When have you felt like “the new kid?”
My new coworkers are all giants. Larger-than-life, living, breathing legends. I’ve never been more scared in my life. And let me tell you, when you learn you have super powers by accidentally creating a writhing shadow creature to shield you from bullies, you damn near wet yourself in fear like the bullies do.
It’s not like the world is as unaccepting of mutants and aliens as it once was, it’s just a separate world. We’re no longer viewed in outright horror—who in their right mind would call a pyrokinetic or a 10-foot tall purple scaly alien a “freak” to their face?—but there is still an Othering that occurs. You become something greater, something to idolize, something to envy. You graduate to a new class.
And you become the new kid at the bottom of the totem pole again. Relegated to the minor jobs that the tenured heroes don’t have time for because they’re busy stopping a nuclear explosion or hostile alien invasion or something with actual excitement and major consequences. Not “latrine duty,” catching bank robbers and petty thieves. Not that I mind it. I’m a summoner, not an invincible Adonis.
Honestly the most frustrating part of my new job and status is my totally normal family constantly asking me to get autographs from some of my cohorts. Like, yeah, I’m a huge fan too, but I have to work with these people. Gotta keep it professional. Can’t be fangirling 24/7. I tell them I might inquire around the holidays. They’re always signing things for people at the holidays, a couple more for a coworker can’t hurt, right?
Besides, one day that will be me out there saving the world in the global conflicts, or maybe even the intergalactic ones. I’ll be at their side instead of in their shadows. Right now though, I’m just enjoying being here in the presence of all these great heroes and learning as much as I can from them. And my creatures are getting more solid as I figure out my powers. Maybe being the new kid isn’t so scary after all.
Notes: I thought about going literal with this one and dropping a young character into a new school, but then I got thinking about all the times in my adult life that I felt like the “new kid.” One thing that really stuck out in my mind was when I changed teams at work. The night before, I commented to my husband that even though I wasn’t changing jobs per se, the excitement of starting with a new team in a new office in a different town was akin to the first day of school.
So I went the “new job” route in this one, but of course, I’m a one trick pony and I put a fantasy twist on it. I had Miles Morales on the mind as the newest Spiderman for inspiration, even though I didn’t exactly write about Spiderman. I also stuck with the first person POV, which is a bit odd for me as I don’t tend to feel comfortable writing in that POV, let alone doing it two days in a row.
As always, now it’s your turn. When have you felt like the new kid? How difficult was it for you to acclimate and make friends? What other challenges did you face? How did you overcome them? These are all excellent questions to ask of your characters too. You might learn something about them!
Whew, we made it through the first full week of the year! Congratulations! Take a break this weekend, you earned it! I’ll see you on Sunday with next week’s prompt list!