It’s back to school season and the same quote keeps coming to mind.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
I haven’t set foot in a classroom for almost 3 years but this couldn’t be a better time to think about all the things that school taught me and all the things I don’t use (looking at you algebra.) Bring in the tamagatchis, pink digital cameras, ipods nanos, Aeropostale bell bottom jeans, and sequin purses. Issa throwback! Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?
First grade: I was the new kid in the middle of the school year and an instant outcast.
Second grade: I was obsessed with Josie and the Pussycats. All I ever wanted was for my mom to flip my hair like hers and wear tiger print pants. I’ve never stopped rocking the winged eyeliner. Cameo by my little brother, Ryan.
Third grade: I got in trouble most days for talking too much in class.
Fourth grade: I switched schools to attend the fine arts academy and was so terrified of having to make new friends again. I wept in the car after orientation and my mom looked at me and said “Well Allie…you just won’t go then” and that was the end of my tears. I was going damnit. Did I mention my mom cut my bangs? No? Ok here’s some proof.
Fifth grade: Awkward phase coming in real hot. I quickly realized that I could NOT sing like the rest of my peers. So I squeezed a tennis ball for a week to prepare for auditions for the traveling puppet team. I made it and I’d never been so jazzed. My mom also reminded me that this was the year we were forced to watch “the birds and the bees” film and I curled up in her lap like a baby because I was traumatized. Cameo by my puppet, Tiffany, and my dad’s booty.
Sixth grade: The glorious trifecta: Braces, glasses, and a middle part. Need I say more?
Seventh grade: I thought I was hot shit because I was on the spirit squad and could wear my uniform to school every Friday. I also tried to be emo for a minute. We all went there.
Eighth grade: I decided I was going to go to George Washington University Law School and become a senator. That was short lived after realizing I’d rather sweat ice cream than go into politics. I wrote a letter to my highschool self to open on graduation day including all of the things I wanted to accomplish in those 4 years.
Enter Highschool: A total blur of dancing, drama, my first serious boyfriend that I knew would be “the one” (thank GOODNESS I was wrong!) On graduation day, I opened the letter to find that I’d done all of the things I wrote in the letter.
Then college happened. My years at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point were some I will never forget. I almost switched my major halfway through college, got my dream job on campus, and spent three months in New York City for an internship. I was allowed to be myself. In fact, being weird was suddenly really cool. I started attracting my tribe. Some of whom are friends that are now like family. I experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows. But I graduated with hope in my heart and excitement to take on the world.
So to my younger self on the first day of school,
It’s ok to be different. In fact, it’s the best thing you could ever do for yourself. Hold your head up high and know that the best is yet to come. Take each day, month, and year with strength and grace. Know that people will come and go and that you will always be loved no matter what. Everything will change. Yet somehow, some things never change. Always remember to be true to yourself. Your were made to stand out in the crowd even though you spent most of your life trying to fit in. Amazing things will happen when you are your truest you.