I am a major Star Wars fan, more specifically of The Clone Wars. I have always felt like a bit of an outcast. I’ve been bullied because of my love for “nerdy things”. Now I have found a group of friends who I hang out with a lot, but I don’t feel like I’m accepted for who I am. They rarely listen to what I have to say, and if I refer to something sci-fi, I’m ridiculed for it. I’m often asked why I wear the clothes I wear (most happen to be from Her Universe), and that doesn’t feel too good. I want to connect with people, but I don’t think they want to connect with me. I’ve made an effort to get into stuff that they like, but they haven’t done that for me, saying that any movie that has a character named Princess Leia has got to be stupid.
I’d appreciate any suggestions on how to handle situations like this.
Lone Fangirl Among her Friends
Dear Lone Fangirl:
Not feeling accepted by one’s friends never feels good, and I’m sorry that you don’t feel accepted in your current group of friends. You love Star Wars and Her Universe for a reason, and you have been confident enough to express your love for these things, despite the ridicule of your friends. I applaud you for that. There are many young women who suppress their own voice and their own interests in order to fit in. I’m sure you could dress the way your friends dress and never mention sci-fi, and you might fit in with them better, but doing so would not be true to yourself. It never feels good to quiet your own voice and to hide who you really are.
When I was young and used to be ridiculed for being a drama geek, I sometimes downplayed my interest in drama, fantasy, and books in order to fit in. Doing so never really felt right, though, and I didn’t feel true to myself. In junior high, I had better luck when I found a community acting class outside of my school. It felt great to meet other drama geeks, and I felt more accepted and less alone. When I found something that I loved, I felt more confident, and I started to accept myself a little more.
Self-acceptance is very important for all of us to learn. Those of us who have been bullied and ridiculed as kids often start to internalize others’ negative words, and we start to say the same things to ourselves that others have said to us. Perhaps we think, “I’m so weird.” Or “Why can’t I just fit in?” We start to question ourselves because others don’t seem to understand us. This is a very normal thing to do, but it also causes us to feel even more insecure. It is essential that we not believe these self-criticisms. You like Star Wars for a reason, so you know that what your friends are saying isn’t true for you. However, it sounds like there’s a part of you that doubts yourself. It’s important not to let these self-doubts get to you. Please know that you don’t have to believe everything that others say about you, and you certainly don’t have to believe everything that you think about yourself.
Feeling more comfortable with yourself can help you feel more comfortable in social situations in general. When do you feel the most comfortable with yourself? It is most likely when you’re doing something you enjoy. Remember what that self-comfort feels like, and remind yourself of that feeling when you’re in social situations. Take a few deep breaths and allow your body to relax. Notice if you are clenching any of your muscles, and allow them to unclench. When you feel more relaxed in general, others pick up on this too, and you might find that they react to you differently. I do not mean to say that when others ridicule you it is your fault. I simply mean to say that when you feel relaxed and confident in yourself, you may be less bothered by ridicule from others.
No matter how hard we work to accept ourselves, however, I realize that it still feels better to be accepted by others as well. I’m sorry that these new friends have not made an effort to accept you. It sounds like you would like to convince your current group of friends that there is nothing wrong with Star Wars or sci fi. If your friends ridicule Star Wars or the Clone Wars, you can always ask them if they’ve seen the films or TV episodes, and if they haven’t, invite them to watch them before stating their opinions. It can be possible to change the opinions of the majority group, but it can also be difficult. Doing so often only happens when the person with the minority opinion in the group stays confident in their opinion and does not waiver under pressure or under ridicule.
At the same time, there may be some people who simply never come around to seeing your point of view. This can be very frustrating, when you want your friends to see what you see in Star Wars, and when you want them to accept you for who you are. Just know that there are other nerds and geeks out there who do understand you. You will likely find more support among other girls who also love Star Wars and Her Universe. Connecting on the Her Universe pages can be a great way to start. Also, if you google “Fangirl meetups,” you will find lists of the many community groups for fangirls out there. Star Wars.com also lists groups of Star Wars fans (under Connect). I think if you search enough, you can find friends who will connect with you about the things that you are passionate about. Connecting with others with the same interests may help you feel more confident and may help you accept yourself, even when others do not.
Wishing you all the best,
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