Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Just Wanted to Be Good...

I was IMing with someone I knew from my teenage years at church the other day on Facebook. Said-person-from-my-past began to "explain" to me how he and apparently "everybody else from our youth-group" (according to him) thought I was a SNOB during those years.

"Me?" I questioned in disbelief. "A Snob?"

"Yep," he replied matter-of-factly. "You always had this air about you that you were better than the rest of us; or that you thought you were."

I told him...with honest sincerity...

"I am sorry if you thought I was being a snob. But here is what you should know about me. I wanted soooo badly to fit in with the other youth. However, I had 1 sister who was 11 months older and another sister just 12 months younger. And believe it or not, there was not one other girl that was my age. They were either in the older or the younger sibling's grade or Sunday School class, and I just sort of felt left out."

There was one girl, when I was like 5. Laura Lee Lewis. But then her family moved away. And then there was another girl, Carla , but they moved away too when I was still young. When I was 11 a new family moved in. Heidi became my best friend. But shortly thereafter the church building was busting at the seams... and it was already a NEW building. So, they split us up geographically into what we call "wards". Those living in one geographic location were asked to attend the ward at 9am while those living in the other were asked to attend at 11am. This would allow room for everyone. Heidi lived on the complete opposite side of the county, which meant we were split up. In my journal I had even written I was feeling a little "out in left-field" at church and how trying to hang out with either of my sisters' friends felt like I was intruding. It seemed at times my only friends were the children I babysat for, their parents, and my youth leaders.

And as far as "thinking I was better than everyone else", well let me just say that I just wanted to be good. I wanted to be a good Christian. I wanted to be obedient to my parents. I wanted to Choose the Right. I never meant to come off as self-righteous or anything. More so, I was always striving to find perfection in myself, because that is what I thought I was supposed to do. By no means, did I ever have intentions of disregarding anyone or their feelings in the process.

Anyway, this little "revelation" by Said-person-from-my-past-#1 sort of bothered me. Thus, when I was IMing another -person-from-my-past, I told him what I had learned. He said, "I never thought you were snobby. More like, "untouchable". It seemed you were only interested in guys from the other wards." I explained to Said-person-from-my-past-#2, the reason for that was because the boys in our ward were already preoccupied with the other girls. So, I felt like I needed to look elsewhere... (especially after my first love in my ward- broke my heart. Hey, I was only 15... that's a hard thing to recover from.)

I suppose most of it was just this internal desire to push myself. I always felt like I had to push myself to do better; to be better. I still do that to this day. If I think something is important, or worth the risk, I am extremely persistent at it.

I don't know why, but I just felt like I had to defend myself to both of these people from my past. I guess I felt that if any of them truly knew my heart (then AND now), that perhaps they would have seen that I just wanted to be good, I just wanted to be liked, and I just wanted to fit in. They may have also found out that I have a basic love for all people. I talk to anyone and everyone, anywhere...seriously. My kids think it's an illness. (How do you know that woman mom? me: What Woman? them: The one you were talking to in line at the grocery store. me:I don't know her...)

Lesson we've all heard before? Don't judge a book by it's cover. Simply Said, "Christianity 101".

19 comments:

Dianne said...

Why do we care so much about what people (who do not matter in our lives)think about us? As I have gotten older, I find myself looking at my kids, knowing what they are going thru, and wishing they could learn that those people really don't matter. To not worry about them or let them hurt you. You could not pay me to go back to those youth group ages! kids can be so cruel. Unfortunately, even some adults never grow out of that stage either.

springbubble said...

i can relate to that. what's so sad is that some people just rely on their first impressions, they don't bother to get to know 'us' better. had they tried to dig deeper they would discover how good people we really are inside and how we in fact wanted to gain friends and fit in. well, emma, deep people are always judged that way..[wink wink].

Deborah said...

I can relate. I was always shy--painfully shy--but apparently I did a good job of hiding my insecurities and anxieties. Too good of a job. People always thought I was stuck up because I didn't talk to them, when the truth was that I had no idea what to say to them, was terrified of making a fool of myself, and actually thought that they were better than I was. It took a lot of growing and learning to get me to the point where I could talk to people at all, and even now, I'm quiet by nature. Hopefully you're feeling a bit more like you fit in now and don't have the same issues that you had as a kid.

Kaye Butler said...

On of my faults is caring what people think about me. I grew up with a mother that made a fool out of our family every chance she got. I really think she did not realize what she was doing. This makes me worry all the time what people are thinking about me. I also feel like I have to defend everything I do. I can't just do it and move on.

