To The Girl Who Called Me Weird:

Dear You-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named,

I still remember your name. It still sucks, like a squelchy mud-sac filled with un-niceness.

We were in high school, in an art class, I was sitting and working on some bizarre still life, you were sitting with your friend to my right, I was minding my own business still working on that awful still life, and I hear …She’s so weird, and I knew you were talking about me from the way your voice pointed daggers in my direction like you were aiming an unguided missile at my body, too big a target for it to miss.

Of course, we were in high school and everyone said shitty things in high school because, after all, we were just kids discovering who we could become (before we discovered ourselves all over again in college).

But, damn, it still stung. Did I even know you? I didn’t. Had I even interacted with you before? No. And if you were going to say anything bad about someone, couldn’t you at least say it where they couldn’t hear you, like a halfway-decent person? Obviously not.

I didn’t do or say anything. I could never think of snappy comebacks on time—one of more useful skills in life, I think. So I let your comment sink in, let the moment pass, and let you continue thinking I was a weirdo.

Fast-forward to freshman year in college, late one evening, it was during some award show when Adele was being featured, when someone we both were Facebook friends with made an incredibly stupid comment about Adele’s weight, and you couldn’t take that lying down. To your credit, you stood up against her. Let her know what was on your mind, something I couldn’t (and still can’t) do. But it showed me something.

Everyone has a sore point. To you, it was hearing someone call someone else fat. It hurt you inside. And to me, hearing you call me weird hurt me inside. It was something I already knew about myself, but never knew was a quality someone would point out negatively. It made me insecure, and having someone say it behind my back made it even worse. (Newsflash: I hear everything.) It made me try to fit in, not stand out, be normal, doubt my self. And that doubt stays with me to this day. (So thanks for helping my self-confidence, by the way.)

Now, graduating college, with eight-ish years buffering me and this incident, I can say that being weird is a great, fabulous thing. Weirdness makes you sparkle. Anyone who tries to dull that spark doesn’t have it in his or herself, and it is him or her you should feel bad for.

So you, girl, she-who-shall-not-be-named, you still suck. But since I’m sure you are not the person you were in high school, this letter is a farewell to the suck-ish girl you were, not who you hopefully turned out to be. I hope you turned out weird too.

-Shirley

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