Why I Befriended the Outcasts and Misfits

DSC05012 Why I Befriended the Outcasts and Misfits

After Junior High, my parents moved to a neighboring city, which meant a new group of kids and a new High School for me. In Jr. High I was part of the ‘popular crowd’.  But going into a new situation after our move, I was nervous and shy and scared out of my wits to make new friends.  The popular crowd tried to recruit me…

I was conventionally pretty, stylish, and I looked the part.  I should have fit right in.  But I resisted.  Invitations to football games, after-parties, lunch dates, all went unanswered by me.  One of the football players wanted to date me, and presumptively and self-righteously, I retorted that I would never give him what he wanted.

The truth is, I was scared to be in a situation that I didn’t know how to handle.  I didn’t drink and I wasn’t going to be having any sex.  I was a good Christian girl and I didn’t want to be in a position to have to say no.  All my old friends new this about me and accepted me for it.  But this was a whole new ballgame that I wasn’t prepared to play.

So instead, I clung to the misfits and outcasts and befriended the lonely.  I imagine it was just as challenging for me to befriend them, as it was for the popular kids to befriend me.  I didn’t look their part.  I bathed.  I read the Bible.  I didn’t wear black all the time.  And I was never found smoking at the Stoner’s bench on lunch breaks and after school. So I had to earn their trust and respect.

Though they smoked, drank, and did drugs, somehow, it was different.  They did those things to fill voids in their lives.  The popular crowd did those things to be cool.  At least, those were my perceptions.  I didn’t want to be cool. I wanted to connect with people and make a difference in others’ lives.  Some mistake my way of being then for altruism – but I do not fool myself.  I had my own masks like everyone else, and this was the one I was comfortable wearing.

Years later after high school, one of these so-called misfits tracked my parents down to find me.  He sent a box with a his cut off hair in a braid.  He was on his way to the army, and wanted to thank me for befriending him in high school.  So he gave me his hair.  Yeah, a little creepy.  But I received the sweet gesture behind it.

To this day I feel fiercely loyal to the underdog.  I know what it’s like to feel on the fringes of society, to not be sure where your place is, if you have a place at all.

Let’s make sure our kids know to be nice to outcasts, the fat kids, the weirdos; to stick up for the underdogs. They’ll gain respect for it and start a trend with their peers if they are not ashamed in doing it.  They may also change the course of somebody’s life by believing in them, and never even know it.

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9 Responses to Why I Befriended the Outcasts and Misfits

  1. sue digiovanni says:

    Oh Ang, I remember those times so well. And I remember Steve. He came to visit us several times and we became very fond of him.

    [Reply]

    angela Reply:

    @sue digiovanni, Wow, great memory you have (to remember his name)!

    [Reply]

  2. sue digiovanni says:

    Oh, and he talked about you so fondly and how much it meant to him that you sought him out and befriended him.

    [Reply]

  3. Cry says:

    This is one thing I have always taught my kids and they have such compassion for others. I also was the same way as you with my friends.
    I was a Rocker in highschool and it was a way to survive for me, i looked tuff, acted tuff but I was just this sad emotionally abused little girl that had a hard life at home and to those kids we see that look different or whatever, they are just trying to survive in my eyes, trying to find a path to acceptance and you gave that to those in school. I am the same way today, Its all about LOVE to me. Who did My Jesus hang out with? and asked why all the time. Because Jesus is LOVE. Good job my sister in Christ, Good-job!

    [Reply]

    angela Reply:

    @Cry, exactly! Everyone is just trying to find their way through different outlets -- but we’re all the same inside. We have the same needs, hopes, desires, fears, etc. We’d all stop being so afraid of ourselves and each other if we could just understand this. Glad your daughter like it and that you are teaching her well ;-)

    [Reply]

  4. Cry says:

    I just read it to my 12 year old daughter and she loved it!

    [Reply]

  5. julie moore says:

    Angela, I can so relate to this post as I always felt out of place in school. I was in the “middle” crowd. Not the popular, not the cool or uncool. I found it hard to fit in. Now I fit just fine because I find myself in Christ and who He has made me to be. Thanks for sharing. I love the realness of your writing.

    [Reply]

    angela Reply:

    @julie moore,
    Hi Julie! Thank you so much for visiting and commenting! Your compliments are appreciated and encouraging.

    Did you grow up Christian or did you find Christ later in life?

    [Reply]

    julie moore Reply:

    I grew up going to church off and on but became a believer in Christ at 21. However it wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally understood His true unconditional love for me. This changed my life forever. I no longer feel like a failure but a cherished child of God with a purpose and destiny. I teach women’s Bible studies and the first thing they hear is that they are loved by the God of the universe who gave His Son for them. Thanks for asking, as you can tell this is something i can talk about all day long.

    I read your testimony and have to admit I was taught the same things about Mormonism.

    @angela,

    [Reply]

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