I know you.
You are the girl that people stare at in Starbucks. Maybe it’s your tattoos or body piercings that got their attention. Maybe it’s the shirt you’re rocking that screams ANARCHY. Maybe it’s your wild colored hair and just don’t give a f*ck attitude.
I like you. I like how you boldly wear your rebellion on your sleeve. I like how you wear your attitude like armor and wield your tongue like a sword, slicing anyone who dares to cross you.
I get you. I get that you never fit in and so instead of being the girl who tried to force it, you became the girl who rejected everything mainstream. I like that you recognized your not fitting in-ness and embraced it. I like that you are bold enough to be who you are in a world full of conformists.
I wonder though. Sometimes, when I see your hard exterior that seems so carefully constructed, I wonder whether it’s a true expression of who you are or if it’s a reaction. I’ve seen many like you that carefully hide the white scars that cover their arms from where they relieved the pain justonemoretime. I’ve known girls like you that still ached to find a place to belong but would never admit it among their peers. I’ve seen the girls who carefully put on their makeup to cover their vulnerability and their clothes specifically to keep people away.
Maybe that girl isn’t anything like you. Maybe this person before me is a true and authentic expression of who you are. If that’s you, keep on rocking your self-expression. May your liberation set others free.
If you’re the second girl who mocks those who belong while secretly wishing you could find your place, this message is for you. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. I see the story in your eyes when our eyes connect in the crowded coffee shop. I see the unspoken longing that you maybe can’t even admit to yourself still pounds in your chest. I see the pain of keeping all your secrets locked inside.
To that girl, the one who feels misunderstood, mistaken and out of place, I say to you: You may not know it yet but there is a reason you don’t belong. You were not made to fit in because our world desperately needs you to shake things up. You may be lonely for a while until you meet some more of your tribe—and they are out there. Like the Ugly Duckling, who left the cruelties of her duckling family, you will wander until you find where you were meant to be all along. There, you will blossom because you will be seen finally for who you truly are.
Don’t give up. You will get through this challenging time of feeling like a misfit is a bad thing. You’ll learn, soon enough, that to be considered a non-conformist in a largely dysfunctional society is actually a rather positive thing to be. You’ll learn that rebellion has a purpose and that when you find the cause you’re passionate about, nothing will stop you. You’ll learn that being cast out from some places is the best thing that could happen.
You’ll finally learn that the only place you need to find love and acceptance is from within. And when you learn that, you’ll set the world on fire.
Author: Lisa Vallejos, PhD
Editor: Travis May