Teenager Ellen Jamieson shrugs off the smirks of some of her
peers to pursue a lifestyle that suits her, if not her more
conventional school friends.
The other day my friend laughed at me for expressing a desire to
use the library. My initial reaction was to ask why, but then I
wished I hadn’t. “Only sad people and weird people use
libraries” was the reply. I responded that I regularly visited the
library. Something I had before considered as ordinary had been
written off as the sort of thing nobody in their right mind would
do. This penalising of someone a little different is for me part of
an ongoing battle with social acceptance. I am able to brush it
off, but what of those who can’t?
Today there is a defined culture that most teenagers fit into.
School no longer only poses the threat of boredom or hard work, but
also the daily struggle to fit in or at least avoid ridicule. I
have learned to live with this. My friends call me middle-aged. I
can even appreciate the joke. I’d sooner spend an evening at
home with my parents than out with a group of young people. I even
choose to spend the day at home doing coursework over the, to me,
daunting prospect of going shopping with a group of girls,
Nando’s restaurant and the cinema. I just prefer to keep
myself to myself and not have to meet the demands of my peers to an
extent that puts my personality under pressure.
But gladly I am not in a minority of one. Two boys in my year
display the same symptoms of this social retardation. James rides
his bike around the park for hours on end, enjoying the solitude
and freedom this allows him. Lewis reads up to four books a week
and isn’t able to discuss much else. I empathise with both
and I enjoy going swimming alone and running, both ideal for
Loads of people are the same. The reality is, we take life more
seriously. We just don’t want the same things as other people
our age. It’s a difference in outlook and ultimately
attitude. Things concern me more than some other people my age. I
think more and consider what part I play in the grand scheme of
things. Maybe I and others like me are, although different, more
realistic and awake. So be it, I’m different and proud.