Why wasn't I liked in school? What did I do wrong?
Even though I am a big fan of 80's music and TV shows, the truth is, though the 1980's are long gone, a deep part of me still feels an intense resentment for that era with an anger and hurt that's indescribable. During that decade, I suffered so much and so long, more than words could ever describe. It's a miracle I ever made it through alive. Seriously. I guess you could say that this is the core "baggage" that I carry.
Every single frickin day I felt so miserable and insecure. It was horrible, like an asylum I was forced to go to. The kids around me seemed so fake and hostile. They picked on me and made me feel bad. Yet what did I ever do to deserve it? And cliques seemed so stuck up and unfriendly.
I mean, honestly, I was kind, friendly, sincere, courteous, polite, intelligent, good natured, etc. so what was wrong with me? You'd think that someone with such qualities would be well liked by everyone and have a lot of friends right? So why was I disliked and made to feel insecure and miserable everyday? It never made any frickin sense and defied all reason!
Our common sense assumes that if you are friendly, helpful, and nice to others, you will be liked and have friends. And there is even an adage that says, "To have a friend, you must be a friend." So why wasn't that ever true for me?! What was the problem?!
Amazingly, even though it runs contrary to logic, one CAN be nice, friendly, outgoing, open and sincere, yet have NO FRIENDS in America and American high school! Many assume such a thing would be impossible, yet it is possible and it happened to me! This speaks volumes about how dysfunctional and insane American culture and high school are.
Yet what could I do about it? The schools and teachers had no formula that you could follow to be "popular, liked or accepted in school". They simply gave you assignments, tests, and made you take tedious notes everyday. That was their job. They had no solution for the insane social conditions of the school environment or how to deal with it. You were on your own. You either figured it out, or you suffered and became a loser/freak. No one was there to help you. Wonderful...
Whenever I tell people in other countries about such insane conditions in America and its schools, and how one could be friendly, open and sincere, yet have no friends, leading to insecurity and misery everyday, they are usually shocked and can't relate. The fragmentation of the ego which makes one feel constantly insecure and disconnected, seems to be a phenomenon that is unique to the US (though it is never publicly acknowledged).
I simply had no place in high school, not even with the nerds. I didn't belong there. How could I belong there? People were so fake, hostile, and exclusive. It was not an authentic sane socially open environment at all. So what use was being friendly and sociable there? Such qualities were useless. It was like an antimatter universe that was toxic to your self-esteem, infested with a radiation that made you feel insecure all the time. How could one possibly fit in with such an atmosphere that was so hostile and exclusive? It was so insane and unnatural, the complete antithesis of authentic. It was like a crazy bizarro world. There was no logic or formula that I could use to make it work. It was simply NOT a healthy environment of good friendly people that treated people fairly. And even if I had a time machine that allowed me to go back in time, I still would have no idea how to fit in or get along with such hostile inauthentic kids.
Social cliques that hung out together during lunch were exclusive, and none of them really wanted me. I was not seen as "cool" so no one wanted to be with me, even though I never did anything wrong. Whenever I hung around people, they felt embarrassed. Everyone thought that they were too cool for me, which destroyed me and made me feel like shit. I didn't even fit in with the nerds, cause I wasn't one. I simply was nothing and didn't belong there. There was no clique in high school for "authentic people".
As a result, my self-esteem and self-worth were destroyed and pulverized over and over again everyday for years. It was a hell and nightmare, and if you never went through it, you could never understand. But it wasn't my fault. I had no idea what to do. TV and video games were my only escape from all this misery (hence why I love 80's TV series so much). My favorite show was Star Trek (the original series). That's where I learned much of my English from. Since the word "logic" is used a lot in that series, I use it a lot as well, and suffice to say, I could never see any logic in my situation. So logic sort of became my "coping mechanism" and I idolized the Mr. Spock character. You see, logic was my only escape from an insane world that left me feeling alienated, lonely and frustrated everyday. So that is how I came to be good at logic and logical thinking.
Yet in spite of all this, I was not allowed to complain about it. In school, and in America, you are NOT allowed to say that people are stuck up, antisocial, or closed, no matter how true it is. That's what insane - not being allowed to tell the truth. Instead, you are only allowed to blame yourself. So, if I went to the school counselor and told him/her, "I am a friendly, open, kind, authentic person, but I can't make friends here cause everyone is so exclusive, hostile and antisocial. What can I do?" that would NOT be acceptable. I would be seen as dysfunctional, and having social or personality problems, even though I was authentic, sane and friendly. Go figure.
You see, America has a victim-blaming culture that assumes that any misfit is the problem because most people are sane, and society is normal. Though this is a clear fallacy, it is still the assumption. The majority decide what's normal and what's right, no matter how flawed their reasons are. And a school counselor would not usually be an exception, especially since he/she is part of an institution that depends on conformity.
However, many great thinkers and writers (Friederich Nietzche, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, Eric Fromm, Ayn Rand, etc.) have realized that the majority tends to NOT love the truth, but are rather insane. (See here for examples and quotes: http://www.happierabroad.com/Quotes_Insanity.htm) Thus, the more truthful you are, the less popular you are. However, society teaches the exact opposite, that truth is whatever the majority believes in, thus you have to agree with the crowd in order to be right. It's a major fallacy of course, but that's what is conditioned into us in order to instill obedience and conformity.
