The Girl in the Corner

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“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou

This was a big week for me. I had a panel group interview at a local college in hopes to get accepted into their Master’s of Clinical Counseling program. It was much different than I thought it would be…in a good way. As the eight of us took seats in a circle, a Graduate Assistant began to ask us questions. The first question was, ” What type of person are you drawn towards?” ….

Immediately, my mind put a spot light on “the girl in the corner.” 

As I sit here and write this, I’m crying. You’re probably wondering why I would be drawn to this girl…she excludes herself, she isn’t joyful, she’d weigh down a light-hearted girls night out, and if I wasn’t looking…I wouldn’t even notice her. 

Why then, would I be drawn to her? 

Because I was her. 

And if I allow it, she comes knocking back on my door, wanting to push me into the corner again. 

Ladies, believe me when I tell you this. During middle school, I was picked on, made fun of, lied to, tormented, and was always the last to be chosen in gym class. I was the girl that boys would “ask out” in order to dump  the next second to see my cry. I had little confidence, a flat chest, frizzy hair, and a big nose. I was labeled “prude”, a cry baby, and told I wasn’t any fun. For those of you who went to school with me, you may not remember this time of my life, but I sure do. 

I remember talking to God  (who I knew very little about at the time) and asking him “Lord, if you could make me prettier, more outgoing, maybe a cheerleader… or just someone more than I am already, I promise to remember what it’s like to feel this way and do something good with it.” 
As I entered High School things did start to change and I became friends with the “popular” crowd. And although I was considered this, I felt very much a part of the outer circle of this group. It wasn’t necessarily their fault at all-  I just didn’t really feel like I “fit in” anywhere, to be honest. I had a few very close friends who were (and are) still so dear to me, but I don’t think even they knew how I felt . I did a good job pretending to fit in. Even when I got voted onto “Prom Court”, I remembered standing there wondering if people would start to “boo” at me when I stood up there with my bouquet of flowers. 

About my talk with God. 

I think God may have taken me up on my offer as a child. He didn’t really make me what I wanted…He made me who HE wanted. He didn’t give me a perfect life-he gave me a broken life, in order for His light to shine through.

Thank God, because it’s hard to tell what kind of person I would have been on my own. 

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, caking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4

About my promise….

So, I got accepted into the program. 

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  1. I hope that someday I will find where I fit, too. I know I belong to the Lord but daily I struggle with where I fit. You are a beautiful reminder that one day, I will find my niche.

  2. I loved reading this! Thank you! Little Jenelle was adorable in that picture! We always see ourselves and feel differently than others do. I can relate to being chosen last for sports etc. That was me. I was the shortest and least athletic in my class and sports seemed to matter so much back then. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for your transparency. Thank you for being vulnerable. Thank you for the reminder that God is not distant and that He hears us when we come to Him even if we don’t know Him very well.

  4. What a brave post, Janelle! I earned a Master’s in Counseling and God has brought much good from it. Can’t wait to see as His plans unfold for you! You’re always such an encouragement.

  5. I’m crying right along with you. I was also teased, made fun of and called all sorts of names in school because my family was poor, my clothes and hair smelled like cigarette smoke, and our cars we’re beat up clunkers. Some of those things still bother me on occasion. I’m so sorry you went through that. You are such a beautiful woman, inside and out and your painful past may be just what someone else today needs to hear. Xoxo

  6. That made me teary 🙂 Thank you for being so open. My mind was doing flashbacks to my own growing-up years as I read. How gracious the Lord is to allow his greatness to shine through our great weakness! I struggle too, almost daily, with that ‘old girl’ knocking on my door encouraging me back into the corner. Christ can give us the victory every day <3

  7. Janelle,
    Thank you for sharing. It is always such a growing experience to look back, reflect and see how much we have grown. 🙂 I look forward to your posts – and am always inspired by what you share.

  8. Thank you for such a heartfelt message. I am just trying to write an ebook about my similar experiences and the memories still hurt some 30+ years later – obviously not a much, but the sting is still there. I think there were so many young girls like us and it breaks my heart that it still goes on today. God is so good though, He finds us a place that is just right. It may take a little bit of time, but it does happen. Thank you for bring your story out in the open as I am sure it will help someone going through similar situations. I always enjoy your posts!! Thank you for them!!

  9. Jaime McLeod says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! I too was not popular in middle school and I didn’t know God back then. That time in my life was so depressing and I even stopped going to school for about 3 months, staying home and pretending I had a sore stomach. I remember looking in the mirror one day when I was home alone and I felt lost. Suddenly, I felt some happiness out of nowhere and I remember looking in the mirror and I suddenly felt some confidence. The next day I went to school again and to my surprise, a lot of kids asked if I was ok. I look back now and realize that someone was praying for me, someone I didn’t know but someone who must have noticed me. This is a reminder to me to pray for those we see who are lost and sad, even if we can’t talk to them, prayers matter and it changed my life course.

  10. I thought I was reading my own story and yes it is a struggle to (believe that I) fit in and not move back to the comfortable corner!
    Congratulations on your acceptance to the program! I can’t wait to hear more about that journey!

  11. Janelle – thanks for sharing this awesome post. I’m sure there are many women who can relate to you. Congrats on your being selected for this special program. WOOOHOOO for you!!

  12. Janelle, your story is so similar to mine. It hurts. No wonder I have always felt a bond to you. Love you! Our identity and worth is found in Christ alone, and that is so comforting.

  13. So encouraging to know other women go through the same struggles as I do. Thank you for sharing, I love your posts and recipes! Congratulations on getting into the program!

  14. Janelle – I just read this and am in tears too! To be completely candid – I always thought you were so “together” in school and thought “I should be more like that”!! It’s so humbling to know that we are all so similar in our inner struggles.

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