I remember hearing Janis Ian's "At Seventeen" back in the day--1975. Can I just say: it resonated.
I was an ugly duckling. I wasn't popular in school; as far as I knew, no boy was hankering after me. (It turned out that my eventual husband was actually aware of and enamored of me, but he dropped out of school, so I was pretty much in the dark there. We figured all of this out much later.)
Color me one of the clueless ones. I didn't know how to dress, how to talk, how to act in a way that would render me at least acceptable. High school mystified me and made me suffer. Oh how I did suffer. It wasn't really a matter of not being able to be myself, because I didn't really even know who I was.
What I did know was that I was on the outside. On the outside, and I had no idea how to break the barrier to get into the inside.
It's probably just as well, in the long run. I didn't have to conform in order to belong--there was never any question of belonging--and I didn't have to kowtow to the reigning "mean girls." I grew up, and all that stuff just melted away.
But at the time, it was a horror show. I am so fucking glad I never have to do high school again.
Here is Janis's incredibly knowing and sensitive song.