Although I'm certainly not in the 'popular' group at school, or am I one of the large group of nondescript people who make up a huge clique and are normal and, I consider to be, dull. You are now thinking that I am one of the misfits at the bottom of the pack, who make friends amongst themselves because they have no one else to turn to for friendship.

And yet that is not the case. At least, that is not how I see it.

This method of 'rank' in schools is one of my deadliest abhorrences. We all claim to hold equality and fairness dear in our hearts, at least I should hope so, and yet what of us really practice this? You may think that you treat everyone fairly, but to those who are unfortunately (or otherwise) placed squashed under everyone else, it is plain that the people who have prettiness, apparent amiability and parents accepting of modern idiocies, have popularity and superiority on their sides.

And those of us who are not so pretty, have less adaptable parents, and made a few mistakes at the beginning due to our youth and ignorance, are rejected from this top squad.

It is blatantly unfair, we are blatantly unequal. We have had countless revolutions, wars and protests against unfair treatment, prejudice and discrimination, and yet shall we ever truly be rid of inequality?

Or was equality never meant to be? We were created each as individuals, to be unique and perfect as we were. And maybe a certain person is not supposed to be accepted. Their individuality makes them rejected. It is difficult to ome to terms with, and perhaps this is why people try to change themselves. They try to adapt themselves to that ideality we all have in our minds - pretty, clever, kind, loved by everyone - which has been placed in our heads due to those natural classes school sifts us into, the media, and by our own little jealousies brought on by personal experience of discrimination.

My advice is to everyone is never to conform. You don't have to model yourself to those other people you envy so for their popularity. You are yourself. Isn't that enough? Why would you want to be them? Hold your head high and be yourself, not your self that is eager to demonstrate your alikeness to others, your self that begs for acceptance, your self that is confident and yet unconfident in this new role you have set up for yourself which you know you do not carry convincingly, and so that makes you even more uncertain. Be yourself, and people will recognise that and respect you for facing up to who you are. Do not force yourself upon people. But be open to sociability.

Personally I have learned this through experience. I have been blessed with friends throughout my whole life, but I have been let down by friends. I have been rejected and pushed away. But I have taken that in my stride and in some cases laughed because I am so grateful to be myself.

I do not have many friends. But the friends I have are wonderful. They are not conformists and I often see that they are stranger than I am. They accept me for myself and I am truly lucky to have people who do not discriminate me because I am the only girl in the year who wears 'sensible' shoes, and wore too-small hoodys and velcro trainers years ago. I have learnt to blend in, mainly, and yet to stand out at the same time for who I am and who I am not.

I have also learnt to lift my chin and smile condescendingly to any funny looks I receive from people if they see I am standing alone eating a sandwich. I have learnt not to look shy, unconfident and vulnurable, because other people will believe that too. Be confident in yourself in all that you do, and you won't let yourself down.

And finally, the best thing I have learnt is this: whatever people say, however they insult, glare insolently, hit a hockey ball onto your kneecap at fifty miles an hour, however they ignore you, as if you were no one and nothing, you must always twitch your eyes and SMILE.

The End

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