Sheltered Me

“Do you like Marilyn Manson?”

“Yeah I love her.”

If you don’t understand why that’s funny, I should explain that Marilyn Manson is a man, but christian sheltered me didn’t know that. I grew up very religion centered. I never listened to any music except christian music, I also went to private school. I prayed before I went to bed, I was a good christian girl, and I was very good at making friends. So when I transferred from private to public school, I was a deer in headlights. I had no clue how to be cool in this new environment. The first few years of adjusting  were tough, but, I got the hang of faking it when it came to pop culture. That's why the first album I bought on iTunes was Taylor Swift’s Fearless. I was a master at blending in even when I had no clue what I was doing.

When I first transferred in 2nd grade there was a lot of crying involved. All the kids were faster than me and they all seemed to be smarter than me. Once I was caught starting my test early because I was tired of always being the last one who finished. At my old school,  I was one of the smartest kids but here I was a little slower. A fact I refused to accept. I got caught with the test and the student teacher grabbed me and brought me up to my sister’s class. I was balling my eyes out. I wasn’t cheating I just wanted to finish with the other kids. I only did the section with vocabulary in it. They were all things I knew I just couldn’t keep up because the other kids would finish so fast. I already didn’t have any friends yet the least I could have was being smart.

By 4th grade, I had regained my title as one of the smartest kids in school  and caught up with the other kids but then came the factor of friends. Everyone would talk about music I didn’t know and people I’d never heard of. By this time, my family had stopped going to church all together, so I didn’t have my church friends and I didn’t have any friends at school either. I started just flat out lying when it came to pop culture.

“Jade, you read Harry Potter, right?”

To which my answer would be yes. Even though at church they would say Harry Potter was evil. A fact I would learn was not true at all. It was exhausting trying to keep up but when I finally did make a friend all they cared about was school, which I could get behind since it was one thing I truly did know about.

In 5th grade I was back to my old habits. When the friend that only cared about school, Hannah, introduced me to her friend Leviana. Leviana was funny and cool, so I just followed her lead. If Leviana liked something, I liked that thing.

“Do you like Marilyn Manson?”

“Yeah I love her,” I’d say

I just wanted to fit in. Being exceptional wasn’t the goal anymore. If I could just blend in that would be perfect. I started stealing personality traits so I was just a carbon copy of everyone else.

By 8th grade I had friends and I’d given up on being anyone but Jade. It wasn’t worth the effort, but since I’d been trying to be someone else for so long I didn’t even understand who I was anymore. I wasn’t the little christian girl that cried when things didn’t go her way. I wasn’t someone that was just part of the crowd. I just stopped caring all together. My grades suffered because I was scared of moving forward. I suffered because my grades suffered. My parents were angry. I finally started looking out for myself again by the end of the year . By then it was too late for my grades, but not too late for me.

I still don’t go to church, I don’t pray before I go to bed, and it's been 10 years since I set foot in a private school. I don’t listen to the music other people listen to the music I want to listen to. I don’t lie when people ask me about thing I don’t know.  If someone asks me if I like Marylin Manson I’ll tell the truth.