Labels. Whether you be in high school, college, working, or what have you, there will always be labels that you own.
As a kid I was the history teacher’s daughter… sometimes Mr. Hughes’ daughter. The meanest sub’s daughter… Mrs. Hughes’ daughter… you get the drift… even Eileen’s big sister. Kathleen? Yeah… not very often. That was for class when I needed to answer a question. When I had a classmate who needed help. Sometimes it was a friend who was talking to me. Mistakes were made as I often misconstrued what friendship really was, but not now. Now I see things in such a different way.
Now I feel like the friends that were true, were the ones that were my fringe pals. People I talked to but didn’t realize their value… as with all things worth the work or wait, but now I see them for who they were.
Those I trusted with my truest friendship were people with the time, but they made fun of me. Took my name and changed it because of my laugh, the occasional tendency to cackle in laughter… and made it Kacklebeans… Hated it. Every. Fucking. Time. And yet they were the ones I hung with most of the time.
They also were ones who would tell me the wrong lyrics to a song, and laugh when I went with it. The ones to come over for my birthday, but spend time thinking of a boyfriend just up the road. People who, when a new student came to town and befriended them, but not me, went with it and let me be shunned from them. I didn’t choose to take the hint. I DID abandon them because of the hate spewed my way, but not them for liking her. Even now, I feel like I have abandoned them when they don’t deserve it, but one I cannot find – the one who I was closest to, had her number but my phone died and I lost her information. The one who had my number but never called me after I lost hers. Nor the other who I can contact if needed, but because I live so far off the interstate, seemed angry that I wouldn’t drive 500 hundred miles to meet her for lunch. It just wasn’t reasonable and I feel that our connection is lost.
They were there through the worst of it in second grade. A time that taught me much more than I ever thought possible and would stick with me for the rest of my life.
We were a part of a group of about seven friends. Each day we would trade off spending time with another girl in our class who was alone and we couldn’t stand to see her like that, so we would try to convince her to come play with us. Sometimes we succeeded, and other times we would just take turns enjoying our time with her. Well, I did until the day before Easter break. That day I had succeeded in asking her to join the group but along the way two classmates stepped up and told me that I couldn’t be their friend if I was hers. All I saw at the age of seven was two versus one. From the moment I told her sorry and that we couldn’t be friends, I ran away from them all. I tried to apologize that day and she accepted it, but it took thirty years for me to remember that. Why?
Because she died that weekend. I never got to go to the funeral.
My folks thought it would be too traumatic. What was traumatic was not apologizing to her parents. Not being able to step forward and tell those other two girls what God awful bitches they were turning into. Sadly, I tried to fit in with them on occasion in junior high. Fortunately though, I mostly learned to be alone. I learned how to love me and my time away from stupid fools who would rather ruin your life, than accept you for who you are. This story will never be over, but on occasion it hits hard, and on occasion I can talk about it. So I try to continue to learn from it. To honor her memory by not letting it become some dusty event that has little meaning, but a major concept to share with future generations. Through it I show my imperfections, but also my willingness to continue to grow from something I cannot change.
Fast forward to the reason I am here today. As I have learned to move forward. To be my own person, I will never be able to let go of my need to be alone. To not be part of the crowd. To sit back and watch the world and wonder what the holy hell.. okay I wanna say… holy ever loving fuck… they are thinking as they do stupid shit. Now I just want to be left to my devices to find a better way to teach kids to be who they really are. To accept who they are and realize they will overcome the obstacles handed to them. That is why I write.
So taking that and oh.. my… God…. finally getting to the point, here it is. I just watched a show that reminded me about the labels that I held in high school. That got better only after I changed schools, and yet still felt in .. of all places, youth group. The people I moved to in that shift, are the ones I talk to the most. Them, and those that I saw as fringe friends.
How this very concept can help me develop the characters in my story with more uumph as I realize their value in personalities. Use them to remind kids that they only need to love themselves, and find their own personal value without relying on others to claim it. To show it. To find belief and hope in it.
One of these days, I will have my tales finalized and well drafted, and get them off to a prospective publisher who will love the ideas. Who will help me polish my delivery and make the sequel loved like few others. Someone who will be at my side helping me, or acting as my foundation so that my message is not only heard but also carried out and used in classrooms around the country, if not the world.
All because I realized that my role is what it is. My role is to be the best me I can be. With that note in mind, cue Chesney Hawkes’ “I Am the One and Only!” That is all I can be after all. I am the one and only fantabulous me!
You are the one and only you…!
If you have missed that moment, his video is linked below. 😀
Good morning, goodnight wherever you are!