Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I've been thinking about the insightful comments that Bob S. made regarding my last post. Which comes first--social anxiety and feeling like an outsider OR sweaty palms? I suppose for me, feeling like an outsider came first. The sweaty palms, which started in junior high, made things worse for me. It started a cycle of sweaty palms and feeling anxious that has been so difficult to make. Maybe it would help to think back on when I first started feeling like a geek.

In kindergarden, I didn't know how to join in or make friends. I was a wild child with messy hair, food spills on my shirt, and dusty shoes. After years of having been ostracized by the mean girl down the street and her two cronies (who were really nice to me when Mean Girl wasn't around), groups of girls terrified me.

Plus, I didn't quite fit in. When we played house, all the girls wanted to play either the mother or the daughter. I always played the family dog. And I enjoyed it!

For Halloween, most of the girls dressed as princesses. I dressed like a horse. I felt glad about this because there was a prize at stake, and there was no way they would give it to a 'plastic princess' in a costume bought at a supermarket. As the parade started, I faced a dilemma: if I walked on all fours like a horse, I'd fall behind. And if I stood up, then I wouldn't be a very convincing horse! So I walked on all fours whinnying and shaking my tail. It was a blast! Suddenly, I looked up. The parade was over. Everyone was way ahead of me, filing back inside the school. I was all alone. I rushed back to the classroom to collect my prize for the best costume. And the winner? One of the plastic princesses.

This was one of the first of many clues that the world did not smile on girls like me. But when I think back on that tomgirl, I smile. I love it that I played a horse in the parade and ran wild in the woods and dug up my own vegetable garden and loved worms and frogs...I want to channel into some of that fearlessness I used to have.

I love the little tomgirl in me so much, even when she's making trouble. (-:

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