Monday, June 16, 2008

Fitting in

Peer pressure is enormous, particularly when one is young and on the verge of blossoming into adulthood.

I was struck this morning by my blogger friend's post, wherein she describes what she knows of her 13-year-old daughter's very recent experience at a birthday party.

The more I continued to read, the more horrified (that is NOT too strong a word!) I became at what all seemed to occur at this party. To say that I could hardly believe it would be an understatement.

Those years ... 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, maybe even 17 ... are horRENdous in retrospect (at least for me!). SO much peer pressure. So much need for belonging, for 'fitting in'.

I was not 'popular' in junior high or high school. This was due (I can see it clearly now in retrospect) to several different things: 1) My upbringing. 2) My parents' strictness. 3) My religious beliefs. 4) My looks (not ugly, but no big boobies, either, which seemed to be very important -- certainly to me --at the time). 5) My own insecurities.

#5, actually, is the most pertinent in my case. (And, I must say, I didn't develop a healthy 'sense of self' until many, many years later!!)

When I went to college at Northern Michigan University (only 42 miles away from my hometown, but it might as well have been another world!), it was almost like being 'born again'. I do not mean that to be a sacrilegious statement of any sort, please do not misunderstand.

Suzanne (Suzette?) -- and, of course, I forget her last name -- from my hometown nominated me for membership in Delta Sigma Nu, a prestigious sorority at NMU. I was thrilled beyond belief!

The next couple of years were spent 'basking' in my newly-found popularity. I wasn't the 'big girl on campus' or anything like that, but I WAS "popular".

It wasn't until my senior year at NMU that I wrote an official letter to the Delta sorority, requesting a discontinuation of my membership and affiliation with them. I had only recently become fully aware of their 'snobbism', and no longer wished to be associated with such an organization. My wishes were granted.

You know, I can look upon all this from many, many years in retrospect, and be sorry/glad for my decision. It was what it was. It is what it is.

The reason for THIS post is that I strongly identify with Katie's longing to be a part of the group, to 'fit in', as it were.

I am so glad that she had a solid home wherein she felt she could (and DID!) safely retreat.


Craig Peihopa said...

Wonderful post Goldenrod, one we can all relate to I submit.

Tammy said...

Yes, it's something we've all gone through, and yet it never gets any easier.

Thank you for your support.

Goldenrod said...

Particularly when it's YOUR child who is victimized and hurt. Gets you right in the pit of your stomach.