Fitting In
March 2000

“Fitting In,” Liahona, Mar. 2000, 11–12

Fitting In

As I lay in the motel room anticipating the next day’s state cross-country race, I struggled with all the difficult emotions a 16-year-old can have. I felt I was running worse than in past years. I felt ugly. Having never had a date or a boyfriend compounded my feelings of insecurity. I wanted so badly to feel accepted.

I had gone to bed early, and my teammates thought I was asleep. I heard them giggling, and then they nudged my shoulder and said, “Here, Jenny. Have some water.” I could distinctly smell that it was not water.

I was angry at these “friends” for trying to play a trick on me. Did they think I was stupid? I was scared they might force the alcohol down my throat. I yearned for the security of my family, but that seemed childish for someone my age.

A thousand questions raced through my mind. By drinking, will I be part of the “in” crowd? Will the alcohol make me beautiful? Will it give me a boyfriend? Will I be able to run faster or even win the race tomorrow?

I knew the answers to these questions. I said firmly, “No, that’s not water, and I’m not going to drink it.” Even though both of those girls beat me in the race the next day, I knew I had won a more important race in the Lord’s eyes.

The bus trip home seemed particularly long. I was anxious to return to my family and tell my mother what had happened.

The next night at dinner Mom presented me with a gift. My five brothers and sisters watched me open it. It was to let me know my family was proud of my decision to live the Word of Wisdom.

Around the dinner table that night my family helped me feel talented, beautiful, and accepted—an acceptance I may never find at school or on a cross-country team.