Earlier tonight, I was watching an episode of 30 Rock on Netflix (note: Liz Lemon and I share the same passion for food – and we may shop at the same stores, but I digress). It was the episode where Liz goes to her high school reunion and finds out that instead of a loveable geek, she was actually quite the jerk. As my own 10 year reunion is only a few years away, it got me thinking: what the hell was I like in high school?
Here’s a story.
Imagine a girl, about average height, who is pretty skinny. She has long limbs, big feet, and braces. She wears glasses sometimes and sports a pair of Chuck Taylor low tops. She tells stories that don’t really have a point and tends to ramble just to hear the sound of her own voice.
She does chorus, track, and theater. When approached, she has a hard time looking you in the eye. When called on in class, she puffs herself up like a peacock and proudly croons the correct answer. She gets As and isn’t afraid to tell you about it.
Her classmates voted her “Biggest Brown Noser” in the yearbook. She eats the crusts off of her friend’s PB&J sandwiches at lunch. Her group of friends is small. She mimics those she admires.
She has an unacceptable amount of tardies, mostly because she hates getting up in the morning. She sets three alarm clocks and spends hours on AIM, usually not going to bed until after 1 or 2 a.m. She has a boyfriend that goes to another school, but is rarely seen. She has a blue Nokia cell phone with the default ring tone. It’s annoying. She drives a purple car…poorly.
Her favorite subjects are English, History, and French. She spends study hall in the chorus room, newspaper room, or the library. Her forehead breaks out a lot. She sings whenever she can, proud of her maturing voice that’s slightly out of pitch but a little more full than her classmates. She walks as if she may fall over at any second, from clumsiness or the awkwardness of having grown into a body seemingly overnight.
She wears Dr. Pepper lip balm because a boy she likes once said that he liked it. She eats PopTarts in Physics. She tries to be funny, usually by copying someone else’s joke, but only sometimes succeeds. When threatened, she turns up her nose but turns into a real snot. She’s not afraid to use the f-word freely (but only with friends, of course).
She tries to be nice to everyone, but isn’t always as nice as she could be. She says things without thinking.
She’s vindictive and can be a bit of a spitfire. She’s bossy when she really wants to feel like a leader. She works part-time at a movie theater and always smells faintly of popcorn. Her favorite colors are purple and green. She admires Audrey Hepburn and listens to showtunes more than anything else. There’s a tape of The Who in her car that always seems to be in the player.
Her face blushes bright red around boys she likes or when under pressure. She is jealous.
She wants to fit in and tries desperately to do so among a select group of outliers. They’re not outcasts, per se, but they’re definitely a little different. They’re all well-liked, attractive, and a little bit quirky. They go swimming with each other, have sleep overs, and have a running list of inside jokes. She gets invited to their post-prom parties and the occasional get together. She takes a beginner ballet class taught by one of them and gets attention for her costume after one particular performance.
She both respects and rebels against authority. She is afraid.
She reads books and magazines during class, often hiding them underneath her binder or textbook. She plays Tetris in AP Calculus on her TI-83 Plus. She’s given up on the subject, much to her family’s chagrin. Her track spikes smell awful and her hurdling form isn’t what it could be. She’d much rather spend time in the auditorium than the stadium.
She wore a blue dress to prom one year and a red one the next. She never did much with her hair. She wore scarves and flats and thrift store t-shirts. Never makeup.
Then, she grew up. She got older and went to college. She sprouted and curved and decided she wanted to write the rest of her life. Now she blogs, telling endless stories about high school, communicating, and everything in between.
But she’s still the same. Still looking to be noticed, still waiting to be heard. And still working on being nice to people…and a little less awkward.