The Leftovers

by “The Leftovers”

Everyone knows how it feels to be left out.  It’s an experience everyone faces at one point or another.  Learning how to deal with being a leftover and finding the positive lessons can make the ordeal a lot less painful.

I have always considered myself a shy person. Growing up with a twin sister who was more outgoing and popular was nice, but I have always disliked comparison between us; after all we are two different individuals. “You kill the fun,” those were the words many of my young friends and relatives used when describing me. I felt sad every time they called me that.

When Mom and Dad told us to come back at a specific hour, I was always the one left alone by agreeing with them, just because I wished I did not have to go anywhere.  My sister had always treated me as her older sister; so many times she just wanted to be part of a group, a group were everyone just wanted to have fun. After long hours of partying, the infamous time was getting closer, time to get everybody back into the car and drive back home. My friends knew for sure that I did not agree with many of their choices, but they respected me for being different; they knew I had a good point when disagreeing.

Being the leftover at times taught me to become a stronger individual. I learned to be confident when making decisions, to not be influenced by a group of people, and to respect people’s different opinions and choices.  ~Kenia

I transferred high schools at the beginning of my Sophomore year.  I left a school with a total of just over 300 students, where everyone knew everyone else, and transferred into one with over 400 students per grade.  The butterflies in my stomach were the least of my worries as I walked into school that first day.  I hadn’t a clue where any of my classes were, not to mention the slightest idea of how to navigate my way through the mob of students to get to my locker in between.  I was inevitably late to every class, so all eyes were on me when I entered the classroom searching for a seat.  Nobody knew who I was, but then again, nobody seemed to care.  It was high school; everyone already had their own groups of friends and couldn’t have cared less who the new person was.  The first week seemed to drag on forever as I had no one to talk to or any clue to where I belonged.  It took a full week before finding a friend to sit with at the lunch table.  Looking back, it was a lonely time.

Sometimes in life the situations that make you feel like an outsider or leftover are good for you.  Having the freedom from friends and the group think that goes along with it at such a pivotal point in life made me realize a lot of things.  I was able to sit back and watch everyone interact and determine the people I wanted to be friends with rather than being lumped in with a group of people who have different values.  The friends I made at school that year are still great friends to this day.  Sometimes you need to be given time and be on your own for awhile to make the best decisions.  ~Cassie

I don’t have any trouble picking out clothes to wear for the first day of school.  There isn’t anything to pick from.  Mom says I’m lucky to find a pair of pants that fit me from the bag of church hand me downs.  I don’t feel lucky.  Doesn’t mom know how it feels to wear these clothes?  I pretend I don’t care.

I am in fifth grade.  Doesn’t Ms. Anderson see me sitting on the floor in the back of the room?  I don’t have a desk so I sit back here and sometimes share a chair with my twin sister.  I hand in my assignments and ask questions when I don’t understand.  Doesn’t she understand what it feels like to sit on the floor?  I pretend I don’t care.

I rub the floor with my shoe as if there’s a spot I can’t clean.  I wait with others also not wanted on either team.  I am last to be picked and have to suffer through a “discussion” of whether or not I even need to play.  Doesn’t anybody care how this feels to me?  I pretend I don’t care.

I grew up feeling left out, left behind, and left over.  I am old enough now to know that in each of these situations an adult could have helped to give me a voice.  I feel like kids should care about what happens to them and have somebody to talk to about their feelings.  I try to be this person for the kids in my life.  ~Brenda

There have been many times where I’ve felt left out.  I am the youngest of three children, and not to mention, the only girl.  For majority of my life my mother was a single parent who worked two jobs, which left me at home alone often. Most of the time, I was lonely and afraid.  Growing up I was a tomboy and once I joined church, I tried so hard to fit in with the girls that I began to loose my own identity.  Every decision that was made was a “group” decision; from the people we hung out with, the events we went too and the friends we liked or disliked.  Even with being surrounded by four to five other ladies, I still felt lonely.

To me, the worst time to feel lonely is when you are surrounded by other people. ~Stephanie
Through life’s obstacles such as these, much wisdom can be gained.  Some people look at leftovers as being extra food that nobody wants, but sometimes those leftovers make a better meal the next day, once the flavor has had time to marinate.  That’s how life should be… once you realize you don’t fit into the meal, stop trying to force yourself, you’ll only make yourself sick or end up getting thrown away.  Some foods are better by themselves and so are certain people.  Being alone gives you time to grow up and figure out what your own likes and dislikes are.  It gives you your own voice and it can teach you how to be a better mother, woman, friend and person.  It teaches you to value things that matter in your life and to know when, and how, to walk away.


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One Response to “The Leftovers”

  1. Olga Frederick Says:

    I like how you put your group paper together. Brenda, the framing sentence at the end of each paragraph is really powerful. Great job, guys!

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