Has anyone else ever been a child? Were you popular? You know, like a cheerleader, or a jock, or something like that? If so, go away. Oh, I’m just kidding, I guess you can stay. Though what I’m about to say might totally blow your mind. Also, it’s probably longer than an episode of Bachelor Pad, so you’ve been warned.
You see, popular people, there are a lot of us who were not popular. In fact, some of us were the opposite of popular. I had a friend like that. She wore her Girl Scout uniform to high school and talked about one of her favorite shows, which was Star Trek, rather incessantly. It just so happened that this was one of my favorite shows too (I’m talking Star Trek the Next Generation. The one that had Commander Riker. I don’t care if you like Sci-Fi or not, he made it worth it.)
Wait, where was I? Sorry, I do that a lot. They call it ADD, I think, except once they gave me a med for that, and I was up for like two days straight. And by up, I mean my eyes did not close. For two days. That was some whack stuff. And they’ve had trouble with people abusing it so they can get stuff done. The only thing I got done was listen to my heart try to beat out of my chest.
There I go again. Anyway, this nerdy friend was the polar opposite of popular, and being the true friend that I was, I tried to distance myself from her. This was because I was a jerk. I knew I would never fit in with the outgoing kids who somehow magically knew the right stuff to wear and the right way to do their hair. They could make those fountain bangs just right. And their blue eyeshadow was the bomb. Also, they knew what was trendy, or they made it trendy. Stuff like legwarmers, and scrunchy socks, and tunic tops, and those stupid stirrup pants that fit no one tall ever, and, of course, inside-out off-the- shoulder tops and jeans that were pre worn out for your convenience. I wore stuff from Wal-Mart. And glasses that covered my entire face. That was the look of the 80s. Cover your entire face. So I didn’t wear my glasses most of the time. Which meant I didn’t see, but this was high school, so I don’t think I missed that much. My point – I’m getting to it, okay? – is that while I knew I wouldn’t be one of them, I knew how not to be hated either. You disappeared.
That’s what I wanted to do as a child. My mother says I was a happy kid, but in typical depressive style, I remember angst. She must have seen some of that, because she allowed me to become a latchkey kid at nine just so I’d shut the hell up about this or that friend hating me at the daycare center. And they did. Man, little girls are not sugar and spice. Unless you like poison with your sugar. All I knew was that one day some girl – and I always had a bestie friend, because this was an awesome way to put every egg in one precarious basket – would shut me out. One day BFF just hated me. Sometimes there was no a reason why. So there I was, baffled and shut out. Other times helpful “friends” let me know what I was doing wrong. One told me “The reason people hate you is because you cry. Like you’re doing right now.” Yeah, thanks for that, friend. You know why people hate you? Because you’re a freaking bitch. But I didn’t say that, because 30 something Alice couldn’t speak to little Alice.
Bullies were prevalent. One of the worst was a girl I’d called my bestie for a few years. We held hands and skipped together. Then she found another bestie. And they teased me. I told the teacher. She said, “Stop tattling.” Note to all teachers. Don’t say that. You know why? Because you’re being a bitch. Try something new. Listen to the kid. Investigate. Maybe she is a little whiner, but then again, maybe she’s on to something. In other words, get off your butt and do your damn job, which is more than educating kids. It’s humanizing the little monsters.
I learned to cope, though. People made fun of my smile, so I didn’t smile. They made fun of my laugh, so I tried not to laugh. In fact, I didn’t look up if at all possible. I disappeared. And I did it so effectively that by high school, when I was third in my class, no one knew who I was. They had no idea because I wasn’t in honors class with them. I didn’t have the confidence for honors classes, even though I made straight As. Oh, and okay, the History teacher was freaking cute. But mostly it was the low confidence thing.
But I was determined to make the grade, because that was something I could do. I couldn’t be popular, but I could work my behind off and get good grades. And I did. I graduated fifth in a class of about 170. Which was awesome cause smart is so valued in school, right? That’s why they have pep rallies for the chess club. No, smart isn’t valued. Beauty is valued. Athleticism is valued. Smart is not. But at least I could be smart. That was something I could do. So I clung to it.
So I guess you’re thinking I was a major troll right? Not really. I’m not unattractive. Do you know how hard it is for me to say that? To say that I’m not ugly? Nevermind saying I’m pretty. But the first time it occurred to me that I was attactive happened when a boy told me I was beautiful. I was twenty. My friend – the nerdy Girl Scout – said “I could have told you that. But I guess I didn’t have enough testosterone.” Exactly.
I met this boy on a trip to see said friend, where, you’ll never believe this, but I kind of acted like a jerk again. We met and it was literally the guy walking across the crowded room. OMG this is FATE and I am being repaid for all that HELL that is high school at last! This is redemption! I have a hot guy, and he thinks I’m hot! This is the MEANING OF LIFE. To say I was slightly high would be an understatement. I shot up higher than any morphine trip on “love”. Because this was true love, guys, and not just two people who happened to have the hots for each other.
Okay, so it was. But at the time, I didn’t know that. And when the relationship crashed and burned, I hit rock bottom. How dare GOD or whatever the hell was up there – Mother Nature, sprites, leprechauns, whatever. Man I was seriously pissed. I had just been screwed. At twenty, I would never, ever find another man ever. I’d had my one chance and it was over and so was my life and – yes, I realize the irony. At the moment, on my personal blog, I am dissing the hell out of Ana Steele, the dim witted heroine of 50 Shades of Suck, er Grey who thinks her life begins and ends with a total asshole who happens to be attractive. Why do smart women do this to themselves?
I think the answer lies back with all the paragraphs up till now. What is valued? Not brains. Not sensitivity. The outgoing, active, loud, people person – the cheerleaders and the jocks of society. Outward beauty, what can be seen and touched, that’s what gets you noticed. That’s what gets you at the cool table.
And it doesn’t really change when you’re an adult, either. There are studies (which I am too lazy to look up right now) that say that beautiful, extroverted people tend to get the better jobs, and the promotions. They are more often presumed innocent in a court of law. We are so often judged by appearance. When you become a parent, there’s a new cool table. When you get a job, there’s another table. No matter where you go, there’s that damned cool table. And you’re not on it.
Recently, I’ve found a new cool table. It is the Internet. On the Internet, the introvert can shine. On the Internet, you are judged on your words, not your appearance, because hey, sure, you can put your picture up there. But no really knows for sure if that’s your real picture. I can assure you, though, mine is real. I really am a blond girl with a blue dress and a bitchin’ white pinafore. I’m a little taller, though, give or take. It kind of depends on my diet.
Yeah, I’m full of crap. I’m too cowardly to reveal myself. At least not yet. But even with the outward appearance removed, I still desperately, desperately want on that cool table. And I’ve found another one. It’s the blogosphere, people, specifically, WordPress. Yeah, yeah, I see you, Freshly Pressed people, with your fresh pressedness. A couple of months ago, I had no idea what that was. Now, hell yes, I’d like it. But honestly, that’s not what I want most. What I want most is what I am, slowly, discovering. I want to be part of the community of bloggers. They congregate, like groups hanging around other like groups. Humorous, brilliant, amazing people. And you find them by reading their blogs, and looking at other people who comment on their blogs. And you put yourself out there, just a little bit. And you shamelessly self-promote, just a little bit.
And if you’re lucky, you meet that blogger, or bloggers, who have made it to the cool table. Unlike high school, many of them are willing to help you get there too. A couple have helped me more than I can say – I won’t embarrass them or anything, but one is a Canadian clown and the other one speaks to puppets and stuffed rabbits. And one started this amazing blog and let me write for it. That is all you are getting out of me. These people are at the cool table. And if you put yourself out there, just a little bit, they’ll let you come too. Because here they appreciate sensitive. They appreciate funny. They appreciate smart. They appreciate YOU.
And you know what else? If people on the Internet can appreciate you, so can people out in the real world. I’ve experimented with this. It turns out, if I’m myself, people still like me. Get this, all you closet nerds. There are lots of other nerds, and they don’t care that they’re nerds. In fact, they are nerdy and proud. Who knew? Anyway, I’m taking my baby steps. I wear my glasses now (ones that don’t cover my face, thank you 2012 styles) and I look up. It turns out, there’s more to see than I realized.
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