I was most decidedly not one of the popular girls in high school. I was nerdy before anyone knew what a nerd was, and before being a nerd became a kind of popular of its own. I was smart but socially so inept, I never gave even the nice popular kids a chance to be my friend.
Cosmetics completely baffled me so I went without. It took my mom whispering in my ear, “Go put on some deodorant,” to save me from stinking (I showered, and washed my hair, once a week). I even went to school one day with only one leg shaved. It was my first try at shaving, but I ran out of time and had to run for the bus before I could shave the other.
No surprise my favorite people at school were teachers. There was my English teacher, Mrs. Luckensmeyer, who loved my writing and Mrs. Mark who called me a genius. The geometry teacher who was thrilled by my A’s and the very patient algebra teacher who nudged me along when quadratic equations seemed impossible to understand.
Most of the popular girls just ignored me (although as I mentioned above, I didn’t give them much opportunity to get to know me). Some of them were plain mean, relishing in their hurtful words, spoken loud enough for everyone to hear. I sometimes wonder what happened to those girls. I hope they found a little compassion in their lives.
Here’s where the confession comes in–because of a few mean girls, I have this judgement still lodged in my heart that casts a negative light on all popular girls. I don’t trust them. I’m suspicious of their success. It can carry over into my writing career when I resent authors who are bigger names than me.
Very unfair of me, I know. I try to tell that to the teenager still inside me, but her feelings are still hurt. Which is crazy, considering how many years ago all those slights happened. And there were plenty of wonderful times in high school, too. Why focus on the negative?
So mea culpa to all the popular girls (and boys) I might have judged. If you happen to stumble across this blog and remember me (I was Karen Stier then), let me know how you’re doing now, whether you were one of the popular kids or amongst the not-so-popular. In fact, I’d love to hear from anyone, both those in high school now and those for whom high school is a distant memory. Were you the popular kid? One of the not-so-popular? How was it then? How is it now? Let me know.