Confessions of a High School Misfit

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER
Misfits

I have a dirty little secret to share. Brace yourself. Are you ready?

I was not popular in high school.

Yes, it’s shocking, I know.

Often when I’m out and about, this little fantasy plays out in my mind. Kind of an embarrassing one to admit, for someone who likes to think of herself as an independent-minded woman with her priorities in order. In this fantasy, I’m walking through the Mall when someone from my past—someone who spent high school ignoring, looking down on, or (in the case of the guys I liked) choosing someone else—suddenly appears in my path, and I dazzle said person with my wittiness, my accomplishments, or my general put-together-ness.

Right.

I would imagine that everyone, regardless of their place in the teenage pecking order, felt the same way I did about high school—insecure, full of angst, and always a step behind. Those people from my past with whom I have connected (however distantly) on Facebook appear to have lives that look a lot like mine: kids, mortgages, deadlines, hobbies, events to look forward to…why should I be stuck on the need to prove my worth? Isn’t that a little juvenile? Why should I expect that if I came face to face with my past, it would involve anything but a friendly “how-are-you-do-you-remember” moment?

Maybe it’s ego. Maybe it’s an innate lack of self-confidence. Or maybe, as usual, I’m overanalyzing. I’ll bet everyone has these fantasies.

No, your eyes do not deceive: that's one ski glove and one teal leather-palmed glove from Target. And if I knew where the mates are, I would happily wear a matched pair.

Maybe the fantasies even come true, once in a while. But I’m pretty sure that would not be the case for me. I may be eighteen years older but I’m no more a put-together woman than I was a put-together teenage girl. As evidenced by the fashionable gloves I wear these days:

But at least these days, I’m comfortable enough to share it with the entire universe via blog post. 😉

Ahem.

(Maybe I need to be less of a cheapskate. Then again, they do the job.)

In high school, grownups used to say, “These are the best years of your life.” Even at the time, I thought, Are you people freaking crazy? If this is the best time of my life, I might as well shoot myself now and get it over with.

In college, I was surrounded by people whose musical geek factor rivaled my own. I loved studying music, and classmates whose talents I respected also respected mine. But even then I didn’t quite fit in; I was a morning person and not the drinking type. So although I had one very good friend, and a small circle of close acquaintances, I still felt like a misfit.

How can you resist the cute factor?

In fact, it wasn’t until I met Christian in the choir at Newman that I found my home and my purpose in life. Nine years after that, when I felt life stirring within my body for the first time, it raised the bar for perfect moments. Parenthood and married life raises the bar again and again—and life keeps meeting it.

Those grownups who said these were the best years of my life—they were wrong. When I talk to my middle school and junior high and high school students, I parrot a different message: This isn’t it. Life keeps getting better.

For little boys in Easter hats
   and chubby hands pressing down on cookie cutters
      and a little girl who has decided she loves Mommy after all

For hugs and kisses from small ones
   and choir members who lift me up
      and blog friends
and the chance to make a difference through the written word

For stories that keep me up at night
   and brand new baby nieces with cheeks I could chew on all day
      and too much to do and so much to see and not knowing how it’s all going to end

For Christmas lights and childish excitement
   and Alex belting “On That Holy Mountain,” fighting with me for the octavo while I sing a duet with the man who taught me a new meaning for the word “home”

For frosty mornings spend inside
   and brisk walks with my little one, who is no longer a baby

For progress in toilet training, if not in speech

I am thankful today.