I am participating in the ‘Writing Contest: You Are A Writer’ held by Positive Writer – See more at: http://positivewriter.com/writing-contest-you-are-a-writer/#sthash.Hi2UsbpX.dpuf

I had never really given much thought to how I was different.
When I say different, I don’t mean that I needed mental or physical help. I just wasn’t as social as everyone else was. I mean, sure, I had a few best friends, and a few people that I held as a second resort, but never really needed more than that. I just never really thought about it.
I knew that other people had more friends than I did, but I just didn’t get how they could walk up to other people and say, “Hey, I’m Insert-Name-Here, want to hang out sometime?” and suddenly be drawn into a pact of friendship that either side would be hard-pressed to break.
In Hines sight, I probably should have played the part of the nice, kind person, but every time I would even try to ask to sit next to someone at the lunch table, or simply say “Hi,” my throat would get all clogged up and I wouldn’t know what to say. It’s just like that with some things in life. You could be really good at one thing and really fail at the next. You never know when it might be your turn to be best.
The first time that I ever actually thought about my lack in popularity was about four years ago, when I was seven. My parents, my sister, my brother, and I were all sitting around the table, eating dinner. As I twirled my pasta around my fork, I gave them a peek as to what was going on in my mind. “Sarah’s having a party this weekend,” I told them, waiting for their reaction. My mom looked up from Mackenzie, who at the time was only one year old. “That’s great, sweetie,” Mom returned her attention to scooping applesauce from a Gerber jar. “What time is it?”
“I’m… I’m not invited,” I mumbled, but I knew that she had heard me. “Well, why are you telling us, then?” My dad glanced at me, a meatball still speared with his fork. He nodded, waiting for me to continue, “Well, it’s just… she invited every single girl in the class except for me.” And Hannah, I add mentally.
Hannah was one of my few “second-resort” friends, but we’d started hanging out recently. We would hang from the bars or push each other on swings, usually not caring what everyone else thought. Back then, boys were cooties and other girls were just… There. They didn’t really matter to us, but we still wanted to be treated like we mattered, ever though most of them didn’t even note our existence.
I went on to tell them all about how Sarah had made a point of handing out invitations to everyone else, and how I asked if she was going to invite me. I know that I probably shouldn’t have asked, but I thought that maybe she had just forgotten to write out an invitation, or she couldn’t find me in the classroom.
When I asked, however, Sarah made a big point about talking loudly and telling me how there weren’t enough spots for everyone, so she chose the people that she liked the best.
Hannah and I were the only ones that she didn’t.
My mom and dad exchanged a knowing glance that almost said, “I knew this day would come”. My dad cleared his throat. “Morgan,” He began with his fingers tip-tapping on the table. “It’s okay that you’re not as social as the other girls. However, it’s not okay that she handed out the invitations in front of you. That’s just a shaded version of bullying,”
“And, in addition to that,” Mom cuts in, her attention fully focused on me, “She shouldn’t have said all of those mean things to you. Your lack of popularity is partially our fault.”
I felt like I had just been slapped in the face, but I knew that she was right. I had only a few select friends, most of them just as unpopular as I was, but I was perfectly happy with them. I didn’t need lots of friends to be happy.
But as I looked at them, my lips swollen shut with all the questions I wanted to ask, I wasn’t so sure if that was really what I liked anymore.
Why am I like this? Why’re you like this? Can it be fixed?
What should I do?
“Morgan,” My dad looked me straight in the eye and uttered the three words that defined the last seven years that I’d walked on this planet, and the many years to come, “You’re an introvert.”
And right then, I knew I had to do something big to prove him wrong.
My name burst from the microphone, dancing with the static that ran over the intercom. My palms are sweaty with the anxiety of it all. I thought that I already lost. I stumble over a kind couple’s legs, give my apologies, and then continue my dangerous trek down the stairs. Even after winning this, I still wasn’t popular.
I walk over to the steps leading up to the stage and clamber up. The lady looks at me expectantly, and then continues on with the program. “The winner of the Central Ohio Writing Contest for Personal Essay is,” she paused, and I could hardly breathe, “Morgan Gibbs with The Metal Dragon!”
The lady hands me the plaque, and the book signed by Margret Peterson Haddix. I could hardly say thank you. I smile like an idiot while she praises me. I rarely enter anything, (although I do love the attention). I hate that my friends do everything that I do. I had spent the previous week feeling like it would be my friend that would win first place, not I, and she said that, too. I believed her.
Only one coherent thought stumbled through my mind.
This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.


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