Being a military kid meant always moving and always moving meant always changing schools therefore I was never at a school long enough to really know myself around others. Since I was always traveling I always adapted to my surroundings and most of the kids I was around were so diverse in ethnicity that I was never really around my own race in massive numbers or around non military kids to say the least. Being that the kids that I was around were military kids as well it already linked us together because we had one main thing in common which was our lifestyle. My family and I have lived in Panama and Japan until finally settling down in Virginia. And that is where the problem had become evident; Virginia is where I faced my one true obstacle of wanting to be accepted. All throughout my years of schooling in Virginia I faced the problem of wanting to be accepted by others; it started in middle school and followed me into high school until I finally learned how to deal with it.
I never knew of the obstacle because I never had to face it but once I transferred to a school that was outside of the usual military styled and structured manor, it was truly an emotional reevaluation that I later learned was culture shock. I felt like a fish out of water literally. My middle school experience was where I faced it most. Being that I was no longer overseas I had to deal with the obstacle of making friends and knowing that if it didn’t work out how I wanted, we weren’t moving anytime soon so there was no way I could run away from the problem. The school that I went to in middle school was a magnet school and unlike the previous schools that I had attended it was not very diverse at all. Which for me was weird; from sixth through eighth grade I experienced nothing but bullying with very little friends. I had no one that I could really relate to truly; but this is far from a sob story. I didn’t experience any physical harassment, just some emotional bullying and where I stood around other African American kids my age. The most common thing I had faced at this point was not looking like the other African American kids and being called “white” for speaking proper and pronouncing words how they were meant to be spoken. I really never understood what was so different about me and why I could never seem to feel accepted by my own race but I could with other races.
This problem eventually transcends to high school where I eventually became fully aware of what the problem was. My high school journey was not as brutal emotionally as my middle school journey. The high school I attended once again was not of the requirements of what a military school would be but was yet considered normal. It was a local school and once again wasn’t much of a melting pot of races either although I did befriend a couple of friends diverse in race that did share the experience of the military lifestyle it wasn’t much different than my middle school experience. Ninth through tenth was nothing but trying to figure myself out and year by year I was with major setbacks. Although I was still called names every now and then the urge to want to fit in dwindled and I gained the sense of self. It wasn’t till twelfth grade where I figured out why being around other African American kids was so difficult to me and it was through an incident in my English class. I remember the incident so vividly because my life changed from that moment on. The incident involved two Caucasian females me and two other African American females. It was a statement spoken by a girl that wasn’t very fond of me because according to her, I acted “weird”. She spoke to the Caucasian girls sitting beside me, speaking as if I wasn’t sitting right there saying “A certain someone doesn’t belong but yet another race does”. She was referring to me not being able to fit in but yet the Caucasian females did and that’s when I realized it’s not about fitting in its about being myself. And from that moment on I was done pretending to be someone other than myself.
After that day I was myself, I was tired of pretending. Year after year I gained friends and not just any kind of friends but the kind of friends for a lifetime. I learned so much from my middle school and high school years. All the countless of times where I experienced emotional bullying, remarks about me being “different” and being told I was something other than what I was made me a wiser and stronger person. When I say wiser I mean I am able to connect to other people emotions whether it is a person dealing with wanting nothing more than to fit in, bullying or anything pertaining to emotion. I connect with other people on other kinds of levels because I understand what it’s like to feel so little and like other people can control you. I would go through it all in a heartbeat because all of those situations helped shape me into the person I am now, the person I was meant to be all along, and the person I kept inside from other people.
I’ve always considered this to be one of my most challenging obstacles because of the time frame in which it occurred. It literally took me six years to understand that it was okay to be myself. And when I look back at it all I can do is laugh, it was all a learning experience for me. Not only a learning experience but it also taught me about people and being that I experienced emotional bullying I’d never do it to anyone else because I know how it feels to be constantly judge when you’re trying so hard to “adapt”, something I was so use to doing backfired on me. I’m still learning about myself but I’m well aware of my true self and I embrace every bit of it. I dealt with my obstacle head on and just shut out the opinions of what was deemed to be normal and stayed true to myself. Now all of the opinions I do get are of none relevance to me, the urge to conform is not longer there.
Submitted by Anonymous
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