Feeling Different

I’ve felt different for most of my life, and not in a flattering way. For me, “different” was synonymous with “bad,” “isolated,” “strange,” and “disliked.” It was painfully difficult to grow up not watching the same TV shows, not wearing the same trendy clothes, and not listening to the same music as other kids. I didn’t have any videogame systems, I had books. I remember my parents telling me at some low point, “Well, maybe if other people see that you like that, you’ll set a new trend!” To my complete lack of surprise, that never did happen. I had different hobbies than the majority, and most importantly and strikingly, different priorities. I found it near impossible to make friends when the only topics of conversation I could speak fluently and enthusiastically about included quality literature and schoolwork, and I was more excited about having a philosophical conversation on a Friday night than about going out. I was quiet, productive, and deeply lonely. I expected that to be the eternal state of things.
Moving through college, a gradual, imperceptible change started to happen. As I narrowed my field of acquaintances to primarily the people who were studying things similar to my interests, I also started to find that not only did we match in academic interests, but in personality and, often, more closely in priorities. I started to find people who were interested in hearing what I had to say, and doing the sorts of things I wanted to do. I stopped being so alone, and tumbled into a community of others who made me feel welcomed and liked. The more I have pursued what I care about, the more people have come alongside me.

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