Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pocket Muse #4

Cover of "The Pocket Muse"
Cover of The Pocket Muse
I skipped a few exercises because they relate to a specific writing project, not to freewriting. Here's the next freewriting prompt, if you're playing along:
Write about a less-than-remarkable aspect of your life.
Even leaving the media out of it, the narrative you tend to hear from people around you suggests that most people's high school experiences fall into one of two categories: Glory Days or Hell I'm Lucky To Have Survived.

The bullying I experienced in middle school was really more thoughtless than malicious -- everyone kind of had a status, and you were more likely to get bullied if you strayed from it. If you're a Smart Kid and get a worse grade than a Dumb Kid, expect to be tortured. If you're an Ugly Kid and someone has a crush on you, that someone will be tormented, but it's nothing personal against you. I'm not saying it wasn't toxic, but it wasn't generally torturous.

The bullying I experienced in Girl Scouts was torturous, and while I wouldn't victim-blame, I will say that my inability to handle it sure gave the bullies more material. But that was Girl Scouts. It's not the same thing at all.

And I had a rough time of it on my high school bus, but school proper was just... meh.

I got along fine with the people in my classes, and I could usually find people to eat lunch with who were friendly enough. But they would all go out on the weekend together, and I wouldn't hear about it until after the fact. I remember one week where all anyone could talk about was this amazingly awesome party that everyone but me had been to -- and I hadn't been invited, didn't even know about it until afterwards.

Really, an extension of middle school -- not malicious, just thoughtless.  And with the ego of a teenager, I assume it Meant Something.

I wasn't included, so that meant no one wanted to include me. I didn't matter. I was worthless.

Getting bullied was horrible, I would never prefer it, but at least when I was bullied, someone gave a shit about me, even if in a hateful way. I once did an experiment where I wouldn't talk during lunch until someone talked to me, and kept track of how long it took anyone to notice, and how often I was talked to. It took three days, and then I only got found out because they discovered my notes, not my silence.

And the thing is, there were plenty of people I got along with just fine as individuals.

But group those perfectly nice, perfectly friendly people together, and they just forgot I existed.

It's not the hell-on-earth shattering essays are made of.

I was unhappy, but not unhappy enough to complain almost 15 years later.

I wouldn't even mention it if not for this prompt.

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