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What Up in the Chair Means

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When I was young, I did not have many friends. I remember being made fun of
most of the time I wasn’t doing schoolwork. Even though I loved school, and the
teachers liked me well enough, I still couldn’t understand why the other kids didn’t like
me. Maybe it was because I had an overactive imagination. Or because I wanted to be
friends with everyone (and I mean everyone). Or maybe because I would shake my
arms like a flapping bird when I got excited or nervous. Maybe it was all three, and then
In first grade, I made a friend outside of school: Rebecca. We met in Sunday
school and got along right away. She didn’t mind my quirks, and I barely even noticed
any of hers. We are still friends today.
In second and third grade, I managed to make some friends in school- some
didn’t last, while others were rekindled in middle school or high school. In fourth grade, I
had two close friends: Tia and Robin. We called ourselves the Three Musketeers: we
always talked in class, sat together at lunch, and played at recess. Unfortunately, I’ve
lost contact with them both.
Thankfully in middle school, I was finally able to be part of a friend “group”- four
or more people. I could really and truly be myself around them. We shared similar
interests, and though I dove a bit deeper into Broadway musicals, anime, fanfiction, and
writing than what was considered a “normal” amount, my friends stood by me. I’ve
continued to make close friends throughout high school and college, bonds that have
lasted until this very day.
You may be wondering, “What is the point of this lengthy anecdote?” The point is
that it feels amazing, after all those years of not belonging, to finally feel included. To be
accepted and even celebrated, for both your positive traits and your flaws.
That is why the Up in the Chair mission means so much to me. I know I am not
the only one who has gone through something like this. For a child whose physical or
mental ability, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, or interests don’t fit into what is
“normal”, it can be difficult for them to make and keep friendships. I want to make sure
that these children are included, accepted, and celebrated. I want to make sure that they know that they are perfect the way they are and that someday, they will
accomplish something great.