In a Psychology 101 class I took my senior year of college, I learned that children eventually learn that they are not the center of the universe. They start to realize, at some point in their lives, that there are people, places, and things around them that are similar and different from them. I can’t recall the exact moment I had my ah-ha-I’m-not-the-only-one-here-moment. However, I can recall when I first started noticing that I had friends who had things I didn’t.
It literally started with small things. Gusher’s my organic-savvy mum wouldn’t buy me, or being allowed to stay up past 6:00 PM on a weekday while my younger neighbors were still outside playing. Then it was the clothes; suddenly everyone who was anyone was shopping at the GAP and Old Navy. I was even ridiculed by some for wearing my neighbor’s hand-me-down tie-dye T-shirts that were label-less. In private school it was an accumulation of everything; clothes, cars, and homes that were all out of my price range. I assumed, therefore, that individuals with these things were out of my league for friendship as well.
Yet despite the fact that I was obviously poorer than most of my Fairfield County constituents, I still found friends who saw past my insecurities and embraced me for who I was, and not for what I lacked They didn’t care that I didn’t wear designer clothes, spend my spring break in Panama, or pay someone to clean my house. My lack of dollar did not lack parallel my lack of love, companionship, and trust in my friend’s eyes. And for that I am grateful, for in many ways they realized this about me before I did.