Reflections of a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl
Lost in the BackdropSince the start of freshmen year, I have always been surrounded by the same group of friends, albeit with a few minor changes here and there. I had always been hugely appreciative of being a part of this group, for unlikely many other 17 year old girls, I had never felt pressured to change my interests or personality, nor had I been involved in much drama or teenage-girl betrayal. Not to say that our friendships did not have flaws, but I had always felt a content sense of belonging along these peers.
Now I am not sure what happened precisely, but long story short, I felt a growing distance between me and those who I had before felt as one with. At lunch I would be surrounded by familiar faces, yet I felt utterly alone. I could no longer understand the majority of my friends, and they certainly did not understand me.
Before going further, it is important to note that I am not blaming anyone. I have never felt personally attacked by these people, for they did nothing directly to harm me and had no intentions of harming me. For a good amount of time I loved each and every one of these friends, and I felt a warm content being around them. But people change, and it became more and more obvious that I could no longer try to keep those friendships.
The more time I spent with them, the more I noticed that their actions did not align with their words. My previous sense of belonging within their group faded each day, yet I desperately wanted to fit in again. I had talked to these people for the past three years and I had grown so comfortable around them, but now I just felt confused. I watched as they scolded others for “not being nice”, yet stood by quietly when a romantic interest repeatedly called a peer “so stupid you could hit her head with a rock and she wouldn’t notice”. I watched as they spouted out their own “personal values” of being a “judgment-free zone”, and then dismissed all who had opinions that did not agree with theirs as “ignorant” and “close-minded”. I watched as they prided themselves on maturity and fairness while overlooking and making exceptions for the deep flaws of the people they claimed to love, yet barely knew. The more I watched, the sicker I felt. I felt suffocated in the middle of this group of blindly hypocritical people. Nonetheless, I held on for sentimental reasons. Before long, I was completely lost in this sea of people I could not connect to.
I did not realize until I was in the hospital that these people were not everything and I did not have to be around them. I learned that there were indeed worse things than being alone. Why should I be surrounded by people who make me want to disappear? There were people beyond this circle who were genuine and caring, and I realized that I deserved to meet them, and they would be worth waiting for.
“There is something demoralizing about watching two people get more and more crazy about each other, especially when you are the only extra person in the room. It's like watching Paris from an express caboose heading in the opposite direction--every second the city gets smaller and smaller, only you feel it's really you getting smaller and smaller and lonelier and lonelier, rushing away from all those lights and excitement at about a million miles an hour.”
- The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath