Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm just a teenage dirtbag, baby.

I once knew a girl that huffed markers in class. In the seventh grade. Yeah, she was the shit...

I often wonder what happened to those girls. The ones that never saw me but I was constantly studying. How did they get to be so cool at 14? How did they one day decide that thick black eyeliner was the way to go?

I moved often as a child. My Mom would get kicked out of yet another house or apartment, and we'd be off in search of new surroundings, and new schools. I'll never forget in the first grade when I found a tiny little spoon and brought it to school, only to have it confiscated and given strange looks by the teacher that took it that morning at recess on the upper school yard. I honestly don't know if my mother was called so that they could confront her about why her 7 year old daughter was playing with a coke spoon.

Starting new school is a bitch. I remember awkwardly standing in front of the classroom while the teacher announced a new student would be joining them. So many different kinds of children. Which did I want to be? The one good thing about moving a lot, and starting new schools is that you have a chance to reinvent yourself. Maybe I was rich, or maybe I was a cancer survivor. Maybe my father was an FBI agent and we were relocated so often because of his incredibly secret work.

You're always invited quickly to sit with people at lunch, on the first day of this new school. Of course that happy feeling fades the minute you realize that you were just invited to sit with the other outsiders. You really want to be popular this time around...it would be easy for you to get up and walk over to the cool kids' table and say that you're one of them, since they have no idea who you were in your last school, but you have your mother's words ringing in your ears to be nice to everyone. Of course you want to be cool. Of course you want to be liked by who matters, but you know in a few months you're going to relocate anyway, so what's the point of making new friends? You're trying to pretend Roxy isn't your sister because she looks just about as awkward as a giraffe, with her huge glasses and knock knees. Just sit, eat your school supplied lunch, and don't look too anxious.

Then you just get tired of trying, and find yourself sitting in the library, watching the drops slide down the glass on the window and race them, wondering which one will finish first. The crowd roars, as the drops race, and you eat your Wonder Bread sandwich, a little pissed off because your Mom knew you hate this kind of turkey. You escape into books. Find that life isn't so terrible, and you can always escape into the pages. Just then, another girl walks up to ask you what you're reading. You start to talk about the books you've read and you giggle and eat your lunch together day after day and talk about who you think is cute. So now you have this new friend, and everything is perfect, and your mom stops worrying about you and looking at you like you're some kind of adolescent reject, or broken child. Life is a blast. You have sleepovers and talk on the phone until you fall asleep, watching The Princess Bride, and Chucky, eating Ding Dongs, and she even lets you borrow her clothes, and she likes to do homework with you. She introduced you to her friends and you get invited to Birthday parties, go to the movies and throw popcorn at people kissing in the back of the theater and laugh. You belong. You have friends and you like your school and the teachers you have. Then it's time to move again.

Then it's going to happen all over again. You're going to start a new school, with new kids, and new teachers. Don't get attached again. Don't get attached again. Don't get attached again. Time to be new all over again.

The next time I'll be popular and liked and I'll be cool....you can pretend to be anything. Maybe you will walk pigeon toed and tell people you were in a terrible car accident, and that's why you're crooked. Maybe you can pretend to be blind or deaf, or that you don't speak English. I can talk gibberish until they write me off like the Indian girl in the last school with the really hairy arms and mustache. Maybe I would be British and talk with a high and mighty accent and pretend that I'm way too important, or too busy or noble to talk to them. Or just, well, too British.

It's a fact of life, starting over. You're going to have to start over, again and again in life. It will always be the same, starting over, only with different faces around you. But the pain, fear and unsureness will always exist.

Perpetually starting over,



  1. how incredibly sad- hectically insightful, but heartbreaking too!

  2. I know what it feels like to always end up the outcast, though not to always be starting over. I used to have this dream as a kid of just going away to where no one knew me. Its only when I got older that I realised it wouldn't necessarily be an improvement.

  3. i really love your writing. thanks so much and post something new soon. i love hearing about whats going on with you.

  4. You commented on my wife's blog so I thought I would take a look at yours. I really enjoy your writing style. Sad and a bit pessimistic but insightful. As the youngest of 8 kids including a twin brother, I couldn't reinvent myself if I wanted to. Then again, I always had a built in crowd to hang with anyway.

  5. another curious girlOctober 17, 2007 at 5:39 PM

    I still race raindrops too. I never knew other people did that. this was a really sad post I dont know if you meant it to be that way but it was. it made me think a lot about being a kid. everyone has to start a new place at least once and you summed it up in one swoop. kudos. i like your style a lot and i hope to see something new soon.

  6. Angel, I honestly didn't mean it to be a terribly sad post, but I guess that's how it came out.

    Bunny, I think we all know what it's like to be an outcast, minus those girls with the thick eyeliner. If anything ever bothered them, it sure never showed. My Mom always told me you can pretend to be the cool person for a minute, but in the end, you're always going to be you. I don't try to escape who I am anymore.

    Fort Knocks, so do I. :) My favorite time to race the raindrops is when I'm a passenger in a car. Just watching the rain drop race down the window, really is a peaceful feeling.

    Anonymous, thanks. I guess when I started this blog, I didn't think anyone would actually find it. It's nice to know it affects people. :)

    Kodiak, it's funny, I always wanted a lot of brothers and sisters. As I got older I wished more than I was the only child. If you make it back to see my answer to your comment, which blog was your wife's? Having a big family is a blessing and a curse at the same time, I imagine. Sometimes when I'd try to reinvent myself, my older sister would chime in and make me feel stupid.

    Another Curious girl, Welcome. :) I honestly never knew other people did that either. It's a reassuring feeling when I hear about how many other kids did the same weird things I did. It really does make me feel not as broken. Glad you enjoy my posts, and you're welcome any time.

  7. My wife's blog is "stop the insanity" at laskaferret.blogspot.com . You commented and watched her "Dancing Woman" optical illution link.