Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Let Me Paint You a Picture

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:

a brain
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?

Sincerely yours,

Send Chocolate


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

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3 sent chocolate:

hellokittiemama said...

I 'tagged' you with the Kick Ass blogger award over at mine. I'm sure you probably have already gotten it 100 times but you were on my short list for most deserving and probably not to be too offended by the word ass - at least I hope not!


Kath said...

Kick ass awesome post!! Go you!

Backpacking Dad said...

I totally ripped my pants one day too. I need to write a post about it.

Why isn't school easy?

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