I was a bookish kid, and when most people wanted to play on the monkey bars at recess, I'd have rather been sitting on the swings and reading a book.

I adored the Harry Potter series, but most kids at my school didn't care much for the series or I didn't know they enjoyed it because it wasn't the popular thing.

I was also not as athletic as everyone else, so when everyone else was super excited about going to P.E., I wanted to go to Music. I didn't have friends that I'd known since kindergarten since I changed schools in 3rd grade and again in 4th grade, and so there I was, the new kid that liked to read and liked being considered smart (not bragging, just saying for sake of the story.) I didn't really care as much about having name brand things as much as other kids, but I wanted to be one of those who DID have all the brand name things and could wear them, simply because it looked like they had more fun (though I'm sure it couldn't have been fun having the expectation of perfection on you all the time, I guess). I felt like the extra one in the group when everyone else could find their partner or team easily.

Cut to middle school, and I ditched one of the only friends I had from elementary school who really didn't care about all that brand name and popularity stuff, because I wanted to be more engrossed in my new opportunities, which is probably one of the biggest mistakes I made at that age because she was (and is) so sweet and was such a good friend to me. I quit Girl Scouts because I thought it was babyish, again, letting go of friends I should have kept for their integrity rather than what I presumed the image was (which isn't true, by the way, if you're reading this). I also pushed people away in my classes and in the choir because I was more of a showoff of my academics and my singing-but I still craved belonging with the popular kids-or at least, the more well-liked and fun people in my gifted classes. I wished so badly to be part of them, but I didn't really know how to let go of my ambition and center-stage attitude or approach them if they didn't really know me yet. Surprisingly though, my middle school years were better than most people's, until my best friend moved and it was closer to the end of middle school, anyway, so we were both feeling kind of alone.

In high school, I alienated some other good friends because I had a lot of anxiety issues and thought if other people were their friends and they hung out more often, I wouldn't have them at all, and acted selfishly.

I also didn't keep up enough with those friends I maintained from middle school, and we lost touch. However, I still felt left out by other people because I couldn't let go of the attitude that I just wanted the spotlight on me, with solos and theatre roles and honor roll. I also didn't push myself out there due to my anxiety, and I maintained the attitude that I wanted them to come to me without being a friend myself. So I was looked over during high school because no one wants to be friends with the quiet, average, big girl in the larger school population, but in more specific clubs and classes, no one wants to be friends with the showoff.

Even now, in college, as I'm looking back, I still didn't take the chance to be friends with as many people as I liked because I learned that sometimes in the past, I was a bit much for people, and my anxiety got the best of me and I didn't approach people. I sometimes believed people would judge more on appearance than on actual substance in building a friendship because that's how I assumed people were in the past, without realizing that I was part of the problem back then, but that I could be better, now. I also live farther away, so it was more of a hassle to even plan to hang out with me for some people because we had to arrange to carpool and meeting places and it was and is hard to work around having one car for my entire family to go places. Even now, after I've realized all of this and been a little better to people from my past and present, it's too late to fix the past, and work and school take up most of my time, so I can't hang out, anyway.

This being said, I am infinitely grateful for those friends who have stuck around, and those of you who are becoming my friends now.

You are such good people and I can't be more thankful that maybe I don't have to be "that one extra girl" anymore.