to be or not to be...is popularity really worth it?

She puts on her makeup in the mirror, applying every stroke carefully; she couldn’t mess anything up. Two coats of mascara separated her lashes perfectly, but didn’t over-cloak her eyes. Light black eyeliner accented her crystal blue eyes without making her look like a child playing dress up. Swiping a single coat of clear lip gloss over her lips was the last step in her complete makeover, one step closer to popularity. Looking at her sweater she remembered how her best friend made it especially just for her. She loved it, but she knew they wouldn't,so she took it off and tossed it into her backpack. She looked at herself in the mirror one last time, brushed her hair back into an elegant ponytail, and went out the bathroom to the cafeteria. As she walked back to her lunch table she passed her old one, the one where all her old friends were at, including her best friend. They were laughing and flicking food at each other, a picture of happiness. Her best friend looked up and caught her gaze, and in that instant she could see sadness in her eyes; see the memories of their life together. She looked away and kept walking, she couldn't bear looking at her anymore, couldn't bear remembering. She wanted to go back, wanted to hug her. That was her best friend, but she was popular now and couldn't be seen with a freak...

From the moment we've stepped out of the closeted world called elementary and into the world of middle school, the idea of popularity has been hanging around our necks like an anchor. Time and time again we’ve seen the movies where the girl is unpopular and is looking from the outside in at the in crowd, wanting to be like them; which results in her cooking up a plan to make herself into the popular ones. Then there’s the glamorization that society puts on being popularity. Things like gorgeous looks and all the latest clothing styles, or that incredibly hot car that everybody wants but seems like only the most popular person in school has; not to mention the power that is given to the populars, power to rule the whole school. All these things and more create a driving need amongst teenagers to be part of the in crowd. But, my question is, is it really worth it?

I had a friend back in sixth grade. She was part of my posse, the outcasts or the uncool crowd, but as long as I could remember she had this desperate want to be part of the in crowd. It was like she wasn't satisfied with where she was, like she needed to fit in with them. Her thirteenth birthday came and one of her presents was a Hollister shirt. She was so excited about it, that was her ticket into the in crowd she would say. I guess she was right because they started noticing her and she began hanging out with them. That’s when the changing began. At first it was simple things, like straightening her curly red hair and wearing actual makeup. I didn't mind, I thought it was cool that she was experimenting with her looks, she looked gorgeous. But then more drastic changes started happening. She started acting dumb around the popular people, stooping down to their level. She would also ignore me as well as the rest of her friends, and blow us off. Becoming popular may have been the best thing that happened to her, but in order to gain that popularity she lost touch with her real friends; lost touch of herself.

I've come to realize that popularity is just a word. It doesn’t define who we are but rather what people think we are. It doesn’t define our character or make it any better. In fact it can make our character rather worse if we let it. Who we are is defined by our actions, by our thoughts and feelings, by our personality, not by what people think or by how many people know us. I challenge you. I challenge you to look around your group of friends. Look at how they adore and love you, look at how they treat you. Popularity is a subjective thing. It changes based on who's looking at it. Sure, the in crowd at your school may not like you or think very much about you, but the people you hang out with on a daily basis think the exact opposite. In their eyes you’re a diamond shining in the sun. The situation can be reversed. For example, people in the in crowd are accepted by others in the in crowd, making them popular there, but your group of friends may want to have nothing to do with them and could care less about them. Popularity is just like clothes, coming in many forms amongst different people. You may adore that band t-shirt you have on while the next person thinks its gross. Life is not about being loved by everyone; no that is impossible as nobody likes everybody. Life is about happiness, about sharing memories with the ones you love. Life is about love and sharing it with the people who love you the most, in a single word: living. Life is so short, it could end the next day or even in the next minute. I don't know about you but I don't wanna waste such a precious thing completely changing myself and who I am so that people will like me more, or so that I could fit in. If I did that I could die without a sense of knowing who I am as a person because I changed so many times. I wouldn’t want that, would you? So is popularity really worth it?





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