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Writer's Workshop: Left Out

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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: Writer's Workshop: Left Out

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Writer's Workshop: Left Out

Mama's Losin' It
Mama Kat's prompt #3: Describe a time when you felt left out.

I'm 6 years old and in 1st grade.  The girl who was my best friend through kindergarten didn't invite me to her birthday party.  I just found out that all the other girls got an invitation but me.  I sit down in the schoolyard one morning and cry, asking her why I wasn't invited.  Why we're not friends anymore.  I need to know - because in my head, we're still friends.  I need to know when she decided that things were different, why she didn't like me anymore.  But she walks away.  I call her name, tears clouding my vision.  She keeps walking.

I'm 10 and already the girls are talking about who has and who hasn't kissed a boy yet.  They already know all sorts of words I've never heard before.  The terminology alludes me, as much as I try to keep up.  They act unaffected, comparing numbers of kissing conquests as easily as they used to compare the number of Barbies or She-Ra dolls they owned.  Either way, I know I've never kissed a boy and what's worse, they know it too.

I'm 12 and the only reason any boys hang out with me is because they want to hang out with my best friend (the crazy one).  Don't they know me? Don't they know all of the cool things about me? How, one day, they may actually want to hang out with a smart (if slightly awkward) girl? I hate these boys, I really do.  They're not nice to me.  But I want to be cool, so much so that I swallow my pride again and again just to hang out with the cool kids.

I'm 16 and the only girl I know not going to the Junior Prom.  I go to the movies and Olive Garden with my Mom instead.  I sit in school the following Monday, listening to the stories, eventually oohing and aahing over the pictures as they get developed (ahh, the days before digital photography).  I try to be a good sport and take a genuine interest in my friends' experiences, but envy eats my heart.

I'm 20-going-on-21 and I still haven't been kissed.  I try not to tell anyone.  It's too embarrassing.  I feel ashamed for reasons I can't even describe to this day.

I'm 25 and I've only been on a few dates in my life.  Everyone I know is seeing someone, is living with someone, is married, has years of experience to fall back on.  I've never had a boyfriend.  The kissing thing has been rectified, though.  But that's it.  A well-meaning friend of a friend gently asks me when I'm going to start dating.  As if it's that easy.  I feel left out of life.

Of course, things changed.  It may have taken me a little longer than some, but things did get better.  And now here I am, 31 years old, looking back over all these years of pain and awkwardness.  Of feeling left out.

Have I learned anything from that feeling? Well, I'd like to think that it's taught me a deeper level of compassion.  It has taught me to include others, especially those who appear to be hanging around on the fringe, waiting for someone to be friendly towards them.  People who have a whole world of thoughts and experiences inside them, just waiting to be shared if only someone would give them a chance.

So do I always live up to these high ideals for myself? Am I, like, the Mother Theresa of inclusiveness?  No, not always - sometimes feeling included is so wonderful, I forget how it feels on the other side of things.  It's very easy to forget when you're in the moment.  All I can do is work on being more mindful.  It doesn't hurt to make sure that someone isn't going through the same stuff we've all gone through at one point or another - feeling left out or left behind.  And maybe one day they'll pay it forward by remembering that kindness and extending the same courtesy to someone else. 

After all, like they say, a candle doesn't lose anything by lighting another candle.  Or something like that.



Blogger Alyson -- Common Sense, Dancing said...

Great writing -- I remember all those ages and stages too, and feeling the same way! (But I didn't go to Olive Garden....I think I just stayed home).

Now, raising four children -- and two girls who are 11 and 14 -- I'm so mindful of those days....and wanting them to 1) never feel that way but also -- and maybe more importantly -- 2) never making others feel that way, even unintentionally.

Those years made me a better mother, I hope!

January 27, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Blogger Emily said...

Wonderful post. Your memories make me try to remember that even though my chid is just four, he still has stress and worries. Friends are important to him even now.'

January 27, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Anonymous erica said...

I can so relate. I was a late bloomer too, and I am okay with it now, but I felt left out when I was a kid. I remember lying to girls telling them I got my period when I didn't... just so I could feel included.

We all want to be accepted at all ages!

January 27, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Blogger Real Life Reslers said...

I didn't go to senior prom and have always regretted it. Oh well. I made up for it with my big wedding!

And dont' feel bad you didn't kiss anyone. I regret some of those icky boys I kissed!

January 28, 2011 at 6:50 AM

Blogger Jenny said...

My awkward experiences and lack of friends growing up, has made me a better mother. In that I have great compassion for my 3 daughters.

I never got asked out in High school. I wondered for years why? I even missed my senior prom,which I was on the planning committee for. These days, I don't think about it so much, I have a wonderful family. A very loving husband.

January 28, 2011 at 7:50 AM

Blogger Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

There are lots of hard lessons that teach us compassion in life. If you'd known me prior to age 16, you wouldn't have been so alone!

January 28, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Anonymous Beth @ Happy Life Happy Wife said...

Very nicely written post. You have a wonderful way with words & I can definitely relate to the way you felt through the years.

January 28, 2011 at 4:10 PM


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