Held in High Esteem

I know what it looks like. It looks like I am just skating by with doing Weeklies all the goddamn time and not writing anything else. I know. But the only reason that happened was because I was late with the last Weekly and so that backed up into this week and now I am doing a Weekly for this week and all the Weekly-ness is happening back to back. That’s just the way it is right now. Don’t be mad. With all due respect to Lesley Gore, it’s my bloggy and I’ll do what I want to. And what I want is to keep up with the Weekly schedule. Aaa-ight?

Oh to hell with the Weekly schedule. I will do another Weekly next week. I have something else on my mind so I will talk about that. Keeping up with me? I am a whimful woman and I make no apologies. Sorry.

Oops, I guess that was an apology. Sorry!

Dammit. I can’t stop doing that.

Ok, starting again. Here’s what I am thinking about. High self esteem. I think I have it, and I am no longer sure that this is such a good thing. I say this not for the reasons that you may be thinking I mean (wow, how’s that for sentence structure?). You may be thinking that high self esteem is merely a code phrase for “narcissistic assmunch.” Not what I’m saying. I honestly, truly, wholeheartedly believe to the depths of my being that I am not a narcissistic assmunch. Then again, if one is an assmunch, maybe that’s not the best position to judge, right? Do assmunches know they are assmunches? That’s a true conundrum. Forget a tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it. Assmunchery self awareness is something to ponder.

But really, I don’t think I have a narcissus complex or anything. And, if it helps to make my case on this, no one in all my life has ever accused me of being self absorbed or snooty patooty or anything like that. So if you don’t believe me, trust those around me. But good self esteem, I got that. And mostly, it’s done me proud. I like myself, I don’t feel bad about my body or my looks, I know enough to get away from dickwads who are mean to me in whatever form they come in (boyfriends, friends, bosses, family members), I gots good boundaries, I trust in my abilities, I am generally not full of doubt about things. I am a confident person. All good, right?

But now, I am full of doubt. About what? About the very thing that makes me usually not doubt things. My self esteem.

First of all, I read a lot of teen literature for work. And in this teen literature, there is often a depiction of teen reality wherein there are cliques. You all know the stereotypes. The jocks, the cheerleaders, the burnouts, the art geeks. And for the longest time, whenever I would read this stuff, I would think “gawd. How exaggerated. Teens are not like this. I was not like this as a teen. People I know were not like this. I was friends with all those people. Jocks, cheerleaders, art geeks, whatever. We weren’t all at seperate tables in the cafeteria. We were mixing it up. What’s with these books? It’s just to make the narrative that much more dramatic and angsty for the teen reader. Yeah, that must be it.” As much as I enjoy John Hughes movies, my teen world did not look like that to me. Why couldn’t Andie and Blane date? Who cared? When I was in high school, I went to parties in trailer parks, and I went to parties in huge houses. I dated a guy in a gang once, and I smooched around with the school jock. What’s the big deal?

Then, a couple weeks ago, my friends Alli and Map came to visit. We all went to high school together, and when we see each other, we talk about it. We talk about what we did, who we kissed, our friends, the people we despised, all of it. In detail that would probably scare most of you out there with its complexity. I remember things that no sane person should remember about their childhood. Details that would freak your freak. I remember songs we sang in choir and can still sing them all, I remember the bulletin boards that we made for Homecoming week and could draw you a picture, I remember who sat behind me in Geometry class. It all comes out during these times I spend with my two pals. But you know what I don’t remember? I don’t remember who didn’t talk to me. I don’t remember who left me off their party invite list. I don’t remember which boy didn’t flirt with me. Not. At. All.

I know all of these things happened. I know there were people who, in their opinion, I wasn’t good enough for, or who thought I wasn’t pretty enough to ask out. I know I was snubbed sometimes. There were probably even times when other kids said cutting things to me, insulted me, tried to make me feel like less of a person. I know this. All kids go through it. Granted, I was never truly bullied, which is a whole other level of being ostracized, but I am not talking about that. I am talking about regular old teen meanness. I know it happened to me. But I never noticed! What kind of person doesn’t notice these things? A tree stump of a person? A tra la la Pollyanna?

Alli and Map, as we talked about high school, remembered these things, like normal people do. A certain name would come up, and one of them would say “Biff never gave me the time of day. He never once talked to me or acknowledged that I existed.” And as they would say this, I would think to myself, slowly, because it never dawned on me before: “Hey wait. Biff never talked to me either. And come to think of it, he did talk to most of my other friends. I always thought that he just never got around to saying howdy. But wow. I guess he was snubbing me. I never noticed!”

I never noticed. I never noticed. I pride myself on being an extremely observant, smart person. How could I have never noticed that there were cliques in high school? How could I have never noticed the ones that I was in and the ones that I wasn’t in? I find this truly bothersome. It makes me feel like what I am calling “good self esteem” is, in truth, just a cover for being completely dumb as a doorknob. Apparently, I have no clue as to what is going on around me. Would I be one of those people that, when the fascists come to take my neighbors away, I will skip around and think that they just went on vacation with their nice, armed, uniformed tour guides?

I am glad that I am a confident person. I am glad that, when someone doesn’t talk to me, my first thought isn’t that it’s because I am not cool enough, or because they are a big meanie, even if either of those things might actually be true. But am I living in a land of delusion? (Which is bordered, by the way, by the Land of Confusion, which was founded in the 1980s by Phil Collins). I feel completely shocked at the amount of people that probably thought I was uncool in high school and I never even knew about it.

I feel like the inverse of Sally Field, all surprised and saying “You didn’t like me! You really didn’t like me!”

What kind of ass is it better to be? A dumbass or an assmunch? Seems I am the former, not the latter. Want to join my dumbass clique? We can sit together in the cafeteria and plan a class war against the assmunches. I have to re-live my teen years. I was apparently not paying much attention during mine.

I’m out,
Librarian Girl


  1. You know, I suspect this is less of an oblivion thing and more of a worldview thing. Even so, it’s pretty unusual for someone who wasn’t homeschooled or unschooled or whatever the radicals are calling it. Our world’s pretty much set up to identify haves and have nots, insiders and outsiders, binary binary la la laaa, and then to reinforce all of these little categorizations. If you somehow weren’t operating within this paradigm, then you wouldn’t interpret data like Biff snubbing you as a snub.Or maybe you’re a dumbass. What do I know? You’re lucky either way.

  2. The weird thing about low self esteem is that there is a certain self-centered-ness to it. You just assume that NATURALLY Biff didn’t talk to you in algebra today, because he totally hates you and is at this very moment talking shit about you to Buffy.When, in point of fact, Biff probