And we shut our eyes and hoped to simply fade away

11 Aug

When I was much younger (as in pre-double digits younger), I was easily overcome with feelings of absolute, teeth-grinding, face-brightening, want to curl-up-and-die embarrassment.  I would dwell on a moment of embarrassment for days, months and even years, until the very thought of it made my face turn beet-red and my stomach do summersaults.   The embarrassment seemed to haunt me.  It would appear in my head at bed time, relentlessly hounding me into insomnia.  It would pop up at moments of playtime and cause my skin to prickle, my face to blush, and my self-esteem to crumble. 

The few embarrassments that haunted me through childhood were not massive catastrophes on the scale of childhood embarrassment.  I was never the little girl who lost her pants while playing on the monkey bars, nor was I the child who pissed herself in school, nor was I ever the brunt of any cruel schoolyard jokes.  I was just me, and, at times, that seemed to be catastrophe enough.

One such moment of embarrassment involved a boy.  He lived across the street (actually, this was the country so it was down a hill, across a creek, through a field and then across the street road) and was two grades ahead of me.  I loved him.  In my head, we were a couple.   Safe in the confines of my first grade mind, we did things like hold hands (gasp!).  In my head, it was true love, perfect, insatiable love. 

Unfortunately for first grade me, this boy liked Starla.  Starla who picked her best friend for the day by using “innie meanie minie moe.” Starla, the redhead.  Starla, the girl who got held back in first grade.  Starla, the girly girl.

Naturally, my little first grader heart was broken, but I dealt with it, I took it all in stride, and even giggled along when he talked about Starla on the bus ride home.  Eventually, the boy asked me flat out if I liked him.  I was horror-struck.  Petrified.  Scared out of my wits.  The fun, giggling little girl that had been present only seconds before had drained from me, washed away by blunt boy-questions. 

Thinking of nothing else to do, I gaped at him, groping the depths of my mind for words.  My brain was flashing red hazard lights, sirens going off, screaming at me to say something, anything at all to stop the awkward silence. 

“Like, in what way?” Oh my GAWD did I just say that?  Surely he’s going to know that I like him in that way and everyone is going to laugh at me and point at me and I’m going to be that poor little girl that no one likes because holy crap! I like a boy! Woe is me!

“Uh…in any way (insert crushing boy-giggle here).” 

“Um, yeah, sure.  You’re cool.  We’re friends.  Yeah, I like you as a friend.” And then my eardrums felt like exploding, there was a ringing in my head and still, somehow, I didn’t lose consciousness because I could still hear him whispering with the other evil boys about how they knew that I liked him in that way, that horrible want-to-hold-hands way. Ugh. 

It was something so simple but it scarred me for life.  Years later, in third grade, I could still remember that moment as though it had only just happened and it ate me alive.  It hurt to remember it but, inevitably, it would come crashing down on me several times a day.  It was relentless. 

Somewhere it stopped though.  Somewhere between what was and what is I stopped fretting about things like that.  I stopped worrying about the things that people said about me, about the things people thought about me and I, magically, became me, with or without the consent of everyone else. 

Eventually, I hit high school like a bat out of hell.  What little desire I had to fit in and to be liked had left me completely and I was content in my role as the girl some people called “freak.”  I got tattoos, wore ties and wife-beaters pre-Avril, and was one of the loudest girls in school.  While I was not necessarily cool, I was known and was, above all, me. 

As I’ve left the teenage years though, my desire to be accepted has come back in small amounts.  I fret about how people will view me and sometimes struggle with the acceptance of my own decisions.  I wonder how the girl who was so determined to be herself and not let anything stand in the way has morphed into a woman who weighs the consequences of her actions daily.  I am content with the way my life is right now, although there is stress, this is the way it needs to be.  It is better now because of the decisions I’ve made, but now comes the struggle for acknowledgment, the desire to be honest, the need to tell my story. 

Somewhere on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, there is this: Learn to be honest with myself.  With that task comes its necessary partner: Learn to be honest with others.  In finally admitting to the divorce here, on the internets, it is finally coming to light.  I am learning to accept that yes, at 23 I have been married and divorced.  Yes, I made some decisions that did not have the best outcome, but regardless, they are my decisions.  I own them.  They belong to me and no one else.  I made a few mistakes along the way but I have come out with a wide wealth of knowledge, a stronger understanding of who I am and what I want, and I have started to realize that yes, this is life.  It has ups.  It has downs.  It twists, it turns, it swirls you upside down, but it is, amazingly, living.  And I love it.  Finally. 

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3 Responses to “And we shut our eyes and hoped to simply fade away”

  1. Timmy Two-toes August 13, 2007 at 1:05 PM #

    I am glad you can be honest with yourself. I think it is very strong of you that you can be honest with yourself and others about things even if they seem a little embarrasing at first. Besides I don’t even think you can turn red.

  2. instatick August 13, 2007 at 2:08 PM #

    Thank you Timmy. I think you’re right – I don’t think I can turn red either.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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