I have always been a misfit. You know…the awkward one…the one who doesn’t quite fit in no matter where they go. There was no place where my social standing was more apparent than in high school. People would talk about me in whispers that happened to be loud enough for me to hear. “She has a nice body, but…” or “She’s so smart, but…” There was always the “but”, and most of the time the “but” either referred to the way I talked or the way I looked. “She talks like a white girl.” “She think she's white.” “She’s ugly.” “Yo, she got a lazy eye.” All those comments were the bane of my existence and tore my fragile psyche apart.
I felt out of place around black folk the most. Black people have no qualms telling you about yourself to your face or gossiping about you behind your back. I know, I know…you would say all races do this, but I’m not part of all races. I’m part of the black race, so I can only speak from that perspective. Typically, white people put on a façade for the sake of niceities, but black folk tell it like it is and we are often our own worse enemy. I see it all the time when we hate on one another because of the never-ending variety of skin tones we possess, our hair, etc.
Back in high school, I was the target of snickers, hurtful gestures, nasty comments. It was always because I didn’t have the up-to-date fashions, couldn’t afford to get my hair done in the latest styles, or sometimes it was because I refused to keep up with the “in” thing. So what did I do? I found like-minded black people…black people like me—those who were on the fringes, who didn’t fit in—those who cared more about what you were on the inside, rather than how you looked on the outside. They often had one trait that society deemed “wrong” with them…bad acne, overweight, etc. We formed our own little clique, a clique where all of us could feel at home.
Then I went to college and my circle expanded. I came across people from other races who were on the outside of their own cultural circles and we bonded, attracted to each other like magnets. One was a gay white man, another was an awkward Jewish girl, a heavy-set Latino guy, a nerdy black guy…the list goes on. We formed our own little group where we loved one another regardless of our background.
I no longer have the desire to fit in…to be part of the in-crowd. Well, actually, I never had the desire to be part of their circle. I may have been envious of the perks they got: the invitations to parties, the admiration of society, etc., but I didn’t really have the desire to fit in with them because I knew they were in a perpetual (yet futile) race to stay popular, something I wasn’t interested in doing.
Let me end by saying that I love my race. I just wish we could be more open to those of us who don’t fit the bill of the “perfect prototype” that many people admire: the video vixen, the baller, etc. Let’s expand our notion of what we can and should be. I’m glad I was part of the misfit circle. I wouldn’t be the wonderful person I am on the inside (as well as the outside) if I wasn’t part of that group…a group of misfits.