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  • Writer's pictureAngie Dotson

How Others See Me...

Obviously, this topic has me struggling. I have tossed it around in my head for months now. The real struggle is being vulnerable - none of us like that, right?

So, let's just say that what other people thought of me as a young girl meant way more to me than it probably should have. We all try to act like we don't care, but under that cool façade, to be thought badly of, especially by those I cared about, was my worst possible fear.

In elementary school, I went to a small Catholic school, with a total of 16 children in my entire grade. 11 girls and 5 boys. Imagine the 5th and 6th grade "cliques" of preteen girls and how mean and selfish they can be. Imagine someone says some bad things about you and suddenly everyone you must spend every single day, all day with thinks badly of you. Imagine what that can do to a self-conscious 12 year old who had never had anything but good and friendly intentions. That's enough for a girl to pack it up and beg to change schools for the possibilities of a fresh start. However, the kids at the new school are just the same. Fitting in and being liked are just as hard here.

As I grew up, I seemed to go through several phases of "friend" groups. Something always seemed to happen, and I'd once again be on the outside. I stopped letting friends in too close. There was no worse feeling to me than feeling un-liked and misunderstood. Even when I was in high school and had a steady boyfriend, I constantly questioned if he really liked me, and when I would be back on the outside again.

I've come to realize being misunderstood is my real fear. If you're mad at me for something in intentionally did or said, fine. But when there is a misunderstanding and what you think is not my true intention, it festers in me. It drives me crazy. I hate it.

In the 20+ years since I was in school, I have learned more about myself and have stopped caring (as much) about what people think of me. I still want to be liked, of course. I still want to be the good friend that no one will ever push away again. It still scares me.

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