Monday, July 25, 2011

{get get get get get over it}

benjamin gibbard is singing to me over craisins and blueberries, and i'm feeling lay-down-in-an-overgrown-field-making-daisy-chains contemplative.

i'm contemplating getting over it.

i don't know how to go about saying this without sounding all mushy and weird. so just, like, picture me saying all of it with a big stupid grin on my face and laughing a lot in between phrases. picture me listening to uppy music while i write and snacking on craisins.
because i totally am. {i'm always, always snacking on craisins.}

ok. so i realized, probably in grade 2, that i was ugly. one of my foster sisters pointed it out before i left for school and i'd honestly never even considered it before then. i was standing beside her in the bathroom and she was curling her bangs the way that we all did in the nineties and i was brushing my teeth and she started laughing and i started laughing too even though i wasn't sure what we were laughing about. turns out, we were laughing at my dumbo ears, pointing gracelessly out from underneath my neon pink hat that i loved so much.

i kept laughing with her until she'd finished spraying and fluffing her bangs and left the bathroom, and then i ripped the hat off my head and pulled my white-blonde hair down around my face so that those flappy pancake ears were out of sight {where they stayed for 14 years before barclay coaxed them out of hiding, assuring me that he liked them}. i was pretty perplexed. i'd never considered the idea that anything could be wrong with the way i looked. i spent a lot of time that night examining myself, and discovered other things about my face and body that i suspected were defects. these were confirmed soon afterwards, as the other kids at school began to notice them, too. i don't know if you know this, but kids are very vocal when they notice things.

this was really unfortunate, as i was well aware how much "pretty" counted for in society. i had barbies. i watched tv. i occasionally flipped through mom's magazines. "pretty" was everyone's favourite attribute, with "funny" and "athletic" following closely behind. but i was not pretty.

so i tried to be funny. i told jokes and made faces and laughed a lot; but i was just loud, obnoxious, and annoying. the guys told me to shut up and the girls gave me that look that girls often give other girls that says something like but not necessarily, "you are putrid scum." i was not funny.

so i tried to be athletic. my baseball coach had to have a "talk" of some sort with my mom--something to do with how unathletic i was. i rode the volleyball and basketball benches through junior high and gave up completely by grade 10 after my volleyball coach told the team right in front of me that if i played, we'd "lose for sure." i always got picked last--i hated gym class. i was not athletic.

so i read a lot. i listened to music a lot. i doodled a lot and pretended a lot. as i grew older, i dreaded going to school a lot. i dreaded the guy behind me in class kicking my chair and saying, "hey ugly, move your big head so i can see the board. hey ugly. ugly. ugly." i dreaded overhearing the older girls in the library discussing my teeth and my hair and my body while i stood a few feet away as though i were invisible and deaf, as well as astoundingly imperfect. i dreaded the boys avoiding me like the plague while all my pretty friends dated and flirted, and i dreaded their constant whispers and the passed notes encouraging me to kill myself.

i'm not trying to whine. i know this is pretty common in high schools and junior highs. kids are rude, to put it nicely. it's why i spend a lot of my time hanging out with 13 year-old girls. i don't want to be that careless adult who just thinks bullying in schools is a harmless phase. i want kids to feel loved, and i want them to know how to love other kids well.

because i'm noticing a lot lately how that stuff--the words and the looks and the notes--can live inside of your head for a long time. they can glob together into an angry giant, feed off your memories, knock your good sense out and take over the steering wheel.

so anyway. the thing is that i was talking this over with a friend the other day, and confessing to her that i still think about these things too much and that i still see myself as that annoying, clumsy, horribly ugly girl from frontier, and she said something great.

she said, "i think, at some point you just need to get over it."

and at that moment i was all snarky and thought, "yeahokwhatever." because i'm not really sure how you just get over something that has been driving your brain around like a demented chauffeur for 17 years.
but i wandered around inside of that thought for a while and realized that that's really the only thing i can do.

i've forgiven, i've realized that most of these things came from kids who didn't know better and were probably even more insecure than i was, but i just wasn't sure what i was supposed to do about the leftover sinking feeling that maybe they were right. you know, the part where you look in the mirror and go, "yep." and you can't see anything except the ears, the teeth, the hair, the whatever else they told you was wrong with you.

the answer: just get over it.

look in the mirror and see what's actually there--not what you've been told is there for years and years. and realize that no matter what's there, it's ok because that's not the most important thing anyway. 

and THEN.

and THEN i realized that the same basic principle applies to every kind of pity party.

i'm so guilty of pity partying.

i kind of think we're a society that loves pity parties. we love wallowing. we focus on how we've been wronged and we let past hurts of all sizes and strengths grow like weeds in our brains. how useless and ugly.

fact is: you're fine. you'll be ok. i don't mean it didn't hurt, i don't mean it, whatever "it" was, didn't suck. but it's over now and you have two options: stay here, or move on.

let it drown you or get out of the water.