Take in Strays, Fight Vampires (Post 38)

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.


high school cliques

I wasn’t in a group like this in HS, but I did love some of our “burn outs.” Truly.


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.


vampires in life

Vampy, I’ve got a garlic knot with your name on it…


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?



Sweet Mother is updated daily-ish.  Push that “follow” button above to receive Sweet Mo updates.



There’s a great piece by Shannon over at Canadica today, where she talks about the HELL that is the American TSA.  Check it out, it’s a great read.



Photo creds:

vampire, outsiders


48 thoughts on “Take in Strays, Fight Vampires (Post 38)

  1. I had no clique in highschool. Though I played baseball in the warm months, I was too bookish for the jocks. I was the mascot during the colder months, but was too uncoordinated for the cheerleaders. I was in the drama club between baseball and football seasons, but was too loud for them. My humor and outlook were usually dark, but I was too fun loving for the goths. I loved comics, Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars and Star Trek, but was considered too insane for the nerds. LMAO. I was considered to be moderately attractive, but was too weird and intelligent for the pretty people. So, I was the ultimate outsider.

    1. goddermn it, foster. this comment is sorta awesome. i LOVE your description about your high school self. you should write a post about walking the edge of those cliques. there’s something really cool about the way you described it. anyway, i would read it. 😉 sm

  2. You are my HERO!!! I would tell you but I’m not a public person about those things. I admire your ability to do so mate!!!!

    1. ’tis my pleasure. or rather, ’tis my nature, me thinks. sometimes i suffer for it, but don’t we all when doing the right thing? the right thing ain’t always easy, that’s for sure. regardless, ems, thanks for the wonderful comment. you are a gem. xo, sm

      1. Ok Emma classic this is the 3rd try lol all I wanted to say is your reply put a huge smile on a little Emma’s face LOOK>>>> :0D see so big my cheeks hurt hahahhaha

      1. Yeah I’m gonna do you another pic just decided… I’ll make it a nice one… Not jokey…. Ok I really can’t promise that, better do 2 lol

      1. well, thanks for saying so, honie. we would’ve been high school pals. screaming, defending of the little guy, slighly freakish, girls, but pals nonetheless… 🙂 sm

  3. What if the vampires were “authentic”? What about stray vampires? Yorkshire vampires? Bully vampires are a strange species, I must admit. Their personal gain is so minor, their self concept must be teeny tiny to get anything out of being an asshole. I was a class clown. When I joined drama club in high school the teacher in charge nearly fell off her chair. I didn’t have any lines in the play but I threw in an ad lib when the opportunity presented itself. It was a night when we were being judged. I wasn’t asked back. I was obviously much more than the class clown. I was a jerk without a filter. Still stuck in my ways. Eating Yorkshire pudding.

    1. i feckin’ love yorkshire puddings, which is why i mentioned them in my tweet. wifesy used to get so annoyed at me when we lived in the uk because i loved them so much i would buy a couple of bags of frozen ones and then stick ’em in the oven all at once and then feed ’em to myself like a wack-a-loon. it used to make her insane because i was eating a bag of bread, basically. a feckin’ delicious, hot and crusty bag of yummy bread. loool. as for vampires, feck em. momma ain’t got the time. as for you, i bet you were hilarious. i don’t see a-hole in anything i’ve read of yours. swear it. 😉 sm

  4. Although I had a small core group of friends, I was very independent and did my own thing, and I think this allowed me to travel between cliques as well. Honestly, I don’t remember much about my junior high and high school years. I’ve never understood the concept of high school being one’s ‘glory’ years. They certainly weren’t mine, and I was happy to say ‘good riddance’ when the time came to leave. But they also weren’t terribly unpleasant. They just ‘were’, I guess.

    1. i’m so with you. i sort of feel like if hs were your glory days then you’ve wasted 80 years!!! at least, for most people. for me, they were slightly awkward and messy, but also pretty fun. i also got shipped off to colombia, mid-junior year, but that’s another story entirely. maybe another post, actually… loool. xo, sm

  5. I like this post – and like others I can totally see these traits in your posts. I was the class clown and picked up strays too. I think I was a part of the “un-click” – I liked just about everyone. Some of my closest friends as a teen were the kids who were a bit awkward. My first friend in school didn’t speak English and my second one was the girl who was deaf – I would have defended either of them from any bully. As for vampires – they are exhausting. I tended to take people in before I discovered that they were vampires. With rare exceptions I see them as sad today.

    1. you know, arts, you reminded me of something. i used to be-friend the ‘mitchell manor’ kids, way back when. really early on, like in elementary and also in hs. the manor where i’m from were the military kids. and i felt for them, they were always moving. never staying one place for long. it must’ve been very hard on them. but, i kind of loved befriending the new kid. and yep, i took in a vampire or two, myself. it takes a long time to recognize them from the outset, but into adulthood, i think i’ve become pretty sharp at being able to tell. not always, but most of the time. doesn’t surprise me that you were the class clown either. as was i, both in junior and senior high. loool. xoxo, sm

  6. I don’t think I came alive until university. That I remember with great pleasure. School was just this 12 year period I’d never want to revisit.

