Homecoming Court Dropout
I wasn't a brain, nor was I stupid. I didn't fit into any particular group of kids, because I didn't DO enough of any one thing to place me with specific cliques. Not the athletes or the brainiacs. Not the beauty queens or the freaks. Not the serious musicians or the artists or the drama students. I was a reader and a ferocious journaler. I did have friends and I belonged to a few school clubs and I wasn't the last kid picked for whatever you'd pick a kid for, so don't cry for me, Argentina. I would later place into an advanced composition class that would save my life in more ways than one and help me to see writing as a great magnetic force for good in my life. (But that's another post)
One group that stood out was the ruling class of popular girls who all took dance at MP's Dance Studio.
Some of the most vivid memories I have of junior high were the after-lunch recesses where all of the girls who took dance hogged the sidewalk while the rest of us stood by and watched them go over their dance routines. They held out their arms just so and did the Time Step and called out the names of the other moves while they were doing them. And then they critiqued each other's performances (always tactfully) and then did them again. Sometimes we--the little people-- were even asked to watch them and clap if they were good...or spot an error...though how we would have known the difference is beyond me.
They pursued perfection with a determined single-mindedness as though preparing for a command performance at Radio City Music Hall. Either that or they were just a bunch of show-offs for those of us whose parents weren't enough inside the information loop to sign their daughters up for dancing school. I still can't hear the words "step-ball-change" without throwing up a little in my mouth. You know the car commercial that says, in life, you're either a passenger or a driver? I was a passenger. But it gave me a great opportunity to observe people, a skill that has been a huge benefit for me.
Cut to my sophomore year in high school. I'm a skinny girl with an unremarkable face I haven't quite grown into and braces that won't be off for several months. One day in homeroom we're asked to nominate three girls from each homeroom for the homecoming court. There's a guy there who nominates me. He was new to the school, so that explains his momentary lapse of reason. At first, I'm flattered. Nothing like that has ever happened to me...and (plot spoiler!) it won't ever happen again. I knew all the usual suspects who would end up on the ballot, and as the names begin to form a long and frightening list in my head, the reality of what was going to happen hit me. It's not that I ever expected to win...no...absolutely not. People like me don't get that kind of recognition in our youth. (You know...the dancing thing and all) I just knew that others would see my name on the ballot and wonder what in HELL it was doing there. It wasn't the losing part (which I had IN THE BAG, ladies and gentleman), it was the act of losing so publicly. And doing so would have sunk my fragile self-esteem into the ground like a spike being driven by a dead-blow hammer.
So I had my name taken off the ballot. I'm not sorry I did it. I've never been sorry. I'd rather know for sure where I am in life than to fruitlessly dream about a place I can never go.
So exactly what does this have to do with the BlogHer conference in the San Francisco Bay Area this summer? More than you'd think. It's a fear thing. It's very easy to hide behind this blog and the moniker I use. I can say what I want...or Wordgirl can, anyway. But slap a nametag on my chest and shove me into a room with my real face and a bunch of women who have been co-conspirators in the blog game much longer than me? Risk coming face to face with people I read but who have NO EARTHLY IDEA who I am or why I'm there?(Though I'm sure they're all lovely people) No....let's not and say we did. Mmmm-kay?
But I'm willing to start small. Some of the Texas bloggers are making noises about getting together. Sarcastic Journalist, Debbie Does Life and Shrinking Violet are definitely on the short list. And you know...I feel that's something I could do. No ballots, no crowns or popularity contests. Throw in a margarita machine and I can almost guarantee it.