And it was nice, at first; nice to fit in with the rest of them, to be one of them- it was nice, so nice she'd almost forgotten how it felt to not belong. She'd deluded herself.
And than she'll fell those looks again, scraping on her back and sinking into her skin. She's different, not-quite what they want. She is determined, though – it had taken her 1357 days to belong and she'd been trying since birth; so help her god, she'd make it back in again – that little girl inside her wouldn't be let down again. She made herself like them and they half-love her and half-hate her for it and she honestly can't tell the difference. She'll talk about boys and hair and clothes if they'll just talk back to her; all she wants is that surprised chuckle of maybe she's one of us.
So now instead of feeling 'ugly' and 'know-it-all' and 'freak' in their stares she feels 'shallow' 'slut' 'bitch' 'vapid' and it's so much better than it was before (but it's still. Not. Right). She's seen. And a whole year goes by with too-short-shirts and tiny-tank-tops and 'whore' written on her forehead.
But only with them.
At her school she is kind and shy and sweet and wanted and they honestly need her there. She is clever and insightful and funny and artistic and without her, something would be missing at her school.
With her family she is brave and outgoing and cynical and sarcastic; she and her mother are fire, and her brother and her dad are water and it balances everything out. When her brother had left for collage they could just feel the raging imbalance.
So she, one day, took a step back. She watched a day in her life, saw how she was the clever-insightful-artistic-funny-kind-shy-sweet-and-wanted girl at her school, saw how she was the brave-outgoing-cynical-sarcastic-and-fire girl at home, and saw the shallow-slut-vapid-bitch in that night school.
She distanced herself, then.
Sat on the other side of the class, talked to the teachers, met the other outsides; brought a little of that clever-insightful-artistic-funny-kind-shy-sweet-and-wanted girl and a little of that brave-outgoing-cynical-sarcastic-and-fire girl back to that night school.
And from the outside, she saw everything.
Saw how rude and disrespectful and disgusting the other students were to the teachers (The same teachers who were paid almost nothing to be at this school and gave and gave and gave and got nothing in return) and how insecure they all were, how they had no one outside of this night school and since they had no one else, they clung to each other with all they had – she saw how dependence breeds resentment breeds hate. She saw how the main ringleader tried to change them all – he saw she saw he saw and so she winked. (she'd grabbed him by the arm and whispered in his ear 'we are all in this fight' and the nod she'd gotten in return made her feel b-e-l-o-n-g)
The girl who'd been the clever-insightful-artistic-funny-kind-shy-sweet-and-wanted mixed with the brave-outgoing-cynical-sarcastic-and-fire girl one and the shallow-slut-vapid-bitch.
There are so many labels to describe her that there is no way she cannot belong, somewhere.