Students on social fringe should stay true to themselves

Maegan Kabel, Website Editor

Before we start, let me make something clear: I’m not claiming to be a victim, nor am I writing this for pity.
It’s simply my story — a story I’m hoping will help others.
Let’s start at the beginning.
At the end of eighth grade, my two friends moved to different states. Starting high school alone almost incapacitated me.
My parents reassured me that, in high school, groups would reform, and I would make new friends.
They were wrong.
People from the different schools already knew each other, and I felt completely alone.
I wasn’t an outgoing person, and any hope of finding friends was lost.
I went through my schedule without saying a word to anyone.
When the bell rang at 2:50, I left through the 200 hall doors and walked to the corner where my mom picked me up.
I would go home and go straight to my room. Sometimes I did homework. Most of the time, I was in bed staring at my ceiling or in the shower, crying.
As days turned into weeks, rolling out of bed in the mornings took more effort.
I was miserable at school, but didn’t think I had a reason to be — I wasn’t pushed into lockers or teased. I was just lonely, which didn’t seem like enough to merit feeling bad.
To try to cope, I turned to self-injury. I accumulated scars and Band-Aids under my clothes, no one noticing but me.
As weeks turned into months, I became suicidal. Trying to create four-year plans was futile. I could barely imagine living into tomorrow, much less the next four years.
I wasn’t happy, and I didn’t think I ever would be.
After one student reached out to me, things turned around. By sophomore year, I had a group of friends.
My phone constantly buzzed with texts, and I had weekend plans.
I thought I’d found happiness. But something still didn’t quite feel right. Even in a group of friends, I still felt alone.
Now, let’s fast-forward to this year.
I’m a senior. I have two good friends, but no group of people with whom I click. I’m virtually in the same social situation I was my freshman year: I come to school, go through the motions and go home. But I’m not depressed about the situation.
Let me explain.
I know depression can be debilitating. I know what it’s like to walk the halls alone or to be in a group of people but feel like you can’t truly relate to anyone.
You’re physically included, but emotionally alone.
I think there are more of us out there than it seems, and I’m here to tell you that it gets better, and high school isn’t worth giving up your happiness or your life.
Adults told me this, but I never believed them. I hope hearing it from a high school student will make it stick.
I’m not going to say, “Keep your head up and smile.” I know, when you’re there, every breath is difficult.
Just remember: it isn’t about who is turning around in class to talk to you, how many people walk the hallways with you or how often your phone is ringing with texts.
It is about who you are, what you do and what you believe.
It took almost four years for me to realize that happiness starts with being happy with myself.
The light at the end of the tunnel is easier to see when you spend your time doing something you love, even if it isn’t popular. There will always be someone who will look down on you because of your interests.
Don’t worry about them. Don’t change for them.
Once you embrace who you are, friends will fall into place, even if they aren’t in high school. As I’ve started expressing interests I used to hide, I’ve found college students who are just as, if not more, passionate than I am.
Try not to let the lonely days eat away at you until it seems there is only one way out. Hang on until you can get out of the high school hierarchy and find other people you may relate to.
The stress and pains of today are worth enduring because you’ll be around to experience life when it opens up beyond Blue Valley.
And, who knows — maybe someday you can share your story and create hope for someone else.