Debbi said...

honestly, I had the complete opposite. Everyone on FB tells me how much they thought I was cool and how much they liked me or wanted to be like me.

And I? I felt like a total loser that no one liked and I felt like I didn't fit in ANYWHERE.

Weird what youth perceive in themselves, and even weirder what they perceived in others.

Megs said...

They're idiots. What they meant was that they had crushes on you and their own hormones and puberty issues they blamed on you.

You're awesome. I think that we all need to do what you said and give each other the benefit of the doubt. Instead of thinking people are stuck up why don't we instead talk to them?

RhondaLue said...

I love this post. I also feel that if we could just see what another person's heart contains...we'd all just love eachother (mostly).

I never had anyone my age at church that went to my same school. All the other kids grew up in the same neighborhood/elementary school and I always felt like I fit in better with the girls just older or just younger. In fact, i actually quit going to MY Sunday school class and went to the younger one where I had friends. they let me so I appreciated that.

I sometimes feel like I have to defend myself too but like you, honestly relating your feelings is the best way to conquer those things that other people think/thought of us.

ann said...

thanks for this post! I think we all felt this way as youth! The funny thig is we all looked up to you! not that you were to much older than i but we all thought you were pretty COOL!!
I remember when the wards split!! I thought i lost my best friends for ever! I'm glad to say all turned out OK!

I have to say i do wonder who the to boys were?

EmmaP said...

I will give this little update... So a 3rd guy from back home read this and then emailed me and said..."most of the guys wanted to date you, but *they* weren't good enough for you because you had standards and the two you are talking about didn't have standards. So instead of admitting that you were out of their league, it was easier to call you a snob." I thought that was sweet. And it made my day. Honestly, even though I felt slightly insecure about where I fit in at church, I never let it stop me from being who I was. And now, I still don't fit the typical "Mormon mommy mold" but I do not let that stop me from being who I am. :)

BlueCastle said...

I was very shy and quiet as a child and have heard people tell me I was "miss goody-two-shoes", when in fact, I was just scared and unsure of social situations. Kids can be so cruel, but I really like what Dianne wrote in her comment - those people don't matter anymore.

Ruthykins said...

well, i had an experience from the other side of the coin. when i was a teenager there was a girl who started coming to church with us. she was new and very pretty and funny. all the boys liked her. she seemed so out of my league as a friend that i never tried to be nice to her. meaning, i felt i was beneath her. apparently, no other girls tried to be nice to her either. as a senior in high school i got thrown together with her a lot at church. she told me how she used to go home and cry every sunday because she had no friends and that she was so glad that now i was her friend. i was shocked! i always thought that she was so confident. i thought she just hung out with the boys because they all liked her. i never knew that she wanted girl friends, too. anyway, i guess what i'm saying is that we never know what anybody's secret thoughts are. since this girl, i try to be nice to everyone.

Betty said...

This is second blog I´ve read on this topic today. Maybe it´s supposed to tell me something?
Great post!

I´m back to blogging. Hope you pop on by!

Susie said...

Isn't it weird to hear about yourself through other people's experience? If you were so "unapproachable" how sad for everyone else you didn't have the courage to break through that to get to know you.

lilianril said...

I think growing up we all just try to fit in. I know I did. I was just kind of a drifter. I would hang out with one group of people for a while, then start to feel like I didn't fit in, so I'd move on to the next group. I think self-confidence is one of the hardest things to learn in life. I'm still working on it most days!

Puphigirl said...

While you were trying to fit in with 'my' church friends, I was always trying to fit in with the school friends. Since we were in choir and such we had some of the same friends. But I always felt that they were more 'your' friends.

purplehaze said...

Right on that is so true people judge other people when they don't even know them. I always got from people they thought I was a snob until they got to know me and relized I was really shy. They never get the concept of not judging a book by its cover.

Tamie said...

i'm sure that since it came from both males from your past...they just knew that you "were" too good for them ;-)
isn't it a good thing that we have chance, time and opporunity to change who we are and BE the person that is inside? age baby--all age related.

Megan said...

It's interesting to hear what people thought of us from when we're younger. Nice that someone else let you in on what the truth was. ;0)

I'd be interested to hear what people thought of me when I was younger. I think I was a brat. LOL

Yaya said...

Definitely a good lesson. All of my best friends, and even my husband, have told me that before they fully met me they thought I was a b^tch. You see, I'm just really shy when I meet new people, and I guess that can rub people the wrong way.