I imagined when I joined the marching band, that everyone would be weird or geeky. I guess I’d watched too much TV by then and saw too many plumed hats and garish uniforms to know any better. I didn’t expect to meet so many cool kids. They were all way too cool for me. I stuck out like a sore thumb around them. The girls were wearing sports bras and sunglasses. Their hair was cut super short. I was wearing long skirts, baggy shirts, and I could legitimately sit on my hair it was so long. I looked like some preacher’s daughter.
They pitied me. Hell, I pitied me!
When the band club raised money for a trip to San Antonio, I tagged along on my first adventure away from home, sharing a room with three other girls, all all-knowing seniors. Under the less than watchful eyes of the chaperones, the trio took an interest in me. One evening, they convinced me to let them do a makeover. My hair was amateurishly cut to my bra-line (it was not a straight cut), makeup applied, a new outfit purchased from Gadzooks, and a much needed eyebrow wax. I was like Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza Dolittle!
I glanced at myself in the mirror and beamed at what I saw. I looked kinda like one of the cool kids.
The girls walked me down the halls of the condo we were staying in, making sure to stop me at every room, every small congregation of teens, to show off their handiwork. There were no cat-calls, no whistles; it was almost complete radio silence, but I did get a “looking good” from my crush and that sorta made up for the general lack of interest.
Still, as I finished my dawdle, I realized this was the best I could hope to get. I was fifteen when I realized that I was un-pretty, unpopular, and a little bit socially awkward.
I’ll let you know when that feeling goes away.