I used to want to be someone else. I wished to be someone quiet and mysterious; beautiful; poetry in disguise. I could never attain that persona. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t change. I still told stories and made myself a fool by making semi-accurate impersonations of everything and anyone.
In elementary school, up until the third grade, I was known for being the only girl running to catch the soaring soccer ball in a wild game of Three Flies Up. I was the girl known for getting kicked in the face and not crying. I was known for courage, for defending my older sister (by three years) against any potty-mouthed jerk who told her she was a snob. Pushing them up against the brick wall and glaring up at them, completely and utterly pissed as any second or third grader can be. I was the challenger of any boy who claimed to be “the ultimate tether-ball champ.” Even when I lost, I walked away smiling. I had dedicated friends who made me laugh and teachers who loved calling on me when I’d raise my hand. Confident and assured of myself. Well-spoken and mature for my age. I didn’t have an ego in elementary school, instead I simply knew who I was.
In junior high, my freshman year (still junior high for us Washingtonians), a friend told me something I’ll never forget.
“Everyone knows who you are, Carly, but that’s not really a great thing. I mean, everyone knowing you and popularity are very different things. You might as well be known as a loser…”
That kid ended up becoming the ASB President our senior year of high school.
Remember that one time your mom gave you this evil piece of information?
“Sticks and stone may break your bones, but words can never hurt you.”
My mom through that one at me the first time when I was six years old. I knew it was crap then just as much as I know it’s crap now. The purest crap known to man, in fact.
Freshman year was the first time I ever wanted to be someone else. Someone who everyone wished they knew. A girl all the other girls adored. A girl every guy pined after. Intriguing and hard-to-get. The ideal of every person’s eye. A girl who listened and understood everyone she met. A girl who could read people simply by looking at the way they stood in front of me. Knowing, but acting as though I didn’t… Humble, but pretending like I ought to be more so… Shy and inexplicable.
I’ve come to realize that changing is a really difficult process. Still, I sometimes return to the thought. The image of being all those things. Strip away my story-telling, replace it with meaningful wisdom. Take away my impersonations and in its place, listen to me quote appropriate Bible verses and other philosophical leaders. No more of me, but rather a girl you never quite know fully…