"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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

8th Grade, Part 2

Nothing ever came out of the Arash infatuation.  I mean, I never truly gave up on him, but it was becoming clear that nothing was going to happen.  He barely spoke to me as it was, although I was starting to become friends with his friends - Roman, Anthony, Jeremy, Damian, even the "Reflex" guy, although we did keep our distance because of Tami (didn't want to inspire any false hope, of course).  I was still super shy, nearly choking on my own tongue each time one of them spoke to me, cheeks the brightest pink ever.  And in truth, mostly if we spoke it was to say "excuse me" to get to my locker.  But we all had the same classes together, and I had Tami to handle social situations, being that she was much more outgoing than I was.  Plus, she had the advantage of having known them the year previous, although I suppose I maintained the advantage of being the mysterious new girl.

It was hard being so shy, not just for the obvious reasons, but because I was often mistaken for being a snob or "stuck up" which is how we said it back then.  (Nowadays, I proudly admit to being a snob but only about certain things and it doesn't take a psychotherapist to figure out why, but that explanation is for a later post.)  But back in 8th grade, I wasn't stuck up, I just didn't know what to say or do.  People used to tell me to "SMILE" as though I walked around with a perpetual scowl, which maybe I did; maybe that was my natural expression.  Let me tell you though (and for any woman to whom this happens) - all you people out there who think it is endearing to tell a girl or a woman to "SMILE":  it is damn annoying and makes me want to do anything but smile.  I'll smile if I want to and certainly not because you tell me to because the last thing I want you to think is that you have the power to make me smile.

That was one of the things I liked so much about Tami.  She, like all of my true friends, was able to bring out the true me.  I tell people now about how shy I used to be, and they laugh and laugh and can't believe me; they think I'm joking.  So I have to preface my "shyness" stories with the whole "I know you're going to find this hard to believe but..." line.  I was comfortable with the people who knew me best, or in a group where someone else was the butterfly.

Tami's outgoing personality would have its advantages and disadvantages to me in many ways throughout junior high and high school, but truly I had never had a friend like her before.  As best friends do, she would flatter me, sincerely, and make the sun shine on me the way it never had.  During 8th grade she never admitted to "liking" anyone in school and even when pressed, it was a stretch for her to mention a summer counselor she'd had the summer before, but I could tell it was nothing like my crushes.  When I had a crush, I was all in. As Shakespeare wrote, I was "one who lov'd not wisely, but too well."  I guess I've always been that way in all my relationships (yes, psychotherapists of the world, analyze that one to death, as I have).

Looking back, it feels as though my crush on Arash lasted a lifetime.  In reality, it probably lasted a month or two and then I was off to the next one.  But let's catch up on what was going on at home, lest we forget probably the biggest reason Tami felt like salvation to me.

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