Monday, December 15, 2014

It's Okay To Be Weird

I teach 12-13 year old Sunday School at church.  I used to teach the entire group of youth 12-18 year old but then we got a second teacher and I got just the little ones.  It's actually been quite enjoyable for me.  They are fun and unlike their older counterparts for the most part respectful.  Last week I left church early though because Peach said her tummy hurt.  Nothing came of it but because Cheetah had thrown up on Thursday I didn't want to take any chance.  Apparently while I was gone there was an incident...I'm not entirely sure if it happened in Sunday School when they were all combined because I wasn't there or if it happened in Young Women's but the girls had a falling out where three of the girls sort of verbally/in text messages went after one of the other girls.  This week the younger girls wanted to tell me about it.  The girl who had been sort of the brunt of it said to me, "Apparently like 2/3's of the young woman don't like me.  They think I'm weird."  And rather then telling her she wasn't, I said, "Maybe you are weird?  Is there anything really wrong with that?"  And then we went on to talk about it.

The thing is she is different for them.  While most of the other girls spend the majority of their time talking about clothes, sports, their hair, and boys...or one particular boy to distraction she cares about school, and Supernatural, and being friends with everyone.  She talks about poetry or the anthropological intricacies of large families in Georgia.  She talks about music.  She has the self confidence to get up and speak or sing in front of whole ward.  She talks about cooking with her mom.  She enjoys speaking with adults as much as she does with other teenagers.  She has really embraced one of the girls in the ward who is having a hard time of it at school and home.  She doesn't just moon over one unobtainable guy but is friends with all the young men including the ones who are in to robots, computers, scary movies, and gaming.  She is interesting and quirky and friendly and the fact that the girls tried to take her down a notch last week really bothers me.  Don't get me wrong, for the most part I like the other girls.  They are cute and fun but this need to push people down, well that part I don't like.  Why do girls do this?  Why do people do this?  Maybe you don't share interest with someone else, maybe you actually find someone annoying, maybe you don't even like someone.  Who the heck cares.  Keep it to yourself.  Enjoy the parts of other people that you can and ignore the parts you don't like.

I felt very out of place as a child and youth.  We didn't have very much money.  I wasn't skinny.  My hair was always frizzy.  I liked school, reading, and dreaming about college.  I was horrible at sports. I was pretty dorky.  I had some great friends growing up, especially within the group of girls I went to church with, but at school I got teased a lot.  It could be painful.  I look at my life now and I wonder where those people are.  I married pretty well.  Our life is pretty great.  I have great kids, and a great marriage, I've been able to do a lot of cool things, and travel to a lot of amazing places.  I wonder if my life is better than some of those people.  I rarely wonder if my life is worse.  The truth is who cares.  Regardless of if their lives are horrible or great, I'm happy with where I am.  That's really all that matters to me and their own happiness is really all that should matter to them.

I tried to explain this to my little friend.  Are you happy with your life?  Do you like yourself?  These are the things that matter.  Sure it would be great if these other girls could appreciate you for who you are.  Having friends always makes life a little easier but them not liking you, that is a reflection of them not you, and if they think you are weird then embrace it.  Being weird can be amazing.

3 comments:

  1. I love this post! I think it's neat that the fact that you were 'a little weird' at school gives you more empathy with this young lady, AND you speak as someone who has gone through it, yet married well, traveled to some cool places, etc. Thanks for sharing this!

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  2. Great post! Weird is wonderful! Long live the quirky people who make life so interesting!

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  3. Wonderful post! Being normal is totally overrated. WEIRDOS UNITE!!! When I read this, it reminded me of when I was in middle school and a couple of girls in 8th grade that were in my Spanish class called me a freak. I don't remember why. I've been called dumb, gay, stupid, a freak or whatnot but I turned out alright. Like you, I got married, had kids and have a good overall life.

    People can be so mean. Being there for her will really help and she'll remember you or at least "that one Sunday School teacher" who helped her find her worth and feel loved. Having wonderful friends and people who care really helps those who may feel different and alone.

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