web analytics
January 27, 2015 / 7 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Breaking Free

Massry-010314-Beads

It was the first day of high school. I glanced around. Everyone looks so similar, I thought glumly. Similar hairstyles. Similar school bags. Similar flats. It was frustrating. Why does everyone have to be the same? I wondered. That question would consume me for the next two years.

I wasn’t a bad girl, and I  didn’t want to be “the outcast.” But I did want to be “me.” I didn’t want to be someone else; I didn’t want to be one of 400 others. I wanted to be unique. But the problem, I realized, is that people often think being unique means  rebelling.” Why couldn’t I do my own thing and still be considered a good girl? I was a good girl. I was just a bit different than the typical Bais Yaakov student.

My background was different than that of most of my classmates. I was exposed to and heard of things that many of my classmates didn’t even know existed. It’s not that I wanted to be exposed, but that was my reality. And so I just didn’t fit the typical mold. As I took in the scene on the first day of school, of what seemed to me like 400-cloned Bais Yaakov look-a-likes, I knew I was in for a tough year. Admittedly, I didn’t look much different then them, but I wanted to look different! I was my own person and I wanted the world to recognize that.

And sure enough, as the year progressed, I was expected to conform. At the time, I had long sleek hair and was frustrated when I was told that my hair was too long to wear down. I had to wear it in a pony.

I will never forget that first melave malka in ninth grade. It was the first formal gathering for which we were not required to wear our uniforms. I wore what I thought looked sharp and modest: a colorful tunic.

Massry-010314-ClothesThe rest of my grade may as well have been wearing a uniform: they were all wearing black skirts (why does everyone have to always wear black?), cardigans, and sweaters. Again, I felt like the sore thumb. I had chosen my outfit carefully, and in the privacy of my bedroom it had seemed so “right.” Although it was colorful, it wasn’t too loud. But in the dim lights of the auditorium, beside my classmates, the outfit screamed of loudness, and I felt different.

There were a few others in my grade who were a bit out-of-the-box like I was, and we stuck together and became friends. They weren’t as daring as me, but they did appreciate me for who I was: a breeze of fresh air in comparison to the rest of the class. Despite my small group of friends, high school was very difficult. I felt claustrophobic and confined. I felt like I wasn’t allowed to be myself. And the worst part was that no one understood how I felt.

I remember one particular afternoon when a teacher approached me. “Atara,” she said, “I see that you are wearing a shell underneath your blouse.”

“Yes, I am!” I answered. “I thought it was a great idea; my shirt was a little open, and the tznius button was too tight, so I decided to wear a shell underneath it.”

I had honestly thought that the shell was a great idea. My mother and sisters has as well. But my teacher did not.

“That is not an acceptable look,” she said sternly. “Please follow me to the office and I will get you a safety pin.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Breaking Free”

  1. I can relate to this. We all want to fit in but, at the same time, be individuals.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israeli soldiers praying as IDF forces seen reinforcing presence in the Golan Heights Northern Israel.
Two Missiles Explode in Golan Heights; IDF Returns Fire
Latest Sections Stories
Resnick-012315-Artist

Nouril concluded he had no choice: He had to become more observant.

Respler-012315

I find his mother to be a difficult person and my nature is to stay away from people like that.

Here are some recipes to make your Chag La’Illanot a festive one.

Baim-012315

Does standing under the chuppah signal the end of our dream of romance and beautiful sunsets?

We aren’t at a platform; we are underground, just sitting there.

Dr. Lowy believed passionately in higher education for both men and women and would stop at nothing to assist young students in achieving their educational goals.

It’s almost pointless to try to summarize all of the fascinating information that Holzer’s research unearthed.

The special charm of these letters is their immediacy and authenticity of emotion and description.

Why is there such a steep learning curve for teachers? And what can we, as educators and community activists, do better in the educational system and keep first-year teachers in the job?

Teachers, as well as administrators, must be actively involved in the daily prayers that transpire at a school and must set the bar as dugmaot ishiot, role models, on how one must daven.

Often both girls and boys compare their date to their parents.

We love the food, the hotels, and even the wildlife. We love the Israelis.

Few traces remain of the glory days of Jewish life in the kingdoms of Sicily and Naples, but the demise wasn’t due to the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius. Rather it was a manmade volcano called the Edict of Expulsion from Spain – and not even an invitation to return in Shevat of 1740 could […]

More Articles from As told to Sarah Massry
Lessons-Emunah-logo

Herman was speechless, yet the look in his eyes said it all. Indeed, his gratitude knew no bounds.

Massry-010314-Beads

In the dim lights of the auditorium, the outfit screamed of loudness, and I felt different.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/breaking-free/2014/01/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: