Not 'Fitting In' While Growing Up Made You A Stronger, Better Person

by Zara Barrie

There are certain kids who simply can’t repress the urge to unabashedly express themselves.

Remember the kids at school who just couldn’t help but exhibit their eccentric personal style and verbalize their opposing worldviews to the absolute fullest, regardless of the social consequences?

It isn't until the years following high school that society gains a fresh appreciation for these formerly deemed “misfits”; they inevitably wind up the most supremely popular and mega-successful adults on the block of life.

The former misfits are now the present day trendsetters, the intimidatingly sophisticated tastemakers and the excessively wealthy corporate bulldozers.

If you were to delve into the past of current media moguls, fashion icons and movie stars, you would come to find the majority were lone wolves whilst in the repressive throes of high school/middle school.

So what is so special about the kids who went against the grain in school? The weirdos who bore no clique of their own? The listless loners who spent lunch and recess camped out in the bathroom stall, tucked into in the warmth of the library and holed up in the safety of the art studio?

There are sweeping benefits to growing up a misfit that set society's out-of-the-box adolescents up for a thriving adulthood:

You're a thriving individual with a true sense of self.

It’s hard to differentiate which characteristics serve as the authentic traits of our individuality and what characteristics were simply bestowed upon us. Most of us (especially in high school) are merely products of our environment.

It’s a question we endlessly ask ourselves, and the inner dialogue plays out as such:

“Do I really love this beige trench coat from H&M, or do I like it because all of my friends are currently sporting a similar beige trench? Oh I just can’t tell anymore.”

Our true sense of self can get lost in the thick of our clique.

See, when you’re not hog-tied into a group, and you’re navigating the primitive wilderness of the cafeteria by your lonesome – you get to know thyself pretty damn well.

By the time a misfit ascends into the vast open sky of adulthood, he or she is already a fully realized, beautifully thriving individual, while the masses of high school sheep are struggling to find their identities in their 20s.

Your friendships are based on true connectivity.

When you grow up not fitting into a “group,” you're blessed with a deep understanding of what the true definition of friendship is.

You weren’t tainted by the epidemic of falsified friendships that exist as the high school norm: the tribes of “besties” who mindlessly flocked together connecting over the same shade of blond hair and taste in skinny jeans.

As a misfit, you didn’t have forced friendships because of the squad you fell into; your friendships were built on the solid ground of a real connection.

Now that you’re an adult, you only know how to make friends without a hidden agenda.

It's a habit you cultivated early on, and it's served you immensely.

You are free to unabashedly do whatever the hell you want.

CLIQUES are synonymous with RULES. And rules are nothing short of horrendous and oppressive.

The beauty of never fitting in is you were never forced to submissively succumb to the tyrannical dictatorship of the high school social hierarchy.

You were extraordinarily free to be YOURSELF and explore whatever your heart so desired.

You’re prepared to battle the world alone.

In the toilsome adult universe, there is no one there to hold your delicate, diligently moisturized hand as you attempt to find your precious way.

On the contrary, you quickly discover you’re totally alone with no warm body to hide behind.

It's back-breaking for most people to adjust to being alone on the planet, but a cakewalk for those who didn’t fit in to begin with.

See, misfits never had a football team of popular jocks protecting them from the hardships of the hallway, making for a seamless transition into the autonomous world of grownuphood.

You're unafraid to stand up to anyone.

Never was there ever a bitch as brutal as the high school bitch. There is no soul in the Western Hemisphere quite so ruthless as she is.

She was the girl who had the wherewithal to orchestrate the egging of a 14-year-old girl's family home. She was the girl who burned the words "SLUT" into front lawns of freshmen who dared to be prettier than she is.

And you, you darling misfit, stood up to her. She wasn't enough to scare you into submission.

Standing up to your BOSS is a vanilla-frosted ice cupcake compared to standing up to the evil queen at the head of the lunch table.

Nothing in the world could intimidate you.

The ordeal of academia is an acutely vulnerable time for all young kittens involved. We’re open wounds, sifting from classroom to classroom, praying not to get infected.

The teenage self is intimidated by everyone: the cutthroat mean girl, the detached cool chick, the badass babe, the sexy teacher, the strict parent, the hot jock, the druggie dude — everyone achingly feels so much more sophisticated and evolved than we are.

If you didn't fit in, however, you weren’t so intimidated by the population that you felt inclined to change yourself in order to fit in.

Those who are capable of being so admirably self-assured when in the trenches of puberty are masters of the fine art of confidence as adults.

You have inherent trust in your gut.

A social misfit trusts her gut with a wild integrity.

When you’re free of a life without an army of teenagers perpetually throwing their opinion onto the surface of your skin, you are also free to learn the incredible power of your instincts – and that is the most valuable, beautifully wrapped gift you can carry tucked beneath your inner arm throughout the entirety of adulthood.

You stand out, and that’s wildly attractive to everyone.

You weren’t a carbon copy of the most socially successful girl/boy in school — which is most likely why you were written off as nothing but an insignificant “misfit.”

You can’t help but to fabulously STAND OUT in a whopping crowd — and while that might be social suicide in high school, it’s also the very thing that makes you ferociously popular as an adult.

Your fierce individuality (the very thing you were once teased for) is what now makes the masses madly drawn to you. You're f*cking magnetic.

You’re wonderfully empathetic.

When you don’t fit into the ever-so-basic, "CW sitcom" teenage mold, you’re savagely teased when locked up in school.

While the tight-fisted bashing might not have been enough to permanently break you – it doesn’t mean your body doesn't hold court to a spectacle of painful bruises.

You have experienced the pressing isolation of alienation.

The hurtful burn of humiliation.

You aren't a mean soul (that was part of the reason you were so vehemently teased) and don't want to inflict the negativity that you endured onto anyone else. You’re something far better than sympathetic; you’re empathetic.

You don't look down on anyone unless you're helping him or her up.

At the end of the day, the most vitally important aspect of our legacy is the way in which we treated our fellow human beings.

And you, dear “misfit,” “freak,” “weirdo”— that's something you've had down from the very beginning.