Monday, February 27, 2012
True Confessions of a YA Writer Part One
Does anyone really think they're pretty in high school? Okay--I knew a lot of girls who didn't think they were pretty. They KNEW it. But I wasn't one of them. And I didn't know them as in share a bond of friendship with them. I watched them walk down the hall, flipping their hair over their shoulders while applying lip gloss.
So, junior year I thought (hoped?) I was pretty, but judging by the amount of dates I was asked on, I was starting to seriously doubt my own personal allure to the male half of the school. Dates=0. Honestly, boys didn't even really talk to me. And unfortunately my self esteem quotient was a whole lot lower than my intelligence quotient back in those days.
The one ray of sunshine on many of those drab high school days was my cousin Bryce: popular, good-looking, a year older, and one of my best (only) friends. On a particularly bad day, I got up the courage to ask the question that had been plaguing me for some time.
"Am I pretty or not, Bryce?"
His lips thinned, he got an intense look of concentration on his face, and his eyes slowly moved from my face, down to my feet, and back up to my face again. "I don't know. I'm related to you so I never really thought of you as pretty."
Throat constricting. Face burning. Eyeballs trying to water. I forced myself to breath. "Oh. All right." Totally not the answer I was hoping (expecting?) to get. I mean, the least he could have done was lie. (Yes, you're beautiful, dear cousin of mine!)
Still wearing that look of painful concentration, he said, "Hold on," and walked ten feet away to a group of junior guys, leaving me standing alone in the hall. He tapped a guy on the shoulder, said something, and pointed at me. This guy, we'll call him Mr. X, looked at me. His eyes grew wide. He paled. He took a step backward and his mouth puckered up to the size of a grape.
I felt faint. My face started to throb with heat. Whirling around, I ducked my head, stared at the ground, and started walking away as fast as I could, but not before I heard Mr. X's response to what Bryce asked him.
"Oh, Man. Please don't tell me your cousin has a crush on me!"
I avoided Mr. X like the plague for the next year and a half. It wasn't hard. He avoided me too.
I never did get a real answer to my question that day, but I learned a valuable lesson. If you can't handle a bad answer to a question, don't ask the question!