I was reasonably popular in primary school. Hung out with I guess you could say the cool kids, though we didn’t really think like that. We just played brandings and kiss and catch, and I probably spent more time pondering the mystery of why I kept getting caught when I KNEW I could run faster than Emma, than I did caring about whether we were cool or not.
But then in high school, people changed. I didn’t relate to the cool kids anymore, talking about sex and AIDS and other things I didn’t understand. And suddenly people were mean. To me. I didn’t like them. And I didn’t like that they were mean to some other kids who I actually found more interesting. More like me.
So I left the cool kids, and I started hanging out in the library and playing dungeons and dragons and talking about Asimov and walkalators and though this led to me being a target by the cool kid bullies, these were my people.
I didn’t know I wanted to belong. In fact, I was actively seeking NOT to belong – with the cool kids. With the status quo. With the masses. I defined myself precisely by being different from the others. So did my little band of fellow nerds.
We all want to belong. Somewhere. With someone.
But it’s okay if we don’t belong everywhere.