*Warning. I feel an emotional post coming on…*
I have never really liked the word “community”. I didn’t really know why I disliked the word until it hit me about two years ago- I disliked “community” because it has always struck me as false and insincere.
Those of you who know me may already know of the unending warfare that makes itself at home between my parents and I. For those of you who don’t know, my parents and I haven’t gotten along for quite a while. To call our interactions “communication” is laughable; gunfire is a more correct term. Most times, the shots hit their mark, and sometimes, they miss. Despite being the firstborn, I come in third, after my sister and brother, and it seems as if I am never good enough for my parents (if it sounds like I’m over-victimizing myself…oh well). Last year, I realized that I was tired of constantly hearing frustrated sighs and implied comparisons to my siblings in the same sentence as my name.
I realized that I can’t always please people and I was done trying to get things right. It is because of this reality that I have an even clearer sense of how imperfect everyone is, and that there is no remedy to that imperfection other than accepting one another.
In my previous schools before Rosslyn Academy, I was one of the most popular girls in class, let alone all of elementary and middle school (“Wow,” you might say, “Angel really doesn’t seem like the type of girl who would be popular!” Despite the shade you just threw my way, I completely understand your state of perplexity). In my last school, I was part of a pretentious quintet of girls that ruled seventh grade. I had privileged friends, 40% of the boys in the class liked me (60% liked my best friend, Amy *insert eye roll here*), and I was a straight A (+) student.
Towards the end of seventh grade, I broke away from the “in-crowd” in order to think about whether I truly wanted to spend the rest of middle and high school as a malicious snob. During that time, all but two (shout-outs to Gifty and Tae) of my so called friends stopped talking to me and my popularity declined faster than Justin Bieber’s ego after being roasted. After four years of being together, my friends, the people I called my rocks, deserted me, and I didn’t belong anywhere. This was one of the factors in my transformation from an outgoing, brazen girl, to a hesitant, quiet character.
This feeling of disconnect carried over when I moved to Rosslyn. I had no real friends for two years. Finally, tenth grade arrived, and for the first time in a long time, I had genuine friends- friends who didn’t care whether I was popular or not. I started talking to people I didn’t think I would ever be willing to talk to. Because of these friends, and the laughter, joy and pure love they shared with me, I am reassured everyday that despite my many self-deprecating feelings, I belong somewhere.
I’m still apprehensive toward “community”, however, I do have believe that people who will love you unconditionally and make sure you know that you belong are perhaps, some of the most valuable treasures life has to offer.