Exposure Therapy: Canise

Canise Brown, Guest Writer

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I have always had trouble fitting in. I’ve always been a “weird” person, a “different” person. A lot of people don’t like to hang around “weird” people, so I’ve always had trouble making friends. I’ve had a close friend or two, but it wasn’t until I got older that I started becoming a part of big friend groups. I moved back to Minnesota just in time to make friends with people in the second half of the 8th grade. I made new friends, but the old friends that I met in 6th grade acted like I didn’t exist. Some of them I was really close with at the time, so it made me feel like an outcast. 

I’m a very friendly person, and I always try my best to become friends with everyone, so coming to the high school was pretty exciting for me. I was most excited to be a part of the drama community at the high school. A month before the school year started, I auditioned for Trajectories. I was so excited to be on stage. I’m a shy person when I’m around new people, so I was very quiet for the first couple of weeks. I eventually started making new friends which was very exciting for me. Trajectories passed, and it was time for me to branch out and become part of the other shows. This is when being a part of the drama community became harder for me.

The next show I was a part of after Trajectories was Hairspray. Hairspray had its ups and downs, but mostly downs for me. I was part of the costuming crew. I enjoyed working with the costumes and getting them ready for the cast. However, the downs really started when I tried to make new friends. I was in costuming crew with two of my close friends that also enjoyed theater, but we all wanted to meet other people. Trying to become friends with new people during Hairspray was difficult for all of us. I can’t speak for them, but I can certainly speak for myself. I felt like an outcast. 

I was able to make friends with some people, but others just kind of avoided me. I didn’t understand why. I understood that I can be hyper or loud, but a lot of other people were as well. Maybe it was because I was a freshman? It became even worse when I tried to be friends with people in the costume crew. My two friends and I were the only freshmen, the others were mostly sophomores and juniors. They ignored us constantly. They wouldn’t talk to us unless they had to, they would say stuff behind our backs, and one of them even spread a rumor about my mother. 

I was so ready to leave the drama community because my first real experience was horrible. But I decided to stay. You may ask, “why?” and to that I say, because I wanted to. I have always wanted to be part of a community of people with the same interest. But even more than that, I wanted to be on stage. I wasn’t going to allow a couple of bad people ruin what I wanted to do. And there were so many people that I met that were genuinely nice and helped me through everything. But, in the beginning, it was really hard for me. Anyone who was seen as different or unique was written off as weird and a misfit. I was just being myself, but, apparently, at EPHS, being myself, or being different, is considered a negative thing.

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