Things to remember when you feel alone and like an oddball

My dad used to tell me often that when I was 3 years old, instead of playing with the other kids after church, I would run around and pick flowers. I guess I have always marched to the beat of my own drum. It took me a while to overcome my craziness in elementary school, but somehow I still made friends along the way. It wasn't until before 7th grade when I moved from the Bay Area to Sacramento when I really started noticing my awkwardness and my inability to make close friends quickly in middle school. So I acted so weird and crazy to get attention, but it landed negative attention to the point where I got bullied relentlessly. I hardly got picked as a partner for classes, I was made the butt of jokes, people I thought were "friends" had to pretend to not acknowledge my presence in public, and guys pretended to like me in a mockingly way. High school was a little bit better, as I did make more friends and attracted more attention from guys. But that did not come without drama, drama, drama. And I lost friends along the way, and somehow I was still seen as a vulnerable little girl and was prey among the wolves (as my friend Danielle called them). I felt so horrible when 2 of my best friends (Jamie and Christina, whom I still talk to today and Jamie will be one of my bridesmaids) graduated a year before me, and I had more friends and acquaintances with people a grade below me. I started getting to know more people in my graduating class, but all of a sudden got ignored again due to some rumors my ex had spread about me. It's sad to say that I didn't participate in any senior activities except for prom (with my boyfriend at the time, not the ex who spread rumors about me).

Why am I still harping on this 10–15 years later? I guess there's parts of me that still feel that scared, vulnerable girl. When I am work and try to get to know the other interns, I am friendly with them and they are friendly with me back. I still can't help but feeling left out though, especially because I don't watch Game of Thrones or OITNB (okay, I mostly CNN, reality TV, or reruns of Travel Channel, Simpsons, and Family Guy). I talked to my 19 other classmates in my major, but I still felt extremely left out and lonely until the last semester, when I was finally starting to open up, and I got never-ending congrats and well-wishes about my engagement.

I guess this means that I have gone a long way in terms of my shyness and awkwardness, and I am much more outgoing than before. But you will never see me walk into a room and have that aura, or charisma, that people are drawn to. I will never be as talkative or as chatty as I would like.

I guess I am writing about this because lately, I have been extremely sensitive and hurt by some of the stuff Cecilio said, even if it's just constructive criticism (like how I can improve at work), or pointing something out (my overdue need for a pedicure, toenails that my dad used to call "talons", which I eventually did the next day). It would turn into long-drawn out internal arguments. The toenail argument happened on our way to the mall, when we were supposed to shop for clothes for our engagement photos. As we parked in the mall structure, I had a nervous breakdown and started crying. I told him that even though I was so happy and excited to marry him, I am a little embarrassed because I'm SURE that my old classmates are probably looking at me on Facebook, wondering "Hannah? She's getting married? She's too ugly/crazy/worthless/etc." and he just let me let it all out. It does break his heart when I say I feel worthless based on how people treated me in the past. After we got out of the car, he took me, hugged and kissed me and said, "Let's be weird together." We eventually did find clothes in the mall and had a great time, and ended the night with Cinnabon and pho. 

It all stems from the desire to fit in and be, and feel normal. I wish I could say I overcame what other people have said. I know that a crying fit won't solve the deeper issues, but it did release some of my pent-up emotions. I don't know if I am the right candidate to give people advice on how to cope when you feel odd/strange/different from everyone else, when I am struggling with it right now. But just know you're not alone. I promise. I use my power to write to reach out.

Here are some things I am trying to tell myself, and would like to share with you guys:

1. People don't care as much as you think they do.
This is what I am trying to tell myself. There's still something going on in my head, thinking that my old classmates are probably still talking shit about me, and probably scratching their heads as to why I am getting married. This wouldn't be an issue if social media isn't the monstrosity as it is now. I mean, I still stalk people and old classmates, so I wonder how they feel about the Hannah now, who has changed a lot since we walked that stage to graduate 9 years ago. I mean, I certainly don't care that my ex who spread rumors about me (who I basically wasted most of my high school years pining over, who I thought I wanted to marry), has 3 kids, and I am certainly glad that I did not have those kids with him. I wonder if he knows that I am engaged (I am at least on good terms with his twin brother), and I am sure he doesn't care.

2. Stop comparing yourself.
This is something I have been struggling with, and anyone who has a smartphone and access to Internet struggles with it as well. Everyone loves filtering and curating their photos perfectly on Instagram or Facebook, right? Doesn't it make you feel bad about your own life? Maybe there are people who see Cecilio and I living this perfect romance. And we are in love, but we don't air our dirty laundry in the public because we do have really, really weak moments. In fact, our relationship was really rocky the first year and we even broke up for a few days. I have to constantly remind myself that most people will not post negative things on social media.

3. Someone is fighting the same battles you are too.
My most astounding moments are when I see a woman who has the perfect body or looks on social media, and assume that she has always been that way, only to find out that she struggled with weight and body issues, just like I have. Or, it could be the opposite: a girl from my high school who is now a personal trainer, wrote a blog post about having insecurities about being lazy eyed and too skinny and not developing quickly as her other friends who were "curvier" and had guys flocking to them and ignoring her. I always assumed that because she was a cheerleader and was super involved in all these other activities, that she never had to struggle with the same thoughts and worries that my friends and I did. She concluded that fitness and being a personal trainer gave her the confidence she never had before. Case in point: it's hard to not judge by looks, but try. 

