Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Chosen One

I often like to say, "I know who and what I am. And I'm okay with it." It sounds good, confident yet defiant. Totally bad ass! The words are true. I am smart, outgoing, sexy, self absorbed, desireable, neurotic, funny, impulsive, a handful. And I truly am okay with all of it, because I know that basically, I'm all around great. But somewhere, buried not so deep beneath the surface, is the young girl who didn't know who and what she was, and was never okay with it. Somewhere in me resides the girl who was never "that" girl, but always wanted to be. In me exists the girl who was passed over time and time again for not being enough. Passed over for not being someone else. As kick ass as I am, the young girl never went away.
As long as I can remember, I've always wanted to stand out, be the one people noticed and coveted. In nursery school I would try to put diapers on my four year old body in futile attempts to be like the babies all the caretakers doted on. I wanted to be cooed at and told how adorable I was. I wanted them to swing me onto their hip and carry me around like the 2 year olds. I was always told, "You're too big to be carried."
When I got to kindergarten, I went to a babysitter after the AM session. She was an older lady who cared for several children, including one of my classmates. One of her charges was a little girl a year or two younger than me, with the longest light brown hair that cascaded down her back in big curly tumbles. Her face was round, her cheeks were pink, her eyes like saucers, reminding me of a living doll. One afternoon, I watched as the babysitter and her daughters tugged at the little girl's braided pigtails and told her how cute she was. I reached my hand up to my hair and felt the stubby braids my mother fashioned with my short nappy hair, secured with big elastic "knockers" and decorated with barretts. I too had cute braided pigtails, or so I thought. When I approached the babysitter to show that I was just as cute, I was informed, "No. Your hair isn't pretty like hers."
Even at that young age, I was astute enough to realize that I wasn't going to be "the cute kid." I was too tall, too dark, with the wrong hair, and a gap toothed grin. I stopped trying to be "the cute kid" and decided to be the "smart kid." I was smart, but not smart enough to go to the 1st grade classroom for reading class. That distinction went elsewhere. As I got older, I tried many ways to be "that kid." I thought I was going to be the fastest, until I came in last place at the all district track meet. I thought I would be the most creative, but I wasn't chosen for the creative writing field trip. I thought I was going to be musical, but I was placed with the 2nd violins, instead of the 1st. I watched as the chosen children shined, basking in the glow of being the right one, being the best. I craved that same attention, and resorted to being loud, weird, and militant to get it. People would often look at me and say, "You're just doing that for attention." I would ferociously deny the accusations, secretly knowing they were right.
As an adolescent, I watched as all of my friends were chosen. Now, not by teachers and parents, but by boys. As much as I loved best friends like Jailbait and Stumpy, part of me hated going out with them. I hated standing aside, a spectator to all of the attention showered upon them for being everything I was not. Parties were torture as song after song played without one guy attempting to grab my waist and share a dance. Basketball games were disappointments when I could walk through a crowd of football players completely unscathed. I ached for any validation that I was worth wanting.
Over the years that validation has come. The funny thing is, when you've spent the majority of your life being rejected, it's almost impossible to believe when you're actually accepted. You get the overwhelming feeling of "Who? Me?" Rejection becomes a dish best served chilled, that while very bitter to taste, over time gets easier to swallow. Anything different can make you choke. I've gagged more times than I care to remember, especially in relationships. Over the years, I became convinced that the type of man I wanted would never want me. Men with looks, charisma, personality, humor, and more didn’t go for girls like me. Now that I’m older, they do. I’m always shocked, paralyzed by disbelief. “That girl” always gets “that guy” and I’ve never been “that girl.” I can’t help but think there must be some type of mistake. Maybe he thought I was someone else or maybe he has no other options, any reason makes more sense than he likes me because to him, I am “that girl.” So I put these men on a pedestal, grateful that they saw fit to want someone like me. Then I wait. I wait for them to change their minds, because I know they will. They’ll realize that I’m not “that girl” when they meet “that girl.” I scare myself with those thoughts until they come true. The rejection comes in one form or another, and I swallow it whole.
Sometimes acceptance comes without a caveat. I take it, but it’s often not enough. When you've never been anything to anybody, it makes you want to be everything to everybody. It's not enough for the people that matter to think that I'm amazing, the ones who don't matter have to as well. That's the reason why I want men to be attracted to me, even when I'm not attracted to them. My beauty must be in the eyes of every beholder. It's the reason I long for a promotion in a job I don't even want. I get a pang whenever I receive notice that another one of my peers is moving up the ladder ahead of me. I don't want the position, I want the prestige. I want to be labeled as a star, even though I could care less about the people labeling me.
Yes, I know the person I am, with all of the splendor and glory it entails, and I have learned to embrace it. But, knowing who you are isn't a remedy for insecurity. Knowing who you are doesn’t erase knowing what you are not. It’s the things that I am not that eat at me most. But I realize that I can’t be someone I am not. If that means getting passed over, so be it. If no one in this life ever chooses me again, I will be just fine as long as ultimately, I choose me.

