For Girls (and Boys) Who Don’t Fit In (#31writenow, #nablopomo)

by P. Braithwaite

I am ten years old. I am wiping the sleep away from my face and pressing the buttons on my yellow shirt into their respective holes.

I am preparing for another year at school.

I have new sneakers that light up. My book bag is in fashion, but I am brown, lanky, and my hair is unruly. My mother refuses to perm it. I hate showers. I love McDonalds cheeseburgers, and I am unusually masculine for my size. Every moment I am alone finds me perched atop a tree branch with a book pressed against my face. I am the only child in my class with braces and my eyes appear far more closed than they should.

I am awkward. I think I’m ugly. I don’t want to go back.

I’m not exactly an outcast, but that is only because I’m good at sports and capable of beating up boys in my class. Also my older brother is really cool. I have parties that students attend, but these people are not my friends; they are classmates. They are the sixth grade equivalent to colleagues and coworkers.

I do not belong.

I do not fit in.

I do not want to go back.


If I could tiptoe into that young girl’s room and whisper in her ear, this is what I’d say:

Girls (and boys) who do not fit into this world are actually meant to change it.

All of the ways that you feel different are actually the ways in which you shine.

Also, in 2012 natural hair will be…a thing.

What would you tell your ten year old self?