"If writers possess a common temperament, it's that they tend to be shy egomaniacs; publicity is the spotlight they suffer for the recognition they crave." Gail Caldwell, from her book "Let's Take The Long Way Around"

"To look life in the face, always to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. . .always the years. Always the love. Always the hours." From the movie "The Hours", based on the book of the same name by Michael Cunningham

"Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly." Baz Luhrman, "Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)"

"A writer can do nothing for men more necessary, satisfying, than just simply to reveal to them the infinite possibility of their own souls." Walt Whitman

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant or talented?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” Marianne Williamson

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My First Real Crush (the first of many)

Remember your first crush?  Do you remember how it happened, how it felt?  The butterflies, the inability to formulate words, the idea that you could will someone to look at you and the moment they did, the whole world stopped for a moment.  How long could you hold their eyes before you had to look away out of embarrassment at being caught?

My first crush happened in Mrs. Wolfe's English class in 8th grade at Sequoia Junior High.  I didn't even know I liked boys yet - Paul had simply been an experiment that completely failed.  I had no idea at that time what a crush, infatuation, love at first sight felt like until that fateful day when I was sitting in class and I looked over at the same boy I'd been sitting near all semester and suddenly I noticed him.  I mean, really noticed him.

I think anyone who knew me in 8th grade knows who my first crush was.  Should I say?  Would he be embarrassed or does he even remember me?  This is where my mom gets nervous because I have used people's real names; but in every autobiography, don't we use real names to keep it real, unless we are trying to protect the innocent (or ourselves, I guess)?  For the record, though, I invite anyone who has been named in this blog to message me and request that I change your name, innocent or not.

This being my story, I'm going to keep it real, so here's to you, Arash Majlessi, for being my first crush, for inspiring in me the butterflies and daydreams adolescents have about what true love is like.

I had never spoken to him before, but I was in love.  Or in like, as we used to say.  "Who do you like?" we would ask each other.  Back then, liking someone was like saying you had a crush on someone.  It was actually too lame to use the word crush.  It was old-fashioned, like saying you were sweet on somebody.  If you "liked" someone, that said it all. 

Arash was beautiful, dark-skinned, brown eyes, mysterious, and he already had an admirer.  She had the good fortune to sit behind him and was the opposite of him - pale skin, red hair.  She reminded me of Pat Benetar.  Everyday I watched her flirt with him, and she was good at it.  It didn't take long to figure out that they were going together or that he liked her back.  I was devastated, but I wasn't giving up.  It happened that his best friends had lockers right next to mine so it wasn't unusual to see him there, and I had other classes with him.  At the time that I discovered I was in love with Arash, I was still friends with Lori and her group.  Maybe they were sick of me mooning over him, too shy to actually talk to him, but one day Lori told Arash and his friends about my infatuation.  I was so embarrassed, but you know, when you're that age and you are "in like", you want to keep your crush a secret, but at the same time you want him to find out.  Because, then of course, he would realize that he was in love with you, too, and had just been waiting for the right sign to walk over to you and tell you he'd been waiting for you his entire life.

Okay, so I was/still am a hopeless romantic.  It's just that at age 13, I didn't know that love happened any other way.  It's like Rosie O'Donnell says in "Sleepless in Seattle" to Meg Ryan, "You want to be in love in a movie."  Well, that's all I had to base love on; that and soap operas and the young adult novels I read about "love, oh, love" as my dad used to tease me.  I wasn't interested in sex, but I was interested in being suddenly kissed by the boy of my dreams.  I wanted to be romanced, and for all of us who have been 13, male and female, we know that that is not going to happen.  Romance is the last thing on a 13 year old boy's mind.  At least, that's what I've heard.  Those of you with experience, feel free to dispute me on that.

So now Arash knows I like him.  I even remember the little smile he gave when Lori pointed me out to him, but it wasn't the smile I wanted.  I was mortified, especially when time went by and there was no indication that he was interested in me.  So Lori's next method of offense was to tell him and his friends that I didn't like him anymore.  Well, then I was mad.  How could he fall in love with me if he thought I'd given up on him?  Maybe that was the end of our friendship.

The one time I thought maybe there was hope was after school one day.  I was there late for some reason, but noticed that so was he and he was talking with his friends and he looked upset (I was quite a distance away, so don't ask me how I could identify his facial expression), and somehow I knew that he and Pat Benetar had broken up.  And then he looked my direction.  Maybe they broke up over me!  Or maybe he realized he did love me but was upset because he thought I didn't feel the same way.  Oh, the daydreams I had, the scenarios I made up.  They were fairy tales.

Things like this happen the other way around, too.  You find out that someone likes you and while it's flattering, he's not The One.  This happened to Tami.  This boy who liked her actually had the guts to tell her and gave her a vinyl single of "The Reflex" by Duran Duran (who, ironically, was the favorite band of the boy she ended up dating throughout high school).  The "Reflex" boy might have even asked Tami to a dance that was upcoming, but my friends and I all knew at the time he was not boyfriend material, poor guy - just too awkward, too 13.  Adolescence.  Who in their right mind would want to go through that again?  I'm sure this person grew up to be very happy and married to the woman of his dreams.  You saw my 8th grade photo.  I wouldn't have dated me either.


  1. LOL-at the last comment. And I would have guessed Arash rightly. But I think I could name a few later ones too. :-)
    And for the record-if Arash ever sees this-he turned into a very handsome man!

  2. And we have turned out to be two very beautiful women!