DD mentioned in a recent post how she was always the last one picked for teams through her school years.
And as I was reading her post I was thinking about how my status in the social hierarchy during my early teen years has affected me through the rest of my life.
As a kid I was not particularly athletic, nor particularly popular. I had my friends, but we were definitely not the cool crowd - in fact, I often joke that I was a 'band geek'. I did go to music camp. My life was about academics, band, chorus, orchestra, small ensemble, and my friends who were mostly into the same things.
I was quite shy. An introvert. I moved to a new school when I was in third grade, and the teachers called my parents in; I wasn't playing with the other children during recess, but rather reading books.
I always wanted so desperately to fit in, to be cool, to be liked. Not to be laughed at. I was a late bloomer, and often got teased about it. In sixth grade I was standing next to the trash bin and one of the boys used me to bank a crumpled piece of paper off to 'score'. And then made a lovely joke about how I was flat enough to be a backboard. I got teased for my shoes - I had the velcro kind with cartoon characters on them, even in sixth grade. Never wore those again.
I didn't drink or go to parties, wasn't sexually active until late in high school. All of which meant that I was on the outside looking in. Another incident that will always stay with me was Halloween of sophomore year of high school; my little group of friends got together at my house, dressed up and went trick or treating. Of course we happened to go to the house of one of our classmates who was having a party - the laughter when he opened the door and saw us was particularly cruel.
I got used to being an observer. Wanting desperately to participate, but afraid to do so. Used to being left out, overlooked, picked last.
That feeling has stayed with me well into my adult years. I'm a lot less shy, have become athletic, have taken on plenty of leadership positions, and am well-liked in any group situation I'm in, I still have the fears of being left behind and laughed at.
Case in point - when I went to NYC to meet up with the two ladies I had met on the HA board. They have each flown cross-country to visit the other, so clearly know each other much better than I do. As we walked from the park where we had met up for lunch back to the trump towers for the babies' naps, I was totally anticipating them walking side by side, conversing with each other while I walked behind trying despearately to be part of it. To my surprise and pleasure, my fears were totally unfounded. Sometimes the three of us wuold talk, sometimes, me and L, or me and S, or S and L, but I didn't feel like a third wheel as I was totally expecting to.
Then this week I was at an offsite for work (my first nights away from Ant!). We had some unexpected free time on Wednesday afternoon, so a group of the 'cool' kids was going out for a drink. I asked them to wait for me while I ran up to my room, came back down anticipating that they would have left without me - but they were still there. Then we had a nice time, during which I was completely included in the conversation, and even some of the jokes and teasing that inevitably goes on in those situations.
So clearly I am not the social pariah that I once was, and most other people have grown out of the cliques of the high school era. But the innermost little girl in me is still so afraid!
How about you? Do you have any similar demons from middle and high school? If you were one of the popular crowd back then, do you have a different viewpoint on things, both then and now?