Realities of Being an ‘Outcast’

Realities of Being an Outcast

What does it feel like being an outcast? How does it feel being the ‘misfit’ of the school? Why do people often bully the outcast? 

From switching schools and being bullied growing up, I could tell you that being an outcast has its benefits and disadvantages. Now I’m not talking about the infamous character Jughead Jones from Riverdale, I’m talking about being an outcast in real life. Being the quiet girl who no one wants to sit next to. Being the girl who doesn’t share common interests with almost anyone. Being the girl who hides in the bathroom during lunch at her new school. So how do us ‘outcasts’ deal with life at school and other social situations? 

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, The most often reason why students have been reported bullied, was because of their appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, or sexual orientation. So in other words, as long as you show the slightest bit of difference from everyone else, you are at serious risk of being bullied. 

One thing that I can definitely confirm, is that being an outcast has its benefits. Look, as long as you can put the “having no friends” part aside, being the ‘odd man out’ isn’t so bad. Think about it, I get to observe people and see how they work. Not only that, but I grew empathy and compassion for the differences in people. This has made me the person I am today. This has made me a better writer. This has made me feel less bad about being so different from everyone else.

I never understood why I was the one who got picked on. I never understood why I was always the one sitting alone. I never understood why no one wanted to invite me anywhere. As many benefits there are to being an outcast, there are some dark truths that no one speaks about. The dark truth that is left out of movies and television shows. The dark truth that is left out of social media and new trends. Everyone talks about how ‘cool’ it is to be an outcast, but not the pain and sadness that comes with it.

For me, being an outcast meant being rejected everyday. It meant being thrown aside when I’d find the courage to speak up. It meant being shoved by people who just didn’t like me. It meant switching schools 5 times and never being able to settle down. It’s more than just throwing on some edgy makeup and posting it online. It’s having to wake up KNOWING it’s going to be a bad day all over again. Seriously, it seemed like the outcast trope had followed me everywhere I went. Like there was a big “don’t talk to me” sign on my forehead. Like I was some sort of odor that drove people away from me.

Whether you fit into the athlete or nerd category, it really doesn’t matter. Those idiotic tropes only divide us and makes us want to compare our social status. They only make us feel like we are either higher or lower than one another. 

But who knows, maybe one day it will change. Maybe one day there won’t be students hiding in the bathroom stall, terrified to leave. Maybe one day students won’t have to wake up knowing that it’s going to be a bad day. Maybe one day students won’t be shoved for being the pariah of the school. Maybe one day, all students across the campus will look at one another as the same, just another student at their school.

The lonely man is like fire without fireplace.” -Alexander Tomov