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!


Jo Schaffer said...

Talk about totally humiliating and awkward!
Guys are lame.
I was a tom boy. I had guys like me sometimes--but I was mostly just buddies with them. And I had several unrequited attractions. So I got really good at not caring much.
And then I became the aggressive one as I got older--instead of waiting for a guy to notice. (= That was fun.

Larissa said...

Oh my GOD THAT'S AWFUL! :( Poor teen you!

Boys are idiots.

B.J. Anderson said...

Ack! Why does highschool have to be so awkward! I have plenty of these types of stories. Sigh.

Miranda Hardy said...

What a horrible story. Don't worry, you weren't the only one to have bad tales such as that.

JoLynne Lyon said...

I love the story, I just can't believe Mr. X was such a dork. It's just one more testament to what a wasteland high school can be! (And believe me, I got my own stories!)

Jemi Fraser said...

Yikes! That really sucks!!! High school is so hard - those years are so hard on our self esteems. I was really glad to be done with the whole thing!

Charmaine Clancy said...

Oh I felt that pain! Fortunately I've blocked most of my high school years from memory. Maybe one day I'll re-write some.
Wagging Tales

Anonymous said...

I'm in 8th grade currently and I have almost the same problem. Guys don't talk to me or like me. The worst of it is my friends, they don't like me I don't like them. Next year is high-school, but luckily away from them! Hope it is good!
bottom line is, I really feel your pain! I'm so sorry!

Rachel said...

While in junior high, a guy-friend thought it was a good idea to tell me the other boys were saying they'd "do" me if they could put a pillow over my face. Nice huh?

In 9th grade a boy told me I'd be pretty if I washed my face. I had acne pretty bad and my parents couldn't afford to take me to a Dr. to treat it. Also later I found out that my allergy to milk is what caused me to break out.

Yup, people can be mean.

DL Hammons said...

WOW. I feel like I'm being burned in effigy here. Okay...yes...SOME guys can be really "Richards", but not all of us. What's unfortunate is that you felt the need to ask the question in the first place. It wasn't that you weren't pretty enough, you just intimidated those boys with that quick wit!

Bethany Wiggins said...

Anonymous, I know what you're going through because I've been there! Seventh grade was HARD. I'll write about it soon. Just hang in there and remember that you don't have to have friends to make it through school (it helps to have friends, but I am living proof that you'll survive even the hard times).

Angie said...

Ouch. That must have been awful. But you survived and of course, you are beautiful!

Brittany said...

Wow middle school is tough!! I have similar memories of those awkward years.
You sure muscled through it and grew stronger from it- I hope some day you bump into Mr. X and he sees how wrong he was!

Anonymous said...

This is your good looking, smart, older, articulate, ambitious, handsome, humble cousin from the south (Shauna sent me this link!)

The reason I didn't confirm your hotness was because I had crushes on you as well as all your older sisters and, being related and living in the same house...truth would't work!

Your Cuz,


Bethany Wiggins said...

LOL, Honey. Trying to cover yourself nineteen years later. I valued your honesty and still do. :) Miss you!

J.R. Johansson said...

Ouch painful. May I say they were both crazy because you're obviously gorgeous! Inside and out. ;-)