I just turned 14 but I don’t think I fit in anywhere. I have friends but I’m not like them. I play sport too but I feel different to the other girls, they all seem to get each other and I feel like I’m on the outside. Sometimes I say things that I don’t mean because I think it’s something that they’d say but I don’t like when I do that. Is this normal???
Thanks so much for getting in touch! I’m so glad you brought this story to me because it’s really important…and common! Much more common than you would think. Although it probably doesn’t feel that way to you…
When you look around, all you see are girls who seem to have it together, right? They seem totally at ease with themselves and who they are. They seem to get each other and they seem to know what to say and do all the time. They seem to know the “rules” and they seem to get it right all the time. And you might say but Steph, they really do! But I bet if you asked every girl you know, the majority would say they get confused sometimes. Confused about who they are, what they believe in, what’s right and wrong, who’s friends with who, and what they “should” be saying or doing. (By the way, some adults feel this way too!)
At 14, you’re taking in so much information, school is still relatively new because you’re probably in 2nd year. You’ve spent the last year adjusting to a new school, new teachers, new subjects, maybe a new journey to school, or a bus, a new uniform, timetables, lockers, books, books, and more books! On top of all that, there are new people, new friends, new groups…you might have moved from the country to a town, or from a mixed school to an all-girls school, or vice versa. And as if all of that wasn’t enough to be going on with, your body and mind are also in full-on growth mode! Firing off new thoughts, questions, and neural circuits every single minute. It’s a lot for one little person and it’s totally normal to feel outside of yourself, never mind other people.
Something you mentioned in your email really struck me…“I have friends but I’m not like them”. You’re not meant to be like them, you’re meant to be you 😊
At 14, all you want to do is find your tribe, connect with them, and blend in, and that’s totally normal. And when we’re unsure of ourselves, which, believe it or not, most 14-year-olds are, we do a lot of blending. We try on a few different versions of ourselves…or maybe a lot of different versions. What happens when we do that? We experiment! We express it through our clothes, our hair, our make-up, our decisions, our friend groups, and our behaviours. And again, this is totally normal. But in all of that experimenting, don’t forget your true self. Who’s she? Does she even exist yet? Yes, she does, she’s always there in the background – she’s the voice that says, “I don’t like when I do that”. Listen to her when you’re feeling lost, disconnected, and alone. That’s the real you. And the more you get to know her, and express who she is, the happier you will be, and the easier it will be for your tribe to find you. Because what we really want in a friend is realness and kindness, and when we’re being our true selves, that shines through.
It takes courage and bravery to be your true self. It’s not easy and we know that. We think that if we stand out from the crowd that we’ll be judged, or laughed at, or isolated, which is terrifying right?! That’s why we hide. But, if you can find moments where you can start to be your true self, go for it. Take every opportunity. Because every time you do, you blaze a trail for others to do the same. And that’s when we all shine in our uniqueness; bright, colourful, and different.
“Everyone being different is what is really beautiful. If we were all the same, it would be boring.” – Tila Tequila.