When I was 15 years old, I went through a streak where no one in my 8th-period science class would sit next to me. Every day, I would enter the classroom and look for my friends; they would smile, say hello, and then immediately shift to the other side of the room. At first, I thought this was just a coincidence, but after a couple of days where people who I considered close friends and even a couple of enemies, were going out of their way to sit somewhere else, I realized that something was wrong. In order to address my deep and growing abandonment issues, I decided resentment and pettiness were my best options for a response.
At first, I was determined not to let it bother me. If people didn’t want to sit next to me, I wouldn’t be upset about it, I would just live my best life, get great grades, graduate, and go to Morehouse college where everyone would think that I was amazing and want to be friends with me. This strategy lasted for about five minutes. It might have worked if I tried it, but that would have been a drama-free solution, and my life needed chaos. I started talking aggressively about everyone within earshot. If people weren’t going to sit next to me, I was going to let them know that I didn’t like it, and was going to tell them that they were “corny for acting funny.” This plan went on for three days, and after a peculiar five-minute rant, in which I interrupted a lesson to tell my classmates that “None of them could hold my hand” my teacher, Ms. Banks took me outside to talk. At the washed age of 34 and 3/4 years old, I will not try to recap the entire conversation verbatim, instead, I’ll give you the cliff notes. Ms. Banks wanted to know why I was stumbling into her class “rambling like Mel Gibson.”
I calmly informed her that I was upset because no one wanted to sit next to me and that I believed this was happening because everyone hated me. Ms. Banks didn’t say anything for a long time, then after a deep painful breath, she looked me right in the eyes and said something that would change my life.
“Your Classmates aren’t sitting next to you because they hate you. They’re not sitting next to you because you smell like a full-court game of basketball”