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Teenage Dreams - Why being different is a good thing

I remember that former classmates described me as kind, friendly and eccentric in the yearbook. I was a bit surprised when I discovered these three adjectives because it seems that I must have left a good impression on some people in high school. To be honest, i was quite flattered when I read ' eccentric' because I quite liked it. It sounded cool until a good friend of mine pointed out that they must have meant something else after I told her about my experience as an outcast.

When I look back, I remember that younger Natascha struggled a lot with self-esteem and she just wanted to be loved and understood (just like everyone else :-) .The older I get, the more I love and accept Natascha as a teenager.

Although I was wandering alone through the corridors of the school, I was a little attention seeker as well. I often did things on purpose to get some attention from certain people because I didn't want to go unnoticed.

However, I wasn't invisible and like every girl who's turning into a young woman, your male peers are going to witness your physical changes including your beauty. In contrast to other girls my age, I wasn't fond of shopping and I hated the idea of bumping into my classmates in town. I also felt that I didn't deserve to dress nicely for school (yes, I had limiting beliefs and didn't like myself too much back then). In other words, I was just weird.

I wanted to get recognition for simply being Natascha which meant not being 'cool'. I wanted to be different and until now I dislike following trends...I admit, I also love being uncomfortable and that was how I used to provoke as a youth

In my final year, I was an introvert and I felt awkward hanging around my classmates. Mainly because I couldn't find someone I could talk about my mental illness. I was so afraid of being judged. Listening to music, writing my diary and seeing a psychologist was a life-saver.

Throughout the years I felt that Natascha needed a good hug and a stranger coming up to her and tell her: 'Girl, you are amazing. You have no idea how beautiful, kind and funny you are.' The stranger was right. 18-year-old Natascha was kind, funny, sensitive and the people who didn't find her cool or weird, well guess what they missed something. I never wanted to conform or fit in so that people can like or accept me. I wanted that people like me the way I am. If not, I was still going to rock in my red boots....

I was very young when people rejected me but it didn't stop me from being myself. These painful experiences prepared me for so much in life later on....such as

-working with children

-travelling on my own

-attending university

-encounters with strangers

-finding my self-worth

-losing a group of friends

-forgive people who wronged me and move on

-building loving relationships with people

-being honest with people

-facing adversity at work

-overcoming my fears and insecurities

-loving and accepting myself the way I am with all my quirks, eccentricities and loving qualities

Am I authentic, does that make me vulnerable? I don't know, but I know that there is a sense of freedom when I know that I don't have to put a mask on to please certain people, I don't want to hide and pretend to be someone I'm not...I am what I am and I think the more you are yourself, the more people are going to be drawn to you...They want to know you and they will care about you....



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