It's strange. All of my life it seems like I've struggled to find that place where I "fit". Some of it was my family. I mean, when you are the ONLY redhead and the middle child, that's already two strikes! It doesn't help I have a supersmart, beautiful older sister and a supersmart younger brother. I was always the average student who struggled to get decent grades. Most of the struggling to fit in happened at school, though. When I started elementary school I always thought I was friendly (Lord knows I was talkative.) I tried to befriend most people. But, I always seemed to fall just short of being part of the "in" crowd. You know, the girls who stood together and did cheers for the popular boys while they played basketball or football; the girls that had huge, elaborate slumber parties. I had friends that belonged, but when it came to me being PART of that crowd, I just never was. Once grade school and junior high hit, we really had our niches cut out. While I went through a horribly homely stage (hair turning curly, braces, glasses, the whole bit), the In girls were "blossoming" and starting to wear make-up. When it came time for cheerleader try-outs, it was pointless. Though many of us wanted it, we all knew who would get it. I'll never forget during junior high, some high school members of SADD came over and gave a performance. My sister was part of that performance. Later in the hallway I overheard some of the boys discussing her and one of the made a comment, "Her sister is so hot! I wonder what the hell happened to Marissa." And they all started laughing. For a teenage girl struggling to find herself, that was a heartbreaking blow. High school was a little better, but I still lived in the shadow of my sister. (She was obviously an IN girl.) Teachers often compared me to her. I had guys date me to try and get closer to her, or they would date me because they'd always had a thing for her. But again, I just never measured up the the 5'9" blond. But, I was making my own path. I participated in drama and thespians and debate. I became active in FHA and traveled. I proved that I could dance, too. But even being part of those clubs, I was still on the outskirts of "in". Though towards the end, I really didn't care about being popular. I had a core group of friends, and that was more than I could have asked for. (They still are to this day.)
So, here I am today. 30 years old and still trying to figure out how to fit in and still living in the shadow of Rachael. I'm so not kidding. For instance, one of the officers I work with had a serious crush on her growing up. She was "#1" for him. So, he lovingly refers to me as..."#2". (Seriously people...everytime he says it, it makes me think of poop. And who wants to live being referred to as poop?) Living in her shadow doesn't bother me so much now because I've got plenty to be proud of. But feeling socially inept at 30 is another thing. I think part of it goes back to my line of work. I spend 40+ hours a week speaking code or talking to complete fucktards on the phone. I have found a great group of women/moms and I am finally feeling like maybe I have somewhere that I belong...and maybe I finally am fitting in.