This is me:
Just kidding. I found her at the Museum of Fine Art and just fell in love with her. Maybe it’s my recent fascination with Downton Abbey, but if I could put myself in any place and time this would be me.
Let’s get one thing straight: I am not, nor have I ever been, a Pretty Girl. Ugly Duckling would be a kind description of me as a child. Seriously. There’s a reason that my seventh-grade English teacher, upon hearing my name on the announcements for a musical accomplishment, felt it necessary to inform her class that ‘Sometimes the girls who are really unattractive now turn out to be beautiful later. Trust me, in high school lots of you guys will probably want to date her.’ Yes, I still remember that over twenty years later. Yes, I found that teacher on Facebook. No, I will not be friending her any time soon.
A dear friend recently blogged about the lovability of being a dork. Growing up as a dork, I was the one usually described as ‘smart, with an interesting personality.’ I was a dork. Indeed. And not a quirky-artsy-cool dork of the kind that is actually sought after and admired nowadays. Serious, intense, shy, etc. In fact, after graduation I found out that some people thought that I was stuck-up and conceited. Not true. I was just so shy that the idea of initiating a conversation made me break out in a cold sweat – especially with the Pretty Girls.
Ah, the Pretty Girls. You know who I mean. The smart, focused, socially adept girls with flawless skin and expertly-applied makeup – if they wore any at all. Some of the prettiest Pretty Girls were so confident that they wore none at all, nor did they need it. The girls who didn’t care what other people thought and didn’t try to fit in because they just knew that they did. (Granted, some of them may have been pretending to feel that way, but they at least exuded tons of confidence.) They weren’t necessarily the most popular or wealthy – but it didn’t matter. They were Pretty Girls.
And where are they now? Smart, successful, driven women? Why, in incredibly fascinating and challenging careers of course. Performance artist? Check. Musician? Check. Former CIA operative? Check. (Yes, I’m serious. I went to school with a real-life former spy.) Event planner? Check. The list goes on and on… Maybe it’s my current state of job-hunting that’s brought this out – or my still-developing self esteem. Or watching too many Lifetime movies and reality TV lately. But whenever I’ve tried to imagine my dream job it’s been in a challenging, unusual and creative field. A bright, contemporary office. A field that would require me to attend intellectual events as part of the job description. And I get bogged down with this fact that I don’t fit in there.
I’m still shy. Not as painfully as I was when I was younger, but striking up a conversation is still a major effort. Even without the cold sweat I still find my brain racing a mile a minute. I would love it if Stacey and Clinton showed up on my doorstep one of these days. Yes, I am working on these issues – which is probably I decided to blog about them today. Just throw it out in the open and see it for how ridiculous it is. Because confidence can be acquired – I’m sure of it. And until I acquire more of it, I’ll keep looking.