4. The world is not as evil as you think.
Yes, there are horrible things going on, from the Brock Turner case to the Orlando shooting, down to bullying, but there are amazing things and people. In a way, meeting Cecilio on the first day of college (though we talked a bit on Myspace the summer before), was a path to healing because he showed me how kind people can be. He introduced me to his friends from high school, who all welcomed me and opened themselves to me. But then again, he grew up in a town (Davis, CA), where there was not as much bullying because people are taught to be tolerant, kind, and open to others, and because being in a college-town forces you to focus on your studies to get into a good university rather than focusing on drama and nonsense. 

5. You should forgive people who hurt you, especially if you are a Christian.
I struggle with forgiveness even in the littlest things, because I feel like it is easier for me to hold on to the pain and suffering. I have forgiven my exes, but I struggle with forgiving the people who hurt and bullied me. I may have one time during some of my praying time at a few Bible study meetings I have gone to before. But...if I am still harping on it and am still hurt and angry, it means I probably haven't truly forgiven. Forgiveness doesn't mean you will want to trust them or even talk to them again, but it means that you will not let them run your life. As a Christian, if you really believe that God has sent Jesus to forgive you for your sins and transgressions, you should be able to do the same for others.

6. Celebrate your uniqueness.
Why blend in when you can stand out? We, each as individuals, have our own custom-made DNA. It's pretty cool to think about right? So why bother try to fit yourself in a mold based on what society says? I haven't done art and photography in a while. I would like to, and if I ever get the chance, I would like to post them on Facebook like I used to. But I am also worried that people would think that I am too much of an art geek. And normal people don't do that...right? But I will never forget when my dad told me that my aunt loved my photography, how it was so touching to the soul, and how I am different from others (in a good way). It really, really made me feel so blessed when she said that. Find what makes you tick and passionate, and pursue it and celebrate it all that you can.

7. Focus on the people who DO love you.
When I was crying to Cecilio, I kept saying,"I want to not focus on what they said and enjoy what we have right now, and enjoy the future we will have." Because those people aren't in my life. And I can feel his love and warmth all around me, and he makes me feel like I AM worth something. I feel that with my family and friends as well. I recently went to my friend's son's 1st birthday party, and I felt so much love overflowing between everyone. And that is how life should be.


  1. Loved this post!
    So helpful:-)

    <3: Jasmin N

  2. I love this post so much; it's so straight from the heart. I have also been through my fair share of hurtful rumors and bullying... and I definitely don't watch Game of Thrones either :) The thing about forgiveness is that it takes time.. Sometimes two days, sometimes twenty years, but it will come. I love how you said that you don't necessarily have to invite them back in your life, but you don't let them run your life either. So, in a way, forgiveness is not letting people have power over you. It is cleansing your heart from anger and hurt, which Christ can do. He also sends wonderful men to help us out. I've noticed that the more I focus on Matthew and our future together, the less room I have in my heart for the past. Cecilio is perfect for you, and it's pretty obvious that you are worth the world to him. Someday soon you will believe it :) and piece by piece, his love will heal you. xX
    P.S. You can never go wrong with Cinnabon and Pho.

    1. Thank you for your amazing words of encouragement! Yes, some people's healing process takes longer. I don't know or understand why I have been worrying about the past, when I should just enjoy every moment of Cecilio and I together, and the memories we will continue to make. <3

  3. Great post with an amazing message. I always used to be the quiet one, and fortunately for me, I never got bullied (at least to my face). I would be friends with outgoing people, but I always had the feeling that they'd talk behind my back. In middle school, I would be described as "unique", and I knew in my heart that it was just a nicer way of calling me "weird" or "strange". High school and even college didn't come short of drama, and it wasn't until I just cut all the negativity out of life, that everything became better. I even became a nicer person. So it's true, always focus on yourself and those that really love you, not everyone else.

    1. Unique is amazing! My fiance, just the middle of our conversation, said,"You like Hot Cheetos right? And Jalapeño Cheetos, and the new Queso Cheetos, but not the original orange Cheetos. Everyone else is the orange Cheetos, but you are the Hot Cheeto. You are an acquired taste, but the people who love you really do love you."

  4. I let the insecurity from my past allow myself to make big mistakes in my life. Each point you made is exactly right! You have your head in the right direction focusing on God knowing that you should forgive those people and focus on who loves you. We aren't perfect and sometimes Satan wants us to think we are not worthy of God's blessings, so I totally understand your battle moving on. I deal with it and have tried to avoid social media for the most part to let go of my past and know boundaries. Awesome post!

  5. I can truly understand how you must have been feeling back then, I lived exactly the same things and I know that it wasn't easy to get over it. I still struggle to fit in and also sometimes end up comparing myself with others. Don't be afraid to be yourself, even if people find it weird, it is just your true self and you shouldn't be ashamed of it. We try to fit in a society and end up not feeling welcomed. Also you should stop telling those things to your fiance, I am sure he hates it (I told the same things to mine and when he told me how he felt about it, it made me sad). He loves you and you are a wonderful lady, just do what makes you happy!

    Ela BellaWorld