Features

We Struggled To Fit In

When all we ever wanted was to belong.
PHOTO Summit Entertainment

When was the last time you had to compromise yourself in order to be accepted?

There isn't much happening back in grade school, when being the popular kid was still relatively synonymous to being academically excellent. You spent half of your afternoons locked out of the playtime world with textbooks as your companions, and it was okay.

It was okay until the smart kid popularity reached its expiration date. Your classmates slowly began to tease you for being the teacher's pet. You are the book freak. The nerd. The uncool.

You started to not fit in.

You transferred schools. You stopped talking to people who were not supposed to matter (at least that's what you were told). You tried to make new friends in the hopes of starting again, but the desire to fit in did not stop.

When you were thirteen, fitting in meant hanging out with girls who wore the same headbands and talked about their first boyfriends. The fear of being out of place crept in. You started wearing pink tops and miniskirts because girls were expected to look and act like other girls. You watched make-up tutorials on YouTube so you could practice putting on eyeliner. You tried to fit in and for quite some time, you did.

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You did until you were expected to behave like an adult. Until you were expected to look after yourself. Until you were expected to be independent. Until you were expected to do this and that and whatnot.

And the fitting in system goes on and on and on.

You see, people in general don't like the feeling of being alone. To take comfort in knowing that we are accepted all the time is human nature. This is why we struggle to fit in.

But in the end, remember that fitting in is not the same as belonging.

Because fitting in meant constantly changing who you are in order to squeeze yourself in society's small space of acceptance. Constantly fitting in will prevent you from creating our own identity. Fitting in is just tiring, and fitting in will not guarantee you a lifetime spot in the friendship circle.

Belonging starts with embracing who you are. Believing that you're enough is what will truly motivate you to become who you really are—free of prejudice, of guilt. Belonging allows you to grow as an individual. When you belong, you can celebrate your individuality no matter which crowd you associate yourself with. Lastly, you create belongingness for yourself.

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I hope you find happiness not in having to fit in, but in belonging.

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Jikka Defino
Candymag.com Correspondent
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