I've never been one of the "popular" kids.
I was born in Saudi Arabia and was in a British school. My family returned to India when I was ten years old and enrolled me in a local, private school. In a school where english pronunciation and diction was horrendous, I was the little girl with the british accent. I was teased mercilessly, not only by kids but by the teachers too. They made up little songs and rhymes about me. I cried everyday till my parents told me that I spoke english the way it was supposed to be spoken. That made me feel so much better. I hated school in India. I just didn't seem to fit in anywhere.
As the years went by, the other girls blossomed into ladies. I didn't. I was a late bloomer. By the time I finished school, I was under five feet, wore glasses and was called "ugly". Because I was quiet, unassuming and according to my teachers, "not talented in any way", I was overlooked for positions like class leader, head girl, house captain etc.
After school, I did eventually "blossom". I grew eight inches in three months and started wearing contact lenses. And since I was now taller than most of the girls and quite a lot of the boys, from being called a "midget", I was labelled a "freak". I didn't care, I loved my height.
Through school and what we call junior college, I guess for the US it's high school, I had only one really close friend. She was an outsider too. I think that's why we bonded. She was teased because of her weight. If people had looked past the weight, they would have seen the wonderful person I knew and enjoyed spending time with. But while I didn't really care about people's opinions of me, she did. Thankfully I had a loving family who supported and encouraged me to be an individual. Unfortunately, her family life was bad as well. She became more and more depressed and eventually took her own life when she turned eighteen.
I have been a flight attendant for thirteen years. It's a job I love. But it started off a bit rocky too. On my very first layover when I declined to sleep with one of the Captains, I was labelled a "snob". The popular crew were the "sluts", so I was happy to be called a snob. Over time, a lot of the male employees saw me as a woman with brains and opinions and who they could have intelligent and interesting conversations with, rather than someone they might get lucky with.
I've been an outsider for most of my life. I won't lie to you, it hasn't been easy. Everyone wants to be accepted, to feel like they belong somewhere. I think it affects you a lot more when you are younger and you're still trying to figure out who you are. At some point, I'm sure everyone has felt like an outsider in some way.
As I matured, I realised that being an outsider is actually a better way to be. I don't follow the rest of the herd. I'm an individual with opinions, thoughts and ideas of my own. I don't need other people's approval to define who I am.
I'm proud to be an outsider. It's made me the person I am today....