The one who doesn’t belong

Language Barrier Frustrations by Johnny Silvercloud
Language Barrier Frustrations by Johnny Silvercloud


I can’t help but feel like an alien in an environment where everyone else seems to be so similar. Throughout my life, I can recall events when I’ve felt so alone that I was sure I was detached from the rest of the world. Here’s my story:

When I entered kindergarten, I didn’t know a word of English. The new ‘English’ name that my teacher called me and the language that everyone spoke were all so unfamiliar and uncomfortable to me. What I dreaded the most was recess and lunchtime. People already had their own cliques and play spots, but all I could do was stand there. The language barrier that stood between me and the world seemed indestructible.

As I grew older, I began to gain weight. I stood out immensely in a friend group of thin girls, and I absolutely resented it. I constantly wondered what people would think of me when I was with my friends: perhaps ‘the fat girl’ or ‘the one who doesn’t belong.’ When I told people I did ballet, some would smirk, while others would be confused on how such a chubby girl could possibly balance on her little toes. The environment I was in- my friend group, ballet studio, the world- was so toxic, and once again, I felt alone.

Today, I have conquered these obstacles. I am now fluent in both English and Korean, and I am confident with my body. I always had a book in my hand, probably a Judy Blume or the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and I went out of my comfort zone by talking to people. Even if that meant speaking in Korean (yes, no one understood a single word I was speaking), I made the effort to interact with as many people as I could. With practice, I naturally began to build my vocabulary and making friends became easier. In order to gain confidence with my body, I adapted a healthier lifestyle. I cut out the soda, chips, and late night snacks and replaced them with activities I enjoyed, such as swimming. I also made sure to treat myself, but I learned to find a balance.

But what I believe truly helped me get through all this was a strong support system. When I was upset, I had my mom’s shoulders to cry on. When I was having a hard time in ballet, I reached out to my ballet teacher and expressed my insecurities to her. The fact that someone was there to listen to my story was all I needed, and I appreciate every single person who was there for me throughout these times.

This does not at all mean that I don’t feel isolated anymore. It’s a feeling that everyone will feel at least once in their lives, and I know I will be constantly fighting this battle with myself. If you perhaps feel a similar way and need someone to talk to, feel free to reach out to Teen Line.

Amy, 17



  • I was wondering how/if I could join the blog? I’ve never joined one before but I just want to talk to other people going through the same that I am. I just wanna talk to people who understand.

    • Hi Arielle,

      Are you referring to our message boards? If so, then yes you can join our message boards to speak to other teens who are going through the same things that you are going through. You can view our message boards and sign up here:

      Take care,
      Teen Line Staff

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