Dear Backpacking Dad, I accept the fact that I had to sacrifice a whole evening in writing this post for whatever it is that you giving away on your blog, But I think you’re crazy for making me write a post telling you who I think I am. You see me as you want to see me, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what I know is that I am:
an athlete(does yoga count?)
a basketcase(ask my therapist)
a princess(I can feel any little piece of fuzz in my bed..but I can't do that Lipstick Trick that Claire could do)
and a criminal(once I left Target without paying for a toy that was underneath my cart, and didn't realize it until later...but then I never went back)
Does that answer your question?
And just so you think I am not taking the easy way out... High school was awful for me. The high school I attended had 300 in my class, and I wasn't one of the In Crowd. In fact, they called themselves the "A-Crowd", and everyone else was shit outta luck. I was too smart for my own good, socially awkward, a late bloomer. I didn't play sports, was always the last one picked for any athletic team. My foray into softball ended in one completely defeated season. We didn't win a game all year. I was pathetic; my team even more so.
I had no idea who I was, and I felt things deeply. I suppose we would call me emo back then. I was brainy, but that wasn't popular, and you know to a teenage girl with low self-esteem, fitting in is everything. So I often dumbed myself down. I would write the wrong answers on homework. I would give the wrong answer when called upon in class. Anything to fit in. I still didn't.
I cut my long hair short, short, feathered on the sides. I went moody and dark. I streaked it with purple. I went from glasses to contacts. I made a lot of friends outside my school. I found my tribe, if you will. But just like a prophet can't preach in his hometown, I couldn't change the impressions I had made with the kids I went to school with from the 6th grade on. To them, I would always be the skinny, flat-chested brainy know-it-all with the big glasses and the straight hair. Smart in school and not very savvy socially.
In fact, short of a D cup and a cheerleading outfit, I wasn't going to fit in. I didn't party, (at least not until later, once my Social Fate was already sealed) and I was a rules follower. In the small town where I grew up in Central California (best known as The Salad Bowl of the World I kid you not. Shut up and stop laughing! well, there wasn't much to do there, save cruise Main Street and get stoned at whoever's house parents weren't in that weekend. I wanted nothing to do with either. So I was an outcast. Of course, I pretended that I wanted to be different, but deep down, I wanted to belong. It just wasn't going to happen.
I remember the most embarrassing experience I had in high school. P.E. was my second hour class. My first hour was all the way across campus, and if I didn't hightail it, I was late. This particular morning, I was running late so I didn't have time to dress out in our required uniform of tacky white t-shirt and baggy, baggy black gym shorts. I wore my jeans to class. All was fine, until, during a game of volleyball, I bent down to take a dig, and heard my pants rip all the way across the butt. I left nothing to the imagination, and it was with much glee that my classmates gave me a hard time about it for the rest of the year. I suppose I was an easy mark.
It was that day when I realized I would never be Claire, though I longed to be, more than anything. I was closer to Allison, and no matter what I did, I was never going to make it as a Claire. So that is the day I redefined my expectations. I became who I wanted to be, not who I thought other people would like me to be. I took a step left of Center and that is where I live to this day. I have made a lifetime out of being outside the box, and being proud of it.
I don't like to be like everyone else. I don't follow the crowd. I stand up for what I believe. I speak up rather than remaining silent. Even when it is not popular to do so. I look past the superficial. And I work hard to make sure everyone is included. Because that lost little 15 year old hasn't forgotten what it is like to stand on the sidelines. Even still.
I suppose my life can be summed up by something I was told by the guy I had a major crush on in high school. I was 16, he was 19. He said to me:
"You know what the difference is between you and us [our group of friends]? We want to know what color the car is...you want to know what the paint's made of."
Guilty as charged.
Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.-Robert Frost
T, who says Don't You Forget About Me