I made the mistake of cracking open my high school journal last night.
Why did I do this?
Well, I saw an ad for a comedy show where you read embarrassing exerts from teenage angst ridden journals.
My reaction was, “Oooh I possibly have comedic material!”
I know I got some material in there, but I had to stop after the first few entries cause they were the embodiment of Smashing Pumpkins’ Melancholy and Infinite Sadness.
Let me give you a prologue.
When I was young I didn’t have a whole lot of friends. My siblings were not close in age to me and neither were my cousins who were also older. I was the baby on both sides of my family.
This forced me to be a bit precocious which made me real popular with adults, but not so much kids my age. I struggled with making friends.
Fast forward to my teen years and that feeling stuck around. I didn’t relate to most girls my age and the boys my age liked me, but because I was a girl…well let’s just say you can’t join the boy scout’s club if you don’t have the right equipment.
Not gonna win any literal pissing contests I’ll tell you that much.
So here I am, this precocious girl of 13 who happens to befriend an older German exchange student. She not only likes me, but thinks I’m awesome. A year or two later, she sets up her little sister to stay with my parents and me.
I was thrilled. I was going to learn so much about Germany and have a cool female friend! I couldn’t wait.
Then the day came to pick her up from the airport. My family and I were anxiously waiting at the German girl’s gate.
Back then you could wait at the gate for people, I know, 1999 was a crazy time.
Now I want you to picture this 15 year old girl who is nerdy and slightly chubby and who has never had a real boyfriend, never been kissed and will never know how much in common she had with Tina Belcher because Bob’s Burgers didn’t exist yet.
See this girl go from a radiant smile to sudden panic as she sees this tall, thin, beautiful blue eyed girl walk into her view.
She instantly feels less than and she tries to brush it off because she already knows she’s just feeling insecure and it wasn’t fair to not give this girl whose older sister she loved a chance just because she felt ugly in her presence.
So, time passed and as much as she fought those insecurities it got worse and worse. It felt like this girl did everything better than her and that everyone liked her more.
Boys seemed to fall instantly in love with her while the chubby girl just felt invisible.
The chubby nerdy girl wanted so much to be seen and to be liked, but she felt only her parents did and even that seemed to be slipping away from her with the seemingly perfect girl staying at her house.
All of that is documented in the first pages of my high school journal.
I can still feel the pain of rejection when I read it. I cried a little. I wanted so much to hug 15 year old version of me.
I’m not ugly anymore. I never was to begin with, but as I grew older I did become more attractive in regards to society’s standards. I’m still not a thin blue eyed girl, but I’ve got other things going for me.
Yet some days I still feel ugly, fat, and unlikable. It’s exhausting to feel that way.
This isn’t my point, though. My point is that as much pain as I felt back then, I’m proud of how it made me stronger and more empathetic to anyone I ever sensed could even possibly be jealous of me.
German girl was not kind about my jealousy. She rubbed it in my face as often as she could and this is a major reason why it matters so much to me to diffuse jealousy when I sense it from others. I know that pain too well.
I wish everyone would extend that same kindness, but not everyone does.
In the end there’s no point in dwelling on my disappointment of others. I can only control myself and remember to be kind.
I urge all of you to do the same.