12 comments:

webchic said...

Man oh man, this post could've just as easily been about me as you. No matter how or what the rest of the world sees me as, I still always see myself as being outside of the circle. Not pretty enough or smart enough or cool enough or interesting enough, I'll never be one of "them". And no matter how many times he says he loves me or that I'm sexy or beautiful or smart...I too fear he's just killing time until "that girl" comes along. They say if you always expect the worst, you'll rarely be disapointed, but you'll probably wind up miserable anyway. Here's to getting over it and being humble enough to appreciate what it means to do so. And keep putting yourself out there, your writing has me hooked already.

Jailbait said...

I CHOOSE YOU.

(thats all for now)

FLS said...

Nice post, kid. I think we all have compared ourselves to "those people" at some point in our lives. It's funny because if we take the focus off our inadequacies and shortcomings and apply that focus to our GOD given talents and abilities we will begin to shine and stand out on our own. Look at your blog!! I see you shining baby!

I CHOOSE YOU II.

Trish said...

this is a great post. I think the understanding that you "can't be someone you're not" and "choosing yourself" is knowledge born out of the self-reflection and guts that difficult times instill. It is for me, at least. It's a gift, really, to truly be yourself.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I enjoyed this post.

rebelioness said...

This was MOST excellent. FLS was right: this is your God given talent, and you're competing with the sun right now!

Sometimes I think society is so cruel for imposing these kinds of paradigms on us resulting in kids growing up thinking they are not attractive, smart, or gifted enough because of x, y, or z. Then again, who doesn't go through it, right? Does it truly make us stronger, or do only the resilient ones get all the lessons without the side of self-hate/insecurity?

It's so true that we are our own worst critics because I think so highly of you; and while I'm biased, I don't think that makes me any less qualified to speak on it. You're so DETERMINED that it makes me sick! (about not eating beef/pork, going natural (twice), losing weight, getting braces, your island dwelling, etc...)You're so SAVVY about your finances (savings, 401K plans, money market accounts, etc...), and with those LONG legs and your keen sense of fashion, you DO stand out w/o having to be loud and annoying! =P It's not just me! I've seen how other people look at you, too, when we're out and you have that regal 'fro and barely there outfit. You're a stunning female!

I CHOOSE YOU III & IV!

chanchow said...

Nice post. You are not alone in your experience. As much as we all grow and mature, we are still who we used to be. Can't erase that.

Leah said...

I feel like I need to feature a "Brain Dump Quote of the Day" on my site. Today's winner: "When you've never been anything to anybody, it makes you want to be everything to everybody." Good god, that's brilliant.

kat said...

It takes one hell of a person to acknowledge their insecurities. Thank you for this post. It brought to the surface a lot of things that I've felt over the years.

Michele in Michigan said...

Powerful. You struck a nerve, fo sho

This could have been written about me, too. The difference is that my nappy hair was blonde, and was never long enough for any type of pigtails or ponytails.

I was never the "it" girl either. Oh, I was cute enough as a LITTLE kid, and then the ugly set in around 2nd grade. Taunting continued until 10th grade & by then my psyche was deeply wounded.

Funny how I "blossomed" at 18 & then all of the guys who either taunted or never paid attention to me all wanted to kiss me at our 10 year high school reunion. No thanks, fucktard.

Jailbait said...

Rebelioness, I was with you until you mentioned the braces. She just did that to hurt me...I told her not to! :o(

Rebelioness said...

I know jailbait...I was just tryna make her feel good! =P

Lynn said...

None of it is this personal, right? We aren't supposed to take any of it personally, the acceptance, the rejection...none of it. Yeah right. Good post. I think part of getting what you want is choosing yourself.