I suppose that in high school I was a fairly popular kid. However, that wasn’t my experience of it. I always found myself a touch on the outside of things. There were the uber popular jocks and I was in that group. The girls found me funny and the boys tolerated me. I also enjoyed the drama nerds and honors kids. I thought they were smart and funny and it’s interesting how this “like” or preference has held true even into my adulthood.
There was one guy who said something in my yearbook that I will always remember. He said, “Sweet Mo, you are one of the few people that I know who travels in-between cliques.”
It’s about the only high school yearbook comment that I remember. Clearly. I must be proud of that concept in some way.
I realize it’s because I like to take in strays. I think I have (and have always had) a tremendous amount of empathy. If you’re not in the cool group, I don’t care. Are you authentic? Do you care about people? Do you try to make yourself better everyday? Are you funny? Are you interesting? That’s what I’m attracted to in friends and people at large. I think that’s why I can take into my intimate circle a nerd or an uber popular type, as long as they are AUTHENTIC. What I don’t have time for is scenesters and frauds.
I also detest vampires. I detest people who do nothing, but take and who step on others – putting them down, pushing them around – for their own personal gain.
I fight vampires often. In a sense, I have always fought vampires. Online and in the real world.
The only thing that’s different now is that my motivation is utterly clear. I know WHY I do it. I know why I MUST do it. I know why it’s an integral part of who I am.
I remember distinctly a kid in junior high who started to curse me out in Spanish class for no good reason. I didn’t like this kid. I thought he was a bully. In those earlier years, I wasn’t the best at a well formed, reasoned, and rational comeback, but I WAS good at verbal, brute, force if I felt cornered. Indeed, the bully made me feel that way. So, I unleashed on him. I unleashed on him (with all words, mind you) in such a brutal way that I distinctly remember my best friend AND the Spanish teacher being startled by the ferociousness of my response. It shut up the bully though and he rarely bothered me after that.
Now, thank god, I’m much more nuanced in my approach to things. I also know (for the most part) when to fight a battle and when to just ignore it and move on to something else. THAT has taken work, though, with a lot of missteps along the way.
Regardless, it’s interesting to realize that you’re the same person, internally, that you were when you were 13.
I’ll always take in strays because this idea that you’re only as good as your hipster cred is just ridiculous to me and always has been. I’ll also suffer for it, probably never being fully accepted at the ultra, cool, person table. But, I don’t care. I think my outsider perspective AND my friendships with geeks (…even being a bit of one myself) has helped me to form my eclectic tastes.
As for vampires, I have no tolerance for them. Never have and never will. But, I do find them sad in a way that I didn’t as a kid. I now see the needy, narcissist in these types that I couldn’t see before. And I’m convinced that vampire-land has got to be a very lonely place to live.
What about you? What was your high school clique? Do you think that core part of you has changed?
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