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Alice Yang
Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a student at Stephen F. Austin High School-FBISD.

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.
 
The ugly ducklings  

When I was about to walk inside the cafeteria doors for lunch one day, I saw two kids sitting motionless, side by side on the outside bench, staring out into space with their backs to the window.

A boy. A girl. A foot apart. Frumpy clothes. Orange-red hair. High-wired jeans. They weren’t eating. They weren’t talking. Just sitting there, eyes glazed, and behind them through the window, a whole cafeteria of roaring noise and movement and laughter.

I immediately thought, wow, high school must be hell for them. Going through that everyday, sitting there, without friends, without laughter, amidst a mob of talking thousands. I immediately felt pity.

But now, thinking about it, I shouldn’t pity people I don’t know. I shouldn’t judge them by a single glance. Sure they are loners, but they may not want my pity. I only pitied them because I knew I would never be able to live in their positions. And somehow, they are stronger than me in that sense. And then I felt respect.

Anyone who’s ever felt like there’s something missing in the traditional sports-playing, pep-rallying, club-volunteering high school suburbia has felt this kind of loneliness. Anybody who hasn’t worn the blond-highlights, the Abercrombies, the cucumber-melon scented hand lotions has felt this kind of estrangement.

Those that fit in, kudos to them. They’ve found contentment and belonging at an age so young, something that we as humans are forever trying to find. But for those that don’t, high school is merely an awkward stage in life, a growing pain that will ease once the more tolerant adult world opens up.

How many times at high school reunions have the nerds and freaks turned out to be the most rich and successful and beautiful-looking people? How many times have we taunted them and judged them outwardly or inside our heads back in those four years?

We don’t know them, their inner drama, or dysfunctional family, or life and friends outside of school. We don’t know them, save for the surface observations made during the eight-hour school day.

We judge them, not by their personalities, but by their behaviors in a crowd. Then, suddenly, labels fly, names are called, prejudices made.

I judged them too. In my head, I immediately thought them weird because they had no friends to eat lunch with, because they didn’t belong.

I shouldn’t have, because everyone goes through a stage of estrangement in life. If not now, then later. Better now, than later.

But I have no doubt that these people, these nonconformists, these nerds, these freaks, these beautiful loners will find a content and comfortable place they will one day call home. They will fit in, thrive, and have truly meaningful relationships, something so rare in the desperation of high school as well as the adult world.

They will one day be part of the pack, and may even be the swans.

Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star. She is a student in FBISD.

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   Last Update:  May 02, 2007