“Be a Flamingo in a flock of Pigeons”
I thought it would only be appropriate to explain my obsession with flamingos. Flamingos are my favorite animal, but it is more than that. I relate to what flamingos stand for.
I’ve never felt like I quite fit in no matter where I am. I’m kind of socially awkward, and I think differently. I spent all of my years in high school trying to change to fit the cultural norm. I starved myself trying to lose weight to be thin because that was what I was told I should be. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t really possible for my body type. I never had the popular brands in clothes and gadgets because it was too expensive, and yet somehow, that gave my peers a reason to think of me as less and treat me like a second class citizen.
I wasn’t the kind of girl who wanted to sit around and talk about makeup, celebrities, and boys. I was worried about the latest novel or comic, or superhero movie. This never went well in social groups. If I showed excitement for these so-called “nerdy” topics, I was laughed at or received an eye roll. The only thing about me they didn’t mind was my intelligence because I would always help them with homework, but as soon as I was no longer useful, I was no longer included.
The way I was treated made me feel ashamed to be myself. I did everything I could to fit in. I saved my money and bought the cool brands, I lost as much weight as I could and barely ate, I learned to keep my mouth shut about my interests and pretend to be interested in their conversation topics, and I helped them study and do homework. I didn’t like myself much like that either because that’s not who I was.
Even after I molded myself into who they thought I should be, I wasn’t a part of their group. I was still an outcast. They never cared about me. They only cared about what I could do for them. As soon as they didn’t need homework help, they disappeared from my life only to reappear when they needed the help again.
I spent a long time realizing the truth and even longer time going back to who I really was. I had to learn that it didn’t matter what people thought and to get rid of the stigma that I should be ashamed of who I am.
“A flock of flirting flamingos is pure, passionate, pink pandemonium-a frenetic flamingle-mangle-a discordant discotheque of delirious dancing, flamboyant feathers, and flamingo lingo.” – Charley Harper
I am getting to the flamingo part, and it does relate to that story. This experience drove me to love flamingos. When I used to think of Flamingos, I would picture the plastic lawn flamingos which most people think of as cheap or trashy, but that is so one-sided. There is so much more to them. They are living, breathing, proud, and beautiful creatures.
Flamingos are so majestically awkward. They stand on one leg, and even though it looks impossible, they fly. Flamingos couldn’t hide in a crowd (not that they would want to). The bright pink color makes them impossible to miss. They are social creatures and live in flocks like a family. Most importantly, flamingos keep their heads held high. Even though they are different from all the other animals, they are proud never ashamed.
I love flamingos because they stand for all I aspire to be. I want to live beyond what others see me as. I want to have that much confidence and not second guess everything I do. I want to be unapologetic for who I am and to be proud of it. I want to no longer feel the need to fit in to how others want me to be. I just want to be the person I already am, beautiful in my own way.