If I was in therapy today I may have had a break through. I often joke that I am still getting over high school. And if I am honest with myself, my high school experience was pretty bad. Or at least I interpreted it that way. I never felt that I fit in, I often felt I was being made fun of (who knows if I really was, but I sure felt that way), I did not have a niche (grades, sports, music, etc). I was just, as the book title states so well: “Sarah Plain and Tall” . All I ever wanted was to fit in, to be cool to be admired. And those insecurities still plague me today. Yes, I have made progress on them. I have grown very secure in who I am, but that little bubble of doubt and insecurity is still there.
So today I had to go back to high school. My old high school (Grand Rapids Christian) has a two week session after the Christmas holiday called Winterim. There are 2 blocks of 3 hour classes, all unique and without an academic focus. (From Knitting to hockey to Harry Potter to what’s it like to be a doctor). Today, all the professionals who are providing a winterim class were asked to go to GRCHS for lunch and info and then we were each given a table and the students had a half and hour to browse, check out the classes and make their choices.
After I agreed to teach a class, I realized this did not mean I would teach a class. I had to “sell” my class to the students. I had to make them want to choose me. And if not enough people did, then I don’t teach.
So, here I am, back in high school, with my well thought out outfit, my creatively planned table and a charming smile being put in the position, once again, to try to be “popular” in high school!
But, 2 things happened. First the lunch. I walked into a room where I knew no one and had to wait for the lunch to start. Which meant mingling. And I did it! I talked to a woman who was teaching vegan cooking class… so cool. I chatted with a few other people and was not intimidated at all. I felt confident. I felt I belonged.
Then, the actual “popularity contest” started and as that students flooded the hallways I stood proud. I engaged in conversation, I was not intimidated when people swarmed to the table next to me and completely ignored me (the guy had candy… everyone wanted to be his friend). But I am Sarah Zuidema, I had an idea for a class and I presented it. If people want to take it great. If they don’t, I have enough on my plate already.
I walked through those halls with my head high and did not feel intimidated. No butterflies, no slumped shoulders. Just me. Unapologetically.