Friday, July 1, 2011

On being a Loser.

I was a loser in school. Seriously. I wore glasses. I had very long, very frizzy hair. I was too smart and threw off the curve. I was incredibly bad at sports. Picked almost dead last every time. Except once there was this popular girl who took pity on me, I guess. When she was a team captain, she would pick me 3rd or 4th. I never new why. Anyways, I was seriously good at math. I was in the gifted program. I read books while other kids struggled with algebra. I read books at recess.

Other kids bullied me and the teachers saw and did nothing. One girl pinned me to the floor with a desk during class. Like, tipped it over on top of me and held it there. Nothing happened to her. One girl pulled down my gym shorts while I was on my period. She didn't get into trouble either. Boys sexually harassed me daily, spreading rumors about me and telling everyone I was a slut. They called me a devil worshipper. If I stood up for myself, I got in trouble. Once I made the mistake of asking for mediation with the head of my hate committee. Living that down took months. My only friends were other losers. I didn't like them, and they probably didn't like me, but we were all we had. I still remember the names of my tormenters. Caleb. Bridget. Sarah. Paige. Nakeya. There was this really clever boy who barked at me every day because my last name starts with b-o-w, even though it's pronounced bow like rainbow or hairbow or cross bow or bow-and-arrow. Bow-noun, not Bow-verb.

High school was a little bit better because I fell in with the drama geek crowd. Interestingly, it's where a lot of the white kids congregated. My school was about 5% white, so... I wasn't popular by any means, but I was a bit talented, and that went a long way. I was also in honours and AP classes and served as president of the Academic Decathlon. I went to colleges in the summer to take part in smart-kid programs, so I spent my summers studying calculus, latin, and electrical engineering. For our final exam, we built a 4-function calculator out of a box of parts.

College was better still - more drama geeks, and somehow I was kinda popular in certain crowds. People seemed to want me around and enjoy my company. It was weird for me. It still is. I still don't get it because in my heart, I'm still 12 or 13. People are still pretending to be my friend so they can gather information with to hurt and embarrass me later. I was never in with the really popular people - never inducted into any of the secret societies or anything, but I was busy double majoring and had great friends that were also in that same boat.

Surrounding yourself with other losers and geeks creates a barrier - you get a certain amount of protection, buffering, strength in numbers and all that.

I'm in this rather clique-ish ward at church. I was invited to this party. It's up in SLC, so a meet-up location was announced for the purpose of carpooling. Being the personality type that I am, I got to the meet up location 10 minutes early. I stayed until 20 minutes after we were supposed to leave. I can only assume that they communicated with each other and chose a different location. I RSVPed to the even on FB, and at least 2 of the girls going have my number and are generally nice to me.

But suddenly I'm that girl again. I wonder if it's possible to ever outgrow the scars of adolescence. I don't believe anyone was being malicious, but it's hard to imagine that no one had the thought to drive by the meet-up place just in case someone went there. Seems pretty silly not to, right?

I hate that I can still be so adversely affected by things that occurred almost 20 years ago. On reflection, I can see that I don't, and didn't, fit in well. I'm weird. I hide it better now than I did then, because I didn't know any better. I didn't know that I had to lie about myself. Having done some research, I think I've come to understand some of my stranger behaviors and how they're connected. It doesn't make it too much easier, though.

I hate that I care. I hate that I don't understand what people find worth liking or loving in me. I hate that having friends baffles me. And right now, I hate that there's an amazing guy who likes me, and I don't know how to let him, because he's the popular kid type, and I'm a bespeckled awkward girl, and I don't know how not to be. 15 years ago, him (or his type) talking to me would have been the beginning of a cruel joke. And it doesn't seem to me that the world has changed so much, so how am I supposed to let my guard down?


  1. Good lord I identify with this post! I was so deeply unpopular (which is actually the nicest way I can put it) growing up. You never can quite shake what that does to you, or at least I can't.

  2. Foxy Roxy, I never would have guessed it. Not in a million years.