I was the kind of girl who never felt she belonged. I think I had to make my own place in this world. To give you an idea, there was my third grade class. All the girls wanted to play “fairies” and so did I. Everyone received their fairy identity, whether it be the green or blue fairy, the evil or nice fairy. Everyone but me. The girl in charge of assigning us fairy personalities, let’s call her Taylor, had forgotten about me. I went up to her and shyly reminded her I was playing too. “Oh yeah,” she said, “you can be the the horse that befriends the fairies.” She pointed out to me to go over to the other side of the playground. I was ecstatic. I finally had a part in their game.
Needless to say, the horse never made an appearance to the fairies. Once again, I was forgotten. I was a little crushed, even though this was a normal thing for me. I couldn’t understand why that hadn’t included me. Was it because of my red hair? Or maybe I was just a loser? I couldn’t explain it. After the fairies incident, I just sat alone at recess. I pondered my life and got lost in my thoughts, whatever they might have been at the time. No one really noticed, but I didn’t blame them because I had this theory that I was invisible.
The next recess and many recesses after that blur together in my mind. I can’t separate one uneventful school day from the next. This continued in my daily school life until about freshman year. Something happened that year. People flocked around me and I suddenly wasn’t alone. I got a boyfriend, then another, then another. People knew my name and greeted me in the halls. For some reason I was no longer treated the way I had been before. Either I had conformed or people had begun to accept me. Maybe a bit of both.
Today I looked back on one of my counseling sessions during middle school. Why I was there is not important, but what has resulted from it is. My counselor dumped a handful of colored or pencils on the table. She had me draw a house. Nothing spectacular, it was just a house.
I recall making it an enormous building, with a sign on the door stating, “You are welcome.” My counselor asked why. I told her that I did not live alone in this house. There were other ones like me, ones who did not fit in. Anyone who needed a home was welcome in my house. You see, outside the walls of my house, we were all outsiders and outcasts. Inside however, we were one huge family held together by our differences. I didn’t describe the people in the house, just that they were different. Some were straight, others weren’t, some were creative, others could barely even write their own name. But we all loved and accepted each other regardless.
I kept this idea throughout counseling and beyond. I believe we should embrace our differences. Today there is such a need to coexist. Ever since I drew that house in counseling, I’ve known that I want to help people accept and respect themselves, to not feel alone or “wrong”. I don’t know how I’ll go about doing this, but it’s what I know needs to be done.