties they went to as kids… Well, I was at home acting out LFO music videos with my bedpost. I was awkward AF and those mean little kids wanted nothing to do with me until I learned that EVERYONE likes the funny kid. When I discovered I could make people want to be near me by making them laugh, I was HOOKED. I remember this one time at lunch I put my sandwich, grapes, and chocolate milk in a plastic bag and smashed it all together and attempted to drink it. I tell people that some kid dared me to do it but there’s no way to be sure… ALL EYES WERE ON ME. The most beautiful girl in our 4th grade class came up to me and said, “you’re quirky.” I didn’t stop smiling for days.
I learned to take the world for what it is
I like to think I turned out a little less delusional than some people because I was made very aware of my social status and what it meant by the time I was 8. SURE, I still had a crush on the most popular boy in school but the story of that romance would probably be written more into a sci fi novel than a coming of age story. People can be fucking mean. Especially young children whose brains aren’t fully devoloped and can’t completely understand the severity of their words or actions. It was never any secret to me what other people thought of me. And I learned to deal with that.
I learned to be less naive
Coming out of my school days on another side (now being a decently attractive human being), I’m very aware of the people and things that come into my life and why. Listen, using your looks to your advantage is not a bad skill to have. Especially as a woman. But don’t be dependent on it. Don’t let that define your worth. Don’t give your superficial relationships a false sense of hope. And on the other side of that, remember that there ARE plenty of good people you will meet and encounters you are going to have where it will be deeper than that – where your looks or status will just be an added bonus. So stay off your high horse and try not to be an asshole about it either.
I learned a lot more about who I was
As rough as it may have been to go through it, I am so incredibly grateful for my awkward stage because at a very young and impressionable time in my life, I had to really like myself, even if no one else did. And on some days, I didn’t. And on some days, I still don’t… but it definitely gave me a head start. I realized things about myself that may have taken me a lot longer to figure out. I learned how to be independent and strong and how to entertain myself (i.e. LFO). And I learned to be perceptive and realistic and handle rejection. I learned to look at those “awkward” people that are so okay with not fitting in as probably the most mentally stable people in the world. They are sure of themselves and they are secure. And they definitely don’t give a fuck.
Don’t be afraid to stand out. Don’t be afraid to be “wrong” or “socially unacceptable”. Adult life is just a slightly more civilized version of school; with all the bullies and the cliques and the social statuses. Don’t be a forgettable member of the student body. Mash up that sandwich and find a way to enjoy yourself. Learn to love being the awkward kid.