Have you ever felt like you were on the outside of a group looking in? Whether you were just on the sidelines of a party or trying hard to integrate with a new group of friends, it’s easy to feel like everyone else shares a secret that you don’t know. Or like they speak a language you don’t understand.
That’s the way I felt frequently throughout my growing up years. A little shy, a little uncertain, I didn’t fit in with the louder, funnier girls with their fashionable Gap jeans and pristine white Keds. I couldn’t keep up with their jokes and their knowledge of pop culture. I didn’t know who JTT was, I didn’t watch Friends, and I didn’t listen to No Doubt – unless I snuck in some secret CD time at a friend’s house. It was hard to fit in with the “in” crowd.
While I wasn’t often the center of attention, and I didn’t have an expansive circle of friends, I had a few very good ones. And to be honest, that suited me then and still suits me now. But as an impressionable, vulnerable girl, the fear of being left on the outside shaped me.
I learned to “armor up” and earn affection by making myself who I thought people wanted me to be – the good girl that my parents would praise, the perfect student that teachers loved, the Sunday school kid with all the right answers.
That “good girl” image sustained me through high school. I built my life upon it. I found my identity in it. It helped me feel like I fit in somewhere. But I soon found a more powerful draw than being admired for being good – the thrill of guys’ attention. Continue reading