Why Growing Up Unpopular Was One Of The Best Things To Ever Happen To Me

by Kate Rodriquez

While going through school, one of the scariest things students face is the fear of not having friends. We experience a lot of changes, and as humans we need -- no, crave -- someone to share these experiences with.

It’s hard to stay strong when we face adversity and trials without someone there to hold our hand when we find ourselves weakening. Trust me, I know.

I did not have many friends growing up. I was bullied from third to seventh grade after I was caught hurting myself in the school bathroom. Even after that, my small school did not afford me friends. By this time, I was so hurt and scared that I did not make friends, nor did I do anything to try to fit in.

Believe me, if I could have disappeared, I would have. The crazy thing, though, is that looking back on those years makes me realize that all of the isolation was a really great thing for me. I learned a lot of important lessons that make me the kind of person who attracts other people and knows how to be happy.

Thanks to these lessons, I've embraced a new way of living to make the most of my life and the lives around me:

I am a free spirit.

Free spirits are often romanticized, but in reality, people tend to find them obnoxious (at least in my experience). That is because I damn well do whatever I please without much regard to anyone else’s opinion on the matter.

I have short hair and wear black and grey clothes almost exclusively with an androgynous flair, despite the fact that I always get asked if I am a lesbian. I have a tattoo of a cat on the back of my hip because it cost $20 on Friday the 13th. I got my cartilage pierced because I was mad at a boy.

I give lectures on feminism and equal rights whenever I get the opportunity. I hug strangers like best friends, and best friends like an anaconda. These same traits also make me a ride-or-die kind of friend. If you need someone to run errands with at 4 am, I’m your girl. If you ask me to go find a place on the bad side of town with you, I’ll be there, too.

I am impulsive and chaotic to the bone; this is only because I learned how to freely be myself from years spent in isolation. I know who I am; I’m happy with who I am and now everyone can be happy with who I am, too.

I am good at making friends.

I know what it’s like to be alone, so I try my hardest to ensure that no one else has to feel the way I did growing up. I try to be kind to every person I come across; some of them like me and some of them don’t. It’s no skin off of my back either way because you don’t lose anything by being kind to people.

Most of us will not make the first move towards friendship because we fear rejection, but it’s really no big deal. People are not out to get you, despite what you may think. We are all just out for ourselves.

I am loyal to the bone.

Good friendships have trust and reliability solidly built into the foundation. Don’t waste loyalty on people who are going to turn around and drag you through the mud for their own personal gain, because they will take every confidence you give them and use it as a weapon.

The only people who deserve your loyalty are the ones who give you theirs. It must be an equal exchange or someone is going to come out hurt and embarrassed, which no one deserves.

Due to being alone for so long, I fight my own battles. I figure that if I’m not willing to fight for something, then it must not be too important, and I apply the same standard to other people as well. With the exception of a couple of people, I rarely come out swinging unless I see that the situation does in fact require my participation. When that moment comes, though, I’ll be a ride-or-die friend.

I know the value of loyal friends and I don’t take them for granted.

I am not judgmental.

My friends come from all walks of life and many different paths. Where you come from and who you used to be shouldn’t be a factor. The only thing that should matter is who you are today and how you treat people.

If you treat me well, I’ll treat you well. I don’t see the point in cliques or only sticking with people who are just like you. I love variety because it keeps life exciting. You should have all different types of friends for all different types of situations and times.

I really don’t need people to be happy.

Don’t get me wrong; I love people. In fact, some would say that I love too much (which is true). I love having friends to go out with or just sit around in my kitchen eating macaroni and cheese and fish sticks to the sound of laughter with.

The fact of the matter is I don’t actually have to have other people around to be happy. Believe me, I am perfectly content to lay in bed with no pants on and put my Netflix subscription to good use for days at a time ("OITNB," anyone?). And that is perfectly okay.

Photo via Fanpop