Low Self-esteem

No confidence


It’s fair to say I was an unassuming teenager who might have dismissed my flaws as a strong silent type as some sort of cope.

When I looked the truth in the mirror, you could say I was scared, worried about impeding adulthood, being responsible and what role I was to play in that society.


By sixteen I’d finished school and moved onto a sixth form college to study Information Technology. It was never a burning long term career choice, but more a delay tactic having to face the world of work for at least two more years

At this point, I’d forgotten how to make friends. Seven years at the same school had made it easier not to, and those I hung round with were the dregs of various groups, made into a bunch of odd-shapen misfits.

The freaks, losers, nerds and hopeless romantics, all the type of kids (male of course) who made up the bottom sets of schools anywhere you went.

It felt like a mercy killing to finally leave, averaging C’s an average unassuming result, for an average, unassuming child.

Though for this underachiever, it felt like achievement as I defied the predictions my teachers expected.

Victory aside, no, now here I was on my own.

My oddity friends either went into trades at the local technological college, the military, or accepted their uncertain fate like their fathers before them, laying about doing much of nothing with the other white underclass and never weres.

Never mind “How to win friends and influence people”

How about “how to make casual mutual acquaintances who’ll acknowledge you in public and engage in casual chit chat with people”

My problem is more relatable, but I guess as a book title not as catchy.

I was a mouse, who never mastered small-talk, afraid of saying anything out of fear of making an embarrassment of myself, no ambition, interests or pre-legal age social activities circle of friends to belong to.

I wasn’t in the football team, nor the debate society, and I certainly wasn’t invited to parties, even to fill the numbers.

There were the kids on the college bus who liked Indie bands, and Indie films, who in hindsight weren’t as cool as the pedestal I placed them on, but who seemed like the crowd, someone like me was supposed to hangout out with.

One day I gave one of the Indie kids a Withnail & I poster from my copy of Melody Maker, and for a second I had hoped that was my way in, but my lack of verbal abilities to build on this let me down again, and in reality, it was another Tuesday.

My actual college friends experience, was once again – you guessed it, paired up with the misfits, the parts who fit nowhere in particular.

I was a teenage dirtbag, but trust me, my life wasn’t a film with Jason Biggs where I got the girl.


Sometime after turning seventeen, my lecturer handed out the UCAS forms for the class to submit their “options”.

Options, options, everyone was supposed to have options, why wouldn’t you submit your options of where you want to go to university?

“What you’re not sure if you actually want to go to university?”

Of course you do! You want to be someone right?”

“You want to achieve something in life right?”

This is a story, I’ve recounted before, a moment that was defining for me as being one of the first times I said no.

Though in that recollection I skipped the part where I did think about it, rather than how I made myself sound defiant in my choice to begin with.

The truth is somewhere I got time off from college to attend an open day at the university, I don’t remember if I ever had serious intention, but it was an excuse to get day release from that vile place.

It was just me and my misfit friends, slouching about campus and listening to forgettable lectures, presented by boring grown-ups the same age as my dad, about how going to that university would be such a boon to starting your career.

What could have seemed like new opportunity and more things staying the same in my life at the same time.

University seemed like creating more things to be afraid of, all the students who made up the place seemed much taller, more rugged with pointy facial features.

More sports clubs not to be involved in, more girls to have no interest in more, more parties to not be invited to.

I was already sure of my decision, and hoped for something to convince me this would be good, but then an innocent remark sealed my final choice.

“These new prospective students, is it me or do they look younger every year”

An innocent remark said by a man with a text book under his arm and dark jacket, who looked like the type of bloke who’d always order pretentious craft ale at the bar.


From there, sometime after I turned eighteen, I never knew where I would go next, tomorrow was the start of the next opportunity that would become my life.

(This post was supposed to have a positive spin to this but I got carried away with the word count… tune in next week it see if I can achieve this.)

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5 thoughts on “Finding My Way Amongst Unassuming, Odd-Shapen Misfits and Outcasts

  1. I was an outcast from my third year in junior school and all the way through Comprehensive school.
    I was probably an outcast all the way through junior school with my earliest memory of bullying being right at the beginning. But feeling an ourcast was from the third year junior school, until I left Comprehensive.

    I couldn’t wait to leave Comprehensive school and I never looked back or wanted to look back at the years in Comprehensive school. They were in particular painful and unhappy years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Liz, thank you for sharing – sorry to hear that, the school years in reflection were nothing much special, much prefer being an adult without all the social groups to judge you and expectations!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Teenage years can be so difficult for kids who only discover themselves and what they want to do later in life. Some survive those years and become brilliant while others struggle to find their path. How much of that was because there weren’t any adults with imagination to see into the spirit of the kid or to see their potential? How many struggled with undiagnosed anxiety or depression that took away their zest for life? I wonder about those things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that was it, I never really had much drive as a teenager, and only started figuring what I thought I wanted at 23, before finding my stride in my 30’s!

      I like to think now there is more understanding on the quirks and conditions of our next generation, although I’m talking about the 90’s, I still feel there was a culture of dismissing you as a success or winner in life, based on those few short years.

      Thank you for commenting Tamara.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, those were definitely the years of dismissing people early on, and not giving people a chance to blossom! People loved to put people into one of 2 categories: a winner or a loser, and so many people ended up suffering tremendously by those thoughtless and judgmental times!

        Liked by 1 person

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