Being different is, well, different. Everybody has felt different at some point in their life, and for some that feeling is a fleeting moment, while for others it seems to exist alongside them at every moment. Being in college can make difference feel all the more exacerbated, as if everyone knows about some mysterious path to walk and you’ve been left without any directions and nobody wants to bother to stop and tell you where you’re supposed to go.
Feeling different means you look around and can feel eyes on you that don’t exist. You feel like someone’s used a massive highlighter to scribble arsenic yellow onto your entire body to make sure everyone knows you’re doing something wrong. It feels like you can never do anything quite right; there’s some memo you’re missing, some instruction everyone else knows but no one remembered to tell you. Do they even understand the instructions they’re following? Can you?
They dodge flickering gazes, try to flash the most permissibly disinterested smile when you manage to catch their eye. You think of self-defense scenarios as if anybody, everybody, wants to dig their verbal teeth into your skin the second they get the chance. But nobody ever does. At least, not in front of you. You can imagine what they say to their friends when you’re not in the room.
When feeling different, it feels like nobody else in the world has ever been different before yourself. But that’s not true. Everyone has been different before, and at least a few other people have felt exactly the same as you have at some point. And then the irrationality stops and you allow yourself to relax.