      1. -grin- I’m definitely one of those! My Dad used to joke that our family was always late for everything so it’s clearly genetic. 😀

  7. I left by 15, if you knew my history you knew I was a bit of an outcast. I had a hard time in middle school, great harm was done to me before I got there and it carried in. I was tough enough to stand up to those who bullied and eventually moved between most of the cliques. I was younger than my peers having been moved up two grades. I was in the arts, drama and dance. I was a bookworm as well. I was already a political activist, having staged my first sit in at in seventh grade. I tended to take in strays, who like me moved between. But remember it was the 60’s, we were all strays to some degree.

    1. “it was the 60s, we were all strays to some degree.” how true, indeed. oh how i like you and loved this comment, vals. i think outcasts as kids are often the best adults. honestly. xoox, sm

  8. Oh I love this post so much. This boy had a crush on me in middle school so he invited me to sit at what apparently was the cool kids’ lunch table with him. I mentioned to my dad that the boy’s father was a prominent sports coach, and my dad started planning to be best friends with the guy. But this boy picked on people relentlessly, so after a week or so of sitting by and watching I went full-force word crazy on his ass. My dad never got over losing those game tickets, but I was glad that someone put that boy in his place, even if I was the someone.

    1. tori, that is SOOOO awesome. i love that you did that. i have this theory that we need to teach kids to be “nosy” for lack of a better term. we need to teach the unaffected kids to stick their noses into a situation and to right wrongs. if there were more ‘sticking up for one another’ bullying wouldn’t be a thing. i truly believe that. good on you for doing so. it says a great deal about you. glad you enjoyed. i enjoyed reading your comment, as well. xo, sm

  9. I think I rode around the edges in the high-school cliques as well. Not in the same kind of way as you. I was really young when I started high school (too young) because I had skipped grades. That put me hovering around the “nerds” so to speak. I had just lost my Mother and that was at time when that was still rare whether it was from death or divorce so that put me hovering around the “wrong side of the tracks” folks. I wasn’t a cheerleader or in a sorority and didn’t participate in sports, yet my first boyfriend was Captain of the football team. The closest I came to belonging to any one group was the ones who skipped school a lot which brought me some cred on the kool scale but that always depended on if I skipped with people or just to be by myself.
    There is so much pressure in high school and I think I just didn’t care at the time so it gave me some kind of aloofness. The pressure now for kids must be tremendous and I can see how the “vampires” would thrive. Scary stuff.

    1. this seems to be a common theme with smart kids, like urself, who skipped grades. it must’ve been tough. i do think that aloofness helps tho. kids who can achieve that are almost magical to their peers sometimes, i think. lol. xoxo, sm

  10. I think there are few compliments better than being told you travelled between cliques. It’s an art to be able to do so. I was part of the “In” crowd in high school, though being a year younger than everyone else, I never felt like I fully belonged. These days I travel between social circles, choosing to spend my time with people I love and with whom I feel comfortable.

    1. “choosing to spend time w ppl i love and with whom i feel comfortable.” now that’s the key, isn’t it? i realized quite quickly that life is too short to do anything else. and i too think it was a high compliment. that’s probably why it’s the only comment i remember. sheesh, i wonder if kids have virtual yearbooks now. loool. xoxo, sm

  11. i hated school because we shifted every 3 years and that meant spending time of liking people and then finally saying goodbyes again …but i was a popular kid in final years of my school and college…

    though in college i did go through a phase of being a girl who could never say no….like minions..because i didnt now how to say no…for example “hey little i forgot my glasses in class can you run back and get it?” and i would be running…i did that for a while because i didnt know how to say “No i cant go back its 2 floors and i tired, you go get your glasses”… :p 😉

    but my last two years of schooling were best part of my whole teenage life…. 🙂

    1. that’s so interesting, lil miss. i’m very glad you learned to say ‘no.’ people will truly take advantage when you can’t or won’t. and you deserve better than that. and that moving all the time or shifting must’ve been rough. xoxo, sm

  12. I was in band, and we also hung out with the choir kids and, to a lesser extent, the drama group. Compared to the cool kids and jocks, we were outsiders. And I was smart and a bit of a smart mouth, so the boys didn’t quite know what to make of me. I don’t think that really got sorted out until college. 😉

  13. I kind of floated between cliques too. It’s funny, at my school there weren’t really popular kids, just because the school was too darn big. I certainly didn’t know them. I ran with the drama kids a lot, because I was one, but my besties were a group of friends that I’d made in middle school and the beginning of freshman year just because we all happened to be standing in the same place and got along. I guess I’m still very much the same too, because I still hang out with the same besties and theater people!

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