Over the past few years, thanks largely to MySpace, FaceBook and Classmates.com people from all over have found themselves (sometimes unwillingly) reconnected with people from high school. I don't know about you, but that time for me was about 80% bad, 10% good, and 10% forgotten. In my opinion, I was more like a Marnie but I WAS on the JV cheerleading team. My situation wasn't extreme but I did have my share of bullies, girl and boy.
It's odd, but I have found one similarity, those that tortured you RARELY remember doing so. Mostly anyway. I guess obviously it's because they were not nearly as affected by it, branded by it if you will, as you were. I mean, it probably didn't hurt, embarrass or scar them - but it did you. And probably left a huge memory burned into your brain.
Now granted, most of us lived somewhere happily in the middle, not too picked on and not too exalted. Most of us floated in that teen haze of self absorption and shallowness, bad music and poor choices, awful hairstyles and even worse clothing options. I was an 80's child. I was an ASIAN 80's child. I was an ASIAN living in the South 80's child. Have you ever seen pink and teal makeup on an Asian? Think Mimi from Drew Carey but with slanty eyes. Oh, and younger and way thinner. And tan. OK so nothing like Mimi from that show but you get where I was going! Yea, I tried so hard to fit in. I wasn't just awkward and in high school, I was DIFFERENT and awkward and in High School.
For me it wasn't necessarily a death sentence. I had friends (HEY MARINA!!!), frienemies, and those people I both loathed and envied all at the same time. It started before high school really. In middle school, one girl ripped open my Michael Jackson styled snap up shirt I suppose hoping to embarrass me. HA! I had a tshirt on! Still embarrassed me though. Same girl liked to pick on me and snicker and giggle and exclude me. A couple years later, she said I looked like I was having seizures as I tried out for cheerleading in 8th grade.
She was best friends with a girl I wanted to hate soooo much. That girl was perfect. She was Miss All-American, gorgeous, great grades, smiled at everyone, the teachers loved her. Her mother was also all of that just in grown up form. They went everywhere together, that mean girl and Ms. All American. Straight through high school. They were loved by all. Over time, I did manage to hang out with the Mean Girl once or twice, though I found out that Mean Girl was only doing it to get to the boy I liked at the time. Ah....lessons.
Ms. All-American never did anything to me to make me hate her. I was just so jealous of her. I hated on her long before that phrase became a catch phrase. She had everything I ever wanted (or so I thought). To my knowlege, she never said a bad word to or about me. While her best friend at the time was, however, quite mean to me, she herself never EVER said anything or did anything mean to me.
Seems somehow I turned into the mean one around Ms. All American. It's funny though - I did reunite with my ex Mean Girl - and she didn't seem to remember all those times she put me down in front of others, tried to humiliate me or some other form of emotional terror. Not one thing. She was friendly, funny, and dang it all, I liked her.
*sigh* I'm not those characters in the movie. I'm neither clever enough nor do I have a script writer to make sure everything works out in the end. I didn't bring any of it up. I didn't remind her or ask for her apology. I did take a look around using what I've learned in my 37 years of life to realize that well, it doesn't really matter. Sure, back then I thought she made me hate everything that was about me. But since then, I've realized that I do like me. Had it not been for me getting knocked down - I couldn't have ever stood up for myself. Something I've learned to do. Do I thank HER for it? No - not really. She was just a small part of that, my first stepping stone.
But tonight, sitting with the love of my life on a couch with my two adorable pooches in my warm house under my beautiful and smart and healthy daughters blanket, fiddling with my snuggly little smart healthy son's toy car I realized that no matter what happened to me back then, or what happens to me in the future, THIS is good. THIS is happiness. THIS is enough - and life is good. I also realized that while I may not be the VP of a PR office in New York (Marnie) or tall, thin, beautiful and popular (Joanna), or the owner of the most successful hotels in the world (Aunt Ramona) I am a lot like Marnie's mom. I have a lot to be thankful for.
I also have an apology to the one I called Ms. All American. I don't know where she is these days - but to Crystal Williams from Leland, NC - I want to apologize for ever being mean to you. If I did or said anything that hurt your feelings EVER, I do truly apologize. I never meant to be the Mean Girl. Hopefully, if we ever run into each other you won't say, "You Again".