While growing up I was never a cool kid. I was never invited to parties or asked to sit at the popular table in the cafeteria. But I was perfectly okay with not being apart of the in crowd. I did not see people as being either popular or unpopular, druggies or geeks, bandies or thespians. I saw everyone as people. I did not place people into labeled boxes or nice neat categories. Everyone was just a kid like I was, and I knew they were just trying to figure out who they were and where they fit in. They experienced the same pains I did, felt awkward at times, and even out of place. I knew we all were the same once the outer surfaces were scratched away and the true heart was revealed.
However, it has recently been pointed out to me by a few of my closest colleagues that I am one of the “popular” teachers at school. I was shocked to hear that because never in a million years would I have imagined being considered cool! I have always been ‘nerd and proud’ and rarely have I ever cared about how others viewed me in popularity. Obviously, due to my anxiety issues I tend to feel uncomfortable when someone is upset with me, but I never cared much about fitting in. It just seems completely foreign to have people look up to me..
I have been reflecting about this conversation and trying to figure out why people are viewing me in this different light. My priorities and values have not changed much since high school, and I have never sought coolness or popularity, so I was curious as to why people saw me this way. Upon reflection, I believe students and a few other faculty members see me as being someone they want to be around, because I do not judge others. I will talk to anyone and everyone. I treat everyone with the respect they deserve, even if they do not show it to me. Again, I believe we are all the same behind the walls we hide behind. I think that the students and other teachers see my attitude and feel safe being around me because they know I will not judge them. They know that I will love them no matter what.
It is just interesting that popularity is such a coveted thing within human nature, and people are willing to change who they are to achieve it. However, I am learning that if you just be yourself people will sense your realness and want to be around you. Do not hid behind fake personalities or bitchiness just to fit in. Be yourself. Good and bad. People will respect you for it, and you will begin to love yourself.