It used to hurt me so much that others ostracised me. It happened a lot for the first twenty years of my life. I really struggled with it. First because I was the shy kid. Later because I was the geek kid. Even later on, due to sectarianism. I suffered many a bout of depression, dealing with these anxieties.
Today, though, I am quite content to be the stranger in your midst. I have few genuine friends, but those friendships I have are strong. I can count the real friends on my fingers, but those relationships have stood the test of time, lasting for years. Naturally, my wife is my best friend, so kind to me and supportive, believing in me with a maturity rarely found. How blessed I was to be granted a companion like this.
Recently I reacquainted myself with folk I knew long ago, once foremost in anathematising me for my skeletal frame and nerdy appearance. For a time, their treatment of me preoccupied me at length — in fact, my gloom lasted long after we parted company.
Hard though it was to understand at the time, I was being protected and saved for something better back then. I was a soul in training, being prepared for greater things to come. I was having my ego tamed. I was being prepared to have the confidence to walk an alternate path which would otherwise have been difficult to adopt, given the strong religious culture of my family. My soul was being forged into a shape capable of declaring: “I don’t care what people think of me for taking up this path.”
Today I can say with ease: “You know, I don’t care at all if you think I’m a loser, a geek, an unceasing bore.” Indeed, I have long embraced my inner nerd. I am growing comfortable with my face and form. I no longer care what people think of me. I am what I am, and those that mean the most to me in my life have embraced that too. Be your own man (or woman) and be content in the decree of your Lord.