Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I'm sitting at my desk looking out at the coolest storm clouds on the horizon. The sky behind them is pale indigo, shot through with these larger, more ominous plum-colored cloud masses in an interesting pattern that reminds me of the sky equivalent of a cracked desert. Very cool.

And for some reason which I can only attribute to free association I thought this:

If I could go back in time to my geeky, bookish little self at all the insufferable ages of vulnerability in which people like Paige Green and Michelle Monahan and others whose names I've thankfully forgotten waged the cruelty that kids are so good at, I would not intervene and give myself a makeover. I would not tell myself to hide the fear that gave me away. I would not tell myself to blend in. I would whisper each night, "Hang in there kid. It all pays off in the end."

Now you may not agree, and in fact you may violently disagree, that being nerdy or geeky or bookish pays off when you're an adult. You definitely may not agree that it might even be the "better" way to be. After all, don't popular kids build better self-esteem and go through the world feeling good about themselves? Maybe. Maybe they feel TOO good about themselves. Maybe they believe life is easy. Maybe they think everyone should always think they are the greatest. Or maybe those very people I thought were popular were just normal kids banding together to hide their own insecurities. I don't know, but I still wouldn't trade.

All I know is that everything that I was teased for as a child--being "too mature," preferring books to people, not having the "it" clothes of the season, coming from a family that had little money in a county where every other household was wealthy--has come to serve me as an adult. Honestly. I like myself. Not every day, but the general picture. I'll never be a knockout--I gave up on that early on. I'll never be the smartest person in the room, or the most entertaining. I may not make you laugh, and quite often something stupid or insulting will escape my mouth.
But I believe that in the confounding geometry of our lives I got lucky. I have enough. I am enough. I was born in a free country and I've had an awful lot of freedom in my life to make choices. I've exercised a lot of choices already and experienced a lot of different situations with very little collateral suffering. My life has texture, not perfection, and as a writer, I'm grateful for that.

Yeah, that's what those storm clouds made me think...strange, huh?



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