I am an outsider in most social settings.
I am not a part of the cool kid group.
I don’t do cool. It doesn’t appeal or occur to me.
And being a grownup for quite some time, I thought it was something we outgrew.
Turns out I wasn’t paying attention.
Turns out humans at 6, 16, or 60 have the same ability to exclude.
Most of the time I pay it no mind. But for some reason, this time I noticed and in that noticing I realized it hurt. Ignoring the hurt was my next strategy coupled with acting like I don’t care. But that process costs energy I don’t want to waste.
I’ll let it go, but for now it’s something I’ve decided to notice and feel in a productive way.
To put the personal hurt and loneliness it produces to use, I’m thinking of the young people in my life, with much less experience and confidence, who face this trouble every day.
I make a mental list of the kiddos in my class. There are reasons kids position themselves at the cool kid table and push others to the outside. And my heart aches for them all.
Today, I sat next to one in writer’s workshop. She had turned away from her writing partner. Hadn’t written a word. There was no eye contact, but she started to share her story. It made we wonder out loud and she elaborated on and on. After our conversation, there was a few minutes left in workshop. She wrote one sentence and assured me that this was the story she was going to write tomorrow. I smiled saying, it’s gonna be a great one.
This is one of the many reasons to write and to have our kiddos write. To make meaning of our lives. To sort out the messiness and meanness. And, to share it with others. Writing confronts ideas and troubles in ways that can help. Like writing this helped me.
10 thoughts on “SOLC22: day 22, not a cool kid”
Your concluding paragraph hits home for me. Writing is a safe place to sift through conflicting emotions and make sense of the world.
How great that you used this opportunity to see kids differently and let them know you see them.
The power of words – spoken, unspoken, written. What a way to empower your student by encouraging her writing. I love when you tell her, “It’s going to be a great one.” I’m sorry you had a crummy day but admire how you pulled something positive out of it to help someone else.
Excluding people is never cool. Those people are insecure and trying to make themselves more powerful than they really are. I’m sorry you got hurt. There’s no need for that behavior. Especially as adults.
You can be at my cool table any day! I love how you took your own pain and turned it to good for your student who needed just a little nudge to know she is okay.
Writing is so therapeutic. I can understand this in her struggle with the need for acceptance but always feeling a little bit like you’re on the outside. I think everyone struggles with this more than we like to admit. Thanks for sharing this story and a reminder that we should not always worry about what others think of us but invite everyone to sit at our tables.
So glad you could make a small person’s pain better through writing and empathise with them because of knowing how it feels to be excluded. I absolutely get that feeling.
Your opening paragraph is poetic. It is familiar to me. In a profession where belonging is a fundamental precept, I am aghast at teachers who intentionally exclude. And, you showed how to transmute this pain to healing – through writing and action – simply beautiful.
Thank you for sharing. And being vulnerable in your writing. I appreciate your honesty.
Thanks for writing this. I’m experiencing some exclusion from some adults in my life. It seems so foreign to me. Writing does help. Great job trying to reach all kids.