I was never popular. In either elementary or high school. I never mastered the art of whatever it was that the girls who were popular had going for them. I tried, make no doubt about it. My efforts at fitting in only ended up with me feeling like an ass and the coveted popular girl giving me a side-eye rife with pity and disdain. I begged my mother for whatever fashion was hip at the moment, I wore my hair just like all the others. But somehow I always fell short. I failed miserably, ending up spending quite a bit on my own while others I knew had oodles of friends and attended parties, hung out together at the arcade, went to weekend hockey games; laughing with bright eyes and confidence. And yet I struggled, stumbled, tried so hard.
I was called names like Mutt-face, Bitch and Slut. I was ridiculed, not invited to parties, mocked and deserted. I was picked on something fierce sometimes.
Was I too loud? Was I too desperate? Was I too tall? Was I just not funny enough/cool enough/smart enough/dumb enough…. enough enough enough???? I’ll never know. Those years between 13 and 18 have molded a part of me into something I can’t quite put my finger on but in that I sometimes still look at myself as a clumsy, oafish, galooty loser with big glasses and zits and a tendency to never ever fit in, no matter how hard I tried.
I spent much of my youth writing out my angst in journals and living in an I-wish sort of world. I had some friends, who managed to mingle with the side of popularity that I never got to dabble in. I did have some fun, I enjoyed most of my teen years. I came into my own around the time I turned 16. I found strength in me to choose to not give a fuck what others thought of me, and that still resonates within me. I chose my own path, wore what I wanted to wear (skin-tight jeans and a black leather tassled jacket. HEY! It was the 80s people….), refused to adhere to what others thought as important.
It gave me power in my own soul, but it also back-fired on me. Rumours swirled about me and my tendency to sleep with any guy (the truth much different, naturally, I blame the pants, big hair and leather jacket), the popular girls still didn’t give me the time of day; I was in a fist-fight with one of those girls, who hated me so much she chose to try to punch my lights out, in grade 11. I wonder now, does she know what she did? Is she raising her children to be better than that? Why did she hate me so much? What on earth did I do to her to warrant a physical attack?
One of those popular girls that I admired and wanted so desperately to be friends with way back then has, sweetly and ironically turned out to be one person that gives me strength today. She knows who she is!
When I think back to those days, it truly has no real resonance in my life anymore. But that doesn’t mean that it didn’t back then. Sneers and whispers were rents torn in the fabric of my spirit. I was a sweet girl with lots to offer, yet those whom I wanted to please wanted nothing to do with me. My 14 year-old self was tattered and morose, labeled a geek, loser, nobody. For some reason, I was chosen to be not chosen.
I am no different than that girl. I am a universe away from that girl. Her and I share everything and have nothing in common. She is defined by the same as I am, yet I refuse to be relegated into what she was defined to be. I weep for her, she was so sweet and kind and only wanted to belong. I belong. Therefore, I have brought her to me, snugged her in to my heart, and comforted her as she still, to this day, desperately tries to fit in.