Saturday, January 26, 2008

Call me Captain Clueless

A few days ago when Heath Ledger died I posted a video of him from 10 Things I hate about You. In a very fun and cute way, he serenades Julia Stiles's character. I mentioned that I wished something like that had happened in high school. After I posted the clip, something buried really deep in my memory jumped up to say, "A twisted version of that did happen, idiot."

You'll understand why it is buried deep in my memory in a minute.

When I was a freshman in high school I took weight training class and by some kind of magic, I was able to take it for a full marking period (we usually had to switch halfway through the marking period). I also have to preface this story by saying that we had access to 45's and a record player while in the weight room.

The Story of how I became a huge outcast at my high school:
A couple of weeks into the weight room class, one of the senior guys starting playing this song, every day, and watching everything I did (mirrors were everywhere in the weight room). It creeped me out, to be honest. A guy never liked me "like that," in such an obvious way, and I was so used to being bullied (since second grade) that I thought he was just looking at me to mock me.

After another week or two, one of his friends (a catty and very intimidating senior girl) came over to ask me if I'd like to go out with her friend some time. I thought she was kidding and that I was being set up for some kind of joke at my expense. So, I said, "No."

He stopped playing that song and then they did start to make fun of me, all period, every gym class and in the hallways (I went to a very small school).

In one of my classes, one day, a girl asked me why I didn't want to date the popular football player, because I'd even be able to go to the senior prom. For a freshman that was quite an accomplishment. That's when I realized he had actually liked me, I lied and told her that I had a boyfriend from another town. (Really did have lots of friends from a neighboring town--a rival town--yeah, that went over well.)

That girl's brother was a senior and what I'd said got back to the junior and senior boys. Two of them confronted me outside of school one day asking why guys from my town weren't good enough, blah, blah, blah, and ended the tirade by physically pushing me around a bit (They tried to make a wishbone out of me). They even threatened to kick the ass of anyone from that town who came to our school to see me (as one guy did once in a while).

It all came to a climax when a guy I hung out with (and had a huge thing for---walked into a pillar at the mall while talking him) told me to tell them that if they messed with me that he'd come down and kick their asses. He came down and was promptly escorted (read: given a ride in a car with flashing lights) to the town line and told to stay out.

From then on, I was not liked very much and only had a couple of friends from my town, who actually, were originally from the other town, but had moved during high school. I experienced more bullying: My teammates would throw the basketball at my face, yeah that was nice. No one really talked to me much, and I was never invited to any parties or anything going on in town. Because I was afraid of what my mom might do, and because I already stressed her out to no end, I didn't resort to lashing out by pummeling people.

I wonder how things might have been different in my life had I understood how much he liked me and how much I hurt him. I was just a dumb little girl.

To this day, I'm just as clueless about guys/men. I don't start anymore wars. I must have been cute for all of that to happen, though.

Now, I will bury this deep within my memory, again.


USA_Admiral said...

I was much too serious to believe any one really liked me. Even when they did.

Things seem to be more pressurized when you are young like that. Raging hormones and poor self image was my reasons. So I hung out the the heads and creeps. They had no real standards and we just tried to stay out of everyones way.

RT said...

After that year, I learned how to fly under the radar. I had friends elsewhere and while they were delinquents, I knew where I stood.

I wouldn't do high school all over again for anything. However, teaching in one, what I experienced has given me great compassion for my kids and I try to give them some advice and pep talks when I see them feeling less than good about themselves. I know how much they need it.