Tara Jacek's Story: "Odd is Okay"
I am excited that Tara Jacek is sharing her story with all of us. I stumbled on Tara's blog (Girl Seeks Career) last week and I'm so glad I did. She is a young professional blogging about her experiences and provides advice to young women entering the work world. I highly recommend checking out her blog after you’ve read her post here. She has really inspired me. We each shared our stories for the others blog.
Everyone has had to overcome something- right? Even the perfect girls with perfect hair, great fashion sense, college paid for by grandparents and parents paying for their ultra cool loft apartments. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. I don’t know if it’s true or not if these girls have it as easy as I think. Sometimes I wonder if we are all very confused and lost and everyone else just looks better.
Maybe I look like a perfect girl to my co-workers, my friends, and strangers. Maybe I am that cool girl with the kindle fire in Panera Bread looking very cute with her Vera Bradley purse. Maybe that girl I think is perfect is jealous of me thinking I’m the perfect one.
My life isn’t so bad. I have a place to live, I have a great guy in my life and cats, I have a car and a full time job. I’m not at all near where I thought I would be at this point of my life.
I’ve always been a bit...odd.
And that’s where everything begins. I’ve always been different in some way or another. I was quite when everyone else was loud and I was loud when I was suppose to be quite.
In elementary school I refused to wear jeans until 6th grade (where I am from elementary school went until 6th grade), I had friends, I was a teacher’s pet and I did very well in school even with a reading problem (more like a refusal to read). Then for many reasons my entire family decided to move from the Northern part of the United States to the Southern part.
But I was almost eleven and kids bounce back fast, right?
I’m the odd one.
From that moment on I knew I wouldn’t fit in. The people closest to me told me I was different and wouldn’t. They told me no one would ever like me. At eleven, it was true - wasn’t it? And it stuck with me, I went from teacher’s pet to scared of school. No matter how hard I tried, I never fit in. I was scorn in my first math class for being ahead and already knowing how to multiply fractions and whole numbers. It was weird that I liked to read (my refusal to was over by middle school).
The worse came when in an attempt to be liked by the neighborhood kids I “took up” witchcraft. The other kids wanted to learn so I joined in. We were going to shape swift into panthers and birds. Problem was, when their parents found out they blamed the Northerner. My parents didn’t understand the problem the parents had. My parents were too “open” to the idea. They had bought me the Wiccian books and encouraged me to be involved with something. One parent even had their child come up to me and tell me I was going to hell and would burn. Lovely, no? My dad gave me a tape recorder and sent me on a mission to tape the kids and their cruel words.
The plan didn’t work when they discovered the tape recorder (it dropped from my pocket) and they became crueler. When I younger boy and his sister threatened me my dad called the police. The police said kids would be kids and I was probably making parts of it up.
After I was threatened on the bus to be burned to death my dad pulled me from school and attempted to home school me. The school system was unhappy about this and threatened my dad. I was able to stay out for the last 2 months of my 7th grade year but had to return for my 8th grade year.
Rumors continued and the teachers were cruel - I stopped caring about school. I made myself sick and I faked sick.
Already bruised from middle school, high school was a nightmare. Already odd, I couldn’t keep up. I was still considered the Yankee, the Northerner, and I liked things others didn’t. Friends came and went and I spent more time crying my eyes out than studying. I put myself in exile and became depressed often. A teacher even bought someone in to talk to me. Her solution was I had ADD after I mentioned I couldn’t pay attention in Biology. Desperate for any attention, I often ended up in abusive friendships. Two abusive boyfriends later, I graduated college - just barely- with a degree in graphic design.
It was the end of my second abusive relationship and last year of college that I really took control of myself. I was finally around people that accepted people were weird but more importantly I discovered my own worth of being different. It was hard to pull myself up at that moment, but I luckily had people around me that wouldn’t let me drown. They pushed me until I could push myself.
I look at myself now and hate that I could started living too late. I wish I had accepted myself sooner and did better in school. I see girls my age and younger that are farther ahead in their careers. I see girls making names for themselves. But through all of this, and I haven’t given details or situations, just a general overview I realized that any negativity I received was because I was different. It was because I asked different questions and thought differently. I asked “Why?” and “How come?” and I questioned when a teacher wouldn’t give me the time or consider my opinion. When I was faced with the negativity I never took up for myself and won people’s respect, I let them walk over me.
When branding myself in my senior year I came across this quote:
“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ but I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?” - George Bernard Shaw
I’m different. And I’m living just fine. And what makes me different makes me me.
Tara Jacek is a young graphic designer and blogger. She is a Yankee that loves country music and has no problems being a future cat lady.
Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.
See you at the beach!