November 20, 2013

Finding Where You Fit

Today's society measures everyone by one simple rule: where do you fit in? This is probably most evident in High School (nicely portrayed by HSM I believe) when you're either a Jock, a Nerd, a Plastic, or a Stoner, among countless other categories. But it doesn't stop at high school, oh no. Your whole life you will try to be filed carefully in one category or the other: Employed/Not Employed, Famous/Ordinary, Rich/Poor etc. (Side note: we won't get into race because that's a whole different kind of categorizing that is also wrong) What I have found, in my very full 15.76 years on this Earth, is that a lot of people don't fit so neatly into these basic categories, and they worry about not being accepted because of it.
Take Rich/Poor for example. A lot of 'rich' people, are only wealthy in material possessions and have poor life and people skills (i.e. Donald Trump) where a lot of people who are 'poor' because they don't have the frivolous material things the world insists upon, are often the richest in heart where it truly counts. This isn't always the case, Bill Gates is a 'rich' person who also has a wise outlook on life and looks to help others as much as he can, and sometimes 'poor' people are people who have the worst outlook on life and are truly poor inside as well. These are some of the many exceptions to 'the rule'. 
Now let's look at high school, the main focus of this soap box-worthy speech. Stereotypically, the Jocks and the Plastics (Mean Girls, anyone?) rule the school jointly, often mixing between species. In America, the football players (quarterbacks most usually) are the top of the food chain, their head cheerleader girlfriends the lead bitch for the girls. Everyone knows their names, and usually everyone hates them. I've always struggled with this concept: why are the 'popular' people most often the most hated? But I digress…the 'nerds', 'dorks', and 'geeks' are often at the bottom of the food chain and yet at the top of every class, with braces and big thick glasses. I challenge all these parameters and think they should be completely disregarded in all walks of life.
For example, who says that the 1st string, starting quarterback that leads the school to victory in the big championship, can't also have an A+ in chemistry? Or…that girl with big glasses and frizzy hair that loves reading and kicks ass in math class can't be Prom Queen? (I know, I sound like a Selena Gomez song meets a Taylor Swift music video) My point is…finding where you fit in your school/life/work/wherever, isn't easy because people do file you away like this. I don't know about you, but my personality doesn't fit so neatly into a form.
Personally…I am still figuring out where I fit into this big spiderweb of life, and high school. At first I also thought that I had to find one specific group and let that group define me, that I've since found out is completely bs and the mere attempt is exhausting and painful. I joined Academic Bowl this year…but do I fit in completely amongst the school's smart elite where they all know the answer to 'Who was the 37th President of the United States and what was his favorite breakfast food?'? Not completely…which scared me a bit at first. I mean, I do have my place among them, my nerdy side as I like to call it (pretty much stereotyping myself with that one), but I don't completely fit with nothing left over. Then am I a Jock? (Or…was I is a better way of putting it but whatever, just pretend I'm still swimming) Well…I didn't really feel welcome by the swim team, which is why I left, but I have been swimming competitively for approximately 13.5 years now. But that's not exactly me either….then comes the group I'm with the majority of the time. Definitely not the top in the school, but so far from the last. We kind of just sit in the middle of the hierarchy, maybe one of the more genuinely-friendly groups, in our grade anyway. (I'd rather not pick a category for our table, lest I offend the people sitting at it) Well what about the Youtuber-artsy-girly-beanie-wearing group? I fit in there a lot, but not completely. (And the word 'artsy' covers poetry-loving and all writing) So where in the hell do I fit??
The truth is…I fit in all of them. That's something that makes me incredibly unique, I'm part nerd, part jock, part comic relief, and part 'preppy'. This is just who I am. It took me a while to figure it out, sure, and it wasn't the easiest thing in the world to accept, this existing without one specific category, but like it or not…this is where I 'fit' in my school. I have friends from all sides (and actually I fit into a lot of smaller categories in a lot of smaller ways but these are the biggest ones) and I love spending time with all of them because it's always a different experience with each of them. Sometimes there's a bit of friction and tension between the groups, which is only to be expected. They're two puzzle pieces that don't exactly fit together, but are forced together in the person that I am. I've come to terms and made peace with all these things, indeed I'm quite happy that I have found places where I feel accepted and loved, but I know a lot of people who don't understand this concept. They leap from one group to another in search of where they are completely accepted, and the truth is that they may never find it. 
Sure, some people fit completely into one category and that's okay as well! You shouldn't feel bad for 'only' fitting into one category, just like you shouldn't worry if you fit into multiple social orders. It all depends on the person that you are (and/or want to be) as to where you fit in. Think of it all like you're baking something. You can either use the pre-made mix (one group) to make it, or you make it from scratch with all different ingredients (multiple groups). The biggest thing to keep in mind, is to not let any group define you, you should define yourself first, find a group (or even form one) later.

Letting others define who you are is the surest way to lose yourself.

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