In addition to this miserable existence, I also faced the daily excruciating routine of having to force myself to get up at 6am every morning to rush to school, against my body's wishes, just to be in this miserable place, lest I be late and receive a tardy slip and have to stay after school. I was never a morning person and so could never get used to such an early rise. It was like a concentration camp that I was a prisoner of. Thus I experienced no freedom everyday, despite being told that I was free by American culture.
After high school, even though I was freed from the constant persecution and pressure of trying to fit somewhere, I was still lonely. In the college and adult world, people were disconnected, in a bubble, minded their own business, and lived to WORK, WORK, WORK. Popularity, fun, thrills, friendships, and being accepted, no longer mattered. All that mattered was getting a job so you could work to death, which was the purpose of life after all. You then realize that the purpose of all your years in school was not to "get educated", but was to train you to become an obedient workaholic robot slave whose sole purpose in life is to work, work, work! (See this video "Herd Mentality - The Schooling System": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diSJv6FfHjc) Even the news media sees the world in terms of jobs and economics. Work was your true purpose in life. This was the ultimate revelation that you received once you left school. Gee, wonderful.
Even in my college, which was called a "commuter college", that's all anyone ever cared about - getting through so one can start working. Nothing else mattered. No one had a passion for learning or connecting with others. Everyone just minded their own business. To feel lonely meant that you didn't belong there... It was so sad.
In fact, America has a major problem and bias against loneliness. Simply put, you aren't supposed to feel lonely, even though it's natural. America teaches you that loneliness is wrong, weak and should be denied. One is supposed to be strong, independent, and not need others. That is considered the natural way of things in America, and thus loneliness is seen as unnatural. Here again is where American mentality denies the truth. Humans are not meant to be solitary creatures, so being alone and disconnected from others would naturally breed loneliness. However, America attempts to "engineer" its people to become solitary creatures, for whatever reason, which goes against human nature. I guess you could say that this social engineering is successful in some, as many in the US do prefer being alone, but for authentic people like me, it has failed, and thus people like me are lonely.
However, the problem again is that though authentic types like me feel lonely and disconnected, we are not allowed to admit it lest we be seen as losers. So we are pressured to deny it, and just work work work. But denial only makes it worse, and makes us feel repressed and invalidated. Such is the cruel lonely culture of America.
So what could I do? Very little. Trying to fit into groups of young people in America is an extremely awkward and unnatural experience for an authentic person. You have to act fake and dumb to even have a chance at fitting in. There is nothing natural about it. If you go to a typical party of youngsters in America, you will find Generation Y-ers smoking pot and talking about concerts, acting fake and dumb. And if you can't act fake and dumb, then there is something wrong with you. So how can you make real friends, let alone get dates in such an antisocial, paranoid and exclusive social culture? Everything is against you. Yet again, you aren't allowed to complain about it, only blame yourself.
Despite what movies show about Americans being so communicative, expressive and easy to talk to fluidly, the reality is anything but. People are paranoid, antisocial, exclusive, stuck up, and don't talk to you unless it's business-related or they want your money. Yet, if you can't make friends, then you are seen as a loser. So you are essentially stuck between a rock and a hard place. It's a no-win situation that you aren't supposed to complain about.
Being a conformist will not solve any of this, for a conformist only sees truth as whatever the majority believe in, and as such, will never find a solution. Only one who is willing to think outside of the box and liberate oneself from the "majority = right" belief, can find a solution to such an insane no-win situation.
The best solution I've found so far is by going overseas to where people in many countries are more authentic and natural than in America, making them more open and inclusive, so that social interaction flows much more smoothly. You can read my story at:
Everyone has to find their niche and crowd that they are comfortable with. Some find it in the local scene, others find it in other states, and still others find it overseas. I happened to find my niche as a traveler and writer promoting the Global Dating and Happier Abroad Movement, which I am very good at. Every movement needs passionate promoters and advocates who live and breathe its cause, and mine happens to be this one.
Though I've discovered the solution to the dysfunctional social culture that left me perpetually lonely with no solution and no validation, still, I carry baggage from the resentment and anger described above from school in the 1980's. I can't deny that. Our past makes up who we are. Though we all carry baggage of some kind, mine is very intense. I will probably never forget my miserable experience in school in the 80's which psychologically destroyed me and scarred me for life. Even now, when I watch my favorite 80's TV shows on YouTube out of nostalgia for them, I can't help but be reminded of the pain and misery I suffered back then.
You know what they say, "You may not forget, but you can learn to forgive." So although we can't change the past, I guess it's what we do with our pain in the present that counts, as they say. We must find constructive ways to channel our pain, psychological scars, and emotional baggage.
All great religions and spiritual belief systems teach that "true glory comes from endurance through suffering and tribulations" in one way or another. As they say, you can't truly appreciate the light unless you've experienced the darkness first.
Thus I am inspired and driven to promote my movement and overseas solution to the national epidemic of loneliness, datelessness and mental illness in America. It is very much needed. And though it has worked for me and many others, it has received virtually no positive publicity in America. So I must use my skills and outlet to champion its cause in reaching out to others. This is how my pain and baggage drives me. And that's what I am - a champion for truth and overseas solutions.
Thank you for reading.