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The Cost of Fitting In

It’s 1980 something and I am a bookish, half Asian, 15 year old girl, surrounded by blonde haired blue eyed girlfriends. The running joke is that I would rather be at home reading the dictionary than go out and have fun. They aren’t entirely wrong.

One summer Friday, my friends invite me to join them at a club on over/under night called the Yellow Jaguar. I desperately want to fit in and was thrilled to be included. I dressed in a tight, black spandex dress, the kind of dress you see the background girls wearing in an 80’s rap video on MTV. It barely covers a third of my body, but everyone is complimenting me. I tell myself this is the price of being with the “in crowd” and that I shouldn’t be such a prude. It’s good to be daring once in a while, right?

I know as soon as we walk into the club that I am in the wrong place. I expected more teens to be here, but it’s mostly older guys. As my friends confidently saunter about, I hang back and watch, like a rabbit surrounded by wolves. The thumping music overwhelms me. The scents of stale cigarette smoke and spilled alcohol trapped in the dingy carpets make me a little nauseous. I begin imagining a series of scenarios in my mind, none of them good, as to how this night could end. I look through the crowd and see a pay phone. I have an out. I can call my Dad and ask him to come pick me up.

What will my friends say? What if they never invite me out again because I am so lame? The scheming eyes of an oily guy raking up and down my body solidifies my decision. I call my Dad and he is on his way.

When I told my friends I was leaving, they couldn’t understand, but also didn’t seem put out about it. They said goodbye and turned back to the dance floor. Dad came and picked me up. He only asked me one question in the car, “Are you OK?” Yes. I was.

The lesson I learned that day stuck with me and evolved into the Self-Mastery Success Method I use today.  Know who I am.  Know what I want.  Take decisive action.  Keep learning and growing.

While I did see those girls again, our paths began to diverge from that point. I didn’t force myself to fit in anymore. The price was too high.