Feeling like a loser has come easily to me lately. Sometimes when I’m having a conversation with my friends at school and I say something, they respond, “Oh, Britney” in a condescending way, like I’m a senile character on a television show that is beloved for their incompetence. How did I end up here? Everyone seems to have this idea that I don’t serve any purpose except to occasionally tell a stupid joke or break the silence with awkward dancing. If I’m not laughing and smiling, I’m met with “Are you OK? What’s wrong?”

Occasionally, random pieces of trash are thrown at my head while I’m at lunch or walking down the stairs, which feeds my feelings of being a misfit, and I don’t mean in a cool, Enid Coleslaw/Veronica Sawyer way. I’ve never given much thought to the social order, but this year it seems to have collapsed on me. Whenever I come in contact with my popular classmates, they pretend I don’t exist or take the opportunity of my presence to steal my books or let me know how much they hate me. Last year, I wasn’t in the same classes with them—we were all equals who hung out with one another.

Another thing that’s made me feel bad lately: my age. I love being a teenager, but apparently, I shouldn’t be listened to because of how briefly I’ve been a part of the world. “Sorry, but if you look like a kid, then I’m going to treat you like a kid,” someone only a few years older than me said today when I told her I’m 13. We were talking about life and existentialism and Jean-Paul Sartre, things like that, and upon finding out that I am in eighth grade, the conversation ended. “Most people your age are really annoying and stupid.”

Oh, the joys of other people. ♦