"At the time, they made me second guess who I was..."

Back in Middle School and the beginning of High school, I had a group of friends. Over the summer we didn't hang out much, so eventually they decided to kick me out of the group message we had together, saying it was me who didn't put in the effort to make plans all summer. Throughout the years, they would make fun of my weight, and just tease me and try to get on my nerves about every little thing possible,and only me too. They would make me feel like the bad guy. I couldn't trust or be comfortable around my friends and it made me feel horrible. They were my support system, and what do you do when you don't have that? Friends I thought were there for me, weren't. I couldn't even talk to anyone about it. I didn't have friends.

In reality, they didn't really care about me, they didn't care about having a true friendship. They believed I put too much time into the things I loved instead of doing crazy stuff on the weekends, like drinking and smoking.

In high school, they said I was a boring for not wanting to party every weekend because I had homework, or wanted to do something else other than being under the influence to enjoy my life. They thought me focusing on my education and sports was a bad thing , and I realized true friends would support that sorta thing. At the time, they made me second guess who I was. Was I abnormal? Was I weird for caring? But there's a balance in life, between friends, school, sports, and family. You need to make them all work, instead of focusing on just one.

However, in my Freshman year, in woodshop class, I met my best friend. When I first saw him, I was a little unsure. He seemed really lonely and different, and just a totally opposite person then I am. We were partnered in class and we naturally started talking more. He asked me to hang out, and I was hesitant because I barley knew him so I avoided the invite, coming up with an excuse. But to make up for it, I invited him to my birthday party that summer, making up for letting him down. Since then, the kid has been like a brother to me and I couldn't ask for a better friend then him. We've been through so much together and I know I would never make him feel like he doesn't matter in this world, to make me feel like the bigger person.

The beginning of this year, that same group continued to exclude me, because I thought maybe if I just kept them around as surface friends, they would be cool somewhat. Why couldn't I stick up for myself and just tell them how I felt, or cut off the relationship completely? That's why nothing gets resolved now, no one says anything, or when you do say something, they always say they were "just kidding". They gave me wrong addresses of where to meet when we tried to hang out, they said things like "You're liberal as F," making fun of the decisions student council was making. I felt judged for who I was and what I did, again. You should never let someone do that, make you feel like what you're passionate about is something to be ashamed of. Anytime I'd tried to confirm plans they said "Please stop asking questions," to shut me up and "This guy is barley even friends with us, I don't even know why we hang out with him."

It was a hard thing to face, but I truly believed I learned from it and it made me stronger for who I am today. You will realize who your true friends are, and it's tough but it's necessary. Just make sure you stay true to who you are and don't let the negative influences of the other persuade you to think otherwise. You have the power to hurt others, but you also the power to empower others.

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