I’m suffering through some strange amnesia lately… I think I’ve written posts that I seem to have not written. Could have SWORN I put my thoughts down on paper / post at some point… remember structuring it… but as I search through my archives of the last 8 years – not a mention of the post I’m looking for. Must be my dream persona that’s blogging. I can’t access her archives from here.
Growing up was an interesting experience for me. Elementary school was decidedly a defining time for me. In a school where I was one of maybe 8 or 10 black kids… and everyone else was of Latino descent or Italian, the situations were perfect for me being sort of on my own no matter what I did. The fact that I got bottle bottom glasses in the 1st grade and then developed some unsightly acne under my lips and on my chin and the scarring that it left behind on other parts of my face (particularly the long scar down the center of my nose) didn’t help as the awkward years progressed. I was most certainly NOT one of the popular girls. As a matter of fact – I was one of THE nerdier kids in the lot. My lunch hours in the play street were either spent alone, or with the one or two kids that didn’t mind being seen talking with me. All the cool girls… the Janines and Maribels and Raquels of the world all sat around talking about this boy and that outfit and how they were all going to the mall after school to hang out with said boys or how they were all invited to So&So’s party this weekend and what they’d wear and who they’d go with. But even if I got the invitation, I wasn’t able to attend. My parent’s just wouldn’t let me. So more reason for the invitations to never really come my way. As communal as I wanted to be… as many friends as I would have liked to have had… I was alone.
I ran for class president once when I was in the 6th grade (a very creative and productive time for me). And I made about 100 construction “buttons” (very Tracy Flick style) that I’d hang around the class room that said “Vote for Vicky” (yeah – once upon a time, I liked being called anything BUT Victoria. Try calling me Vicky now… you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry). The were blue and red and white and had complementing writing on them. I was very proud of my campaign efforts. I made small pamphlets to hand out to folks touting the reasons I should be class president. (mind you – this is really before anyone had like… their own computers and their own printers – that crap was relegated to the more well off people, so I had to hand write each one). I felt my campaign was going great – at least… day one… Day two I walked into the classroom and someone had taken upon themselves to deface my buttons writing a different “-icky” adjective before my name. Vote for Sticky Vicky. Vote for Picky Vicky. Vote for Tricky Vicky. Vote for Yicky Vicky… intensely juvenile and pretty hurtful, considering I knew I didn’t have any “friends” but… I certainly didn’t think I had ENEMIES. Needless to say, I didn’t win the election because that ultimately pulled all the wind out of my sails. But I made a very important realization through that process. No matter who I am or what I do… everyone’s going to create their own opinions of me. And there is NOTHING I can do about them. Quite honestly… there’s nothing I SHOULD do about it. Because the only opinion that really matters… is my own. Bump what people think about me or feel about me.
From that point forward I took a very “doesn’t matter what other’s think” attitude about my life. I attended elementary school graduation completely apathetic. While everyone else cried and signed each other’s year book all sad that they were leaving, I couldn’t contain my glee for being set free. GOOD RIDDANCE I thought to myself. This chapter is over… time to start anew. And I never really looked back. As anyone who knows me well can tell you, High school was so far one of the very best experiences of my life. and mostly because I didn’t care what anyone thought or felt or judged for or about me. I was just having fun – whatever that meant for me.
Being outcast in that way for those formative years has given me a solid “whatever” attitude when it comes to weighing what everyone else will think. I truly don’t care. My feelings on the issue matter FIRST and it feels like some of the best armor I’ve ever worn.
Strangely and in contrast to all this wonderful bravado… I was clicking through facebook yesterday and stumbled upon some pictures from a reunion that was had with some former coworkers. The reunion was held a number of years ago, but I didn’t get an invite. The staff wasn’t THAT big that folks could have / should have been left out, really. I was with the staff when it was 13 people… and I left when it was about 50 (of my own volition). But if anything was ever like elementary school… working THERE was. It was the fashionistas and … well… everyone else. The un-cool. And I got shoved into the uncool sector for them, which I found laughable because I’d probably be THE coolest person they’d ever know *giggles*. And for ONE SECOND as I looked through these pictures… I felt the rejection. I felt the lack of want… the me standing at the corner of the playstreet… looking at everyone else being friends. And I HATED that I felt it at all; any hurt at all.
Then I remembered – those people don’t count. Where have they been for the last 8 years of my life? No where. Could they care less what’s been going on in my world? Nope. Do I care what’s happening in theirs? Hardly. And I have no need for their care. When I have a cast of characters in my life that are UNDENIABLE. Best friends a person could have in the WORLD… who truly love, care and appreciate me. For who I was once, who I am now and help me grow to my next levels. Who have been there to hold my hand in my deepest sorrows as well as to high five me in my life’s triumphs. Who listen (or read) to me ramble on an on about nothing or are contented to sit in silence with me. The people who in spite of what I think of myself find me unshakably cool. So to the Earls and Maxs and Shugs and Jerrys and Kimmys and Vickys and Tishelles and Icys and Robins and Donyshias and Jameses and Haydens and Vernies and Jennys and Nancys and NayNays and Tiffs and Lisas and Joeys and Feesas and Ronnies and Jeffreys and many names that I’m sure I didn’t include (I know I take a risk when doing a list like this – charge it to my head; I’ve been doing memory exercises though – please don’t think there’s no love for you)…
Just a word to say thank you so much. I know I don’t always call you out by name on my blog. But I want you to know that you’ve made a real difference in my world and my life and I’m a much better person for knowing you.