Adolescence is normally a period of self-discovery, experimentation and identity formation. It can also be a period of significant turmoil and alienation. My adolescence was spent trying to navigate relationships in an all male household; my parents divorced when I was young, leaving me as the only female in a home with my father and two brothers. As the only female, I often felt alienated; I was considered an “outsider” in many situations. This “outsider” label led to other negative labels; not feminine enough, not obedient enough, basically not good enough and my self-image suffered. It was not until the beginning of high school, and my inclusion into a supportive peer group, that I truly found a space where I felt accepted and able to appreciate certain aspects of my identity. The road to my current, positive concept of identity has been a long one, including college (when I could afford it) and a stint in the military. This paper is an attempt to step back and examine, with the assistance of various sociological concepts and theories, my adolescence and other significant events in my life, that have contributed to the formation of my adult identity and strong sense of self worth.

[Ann Barnes is a pen name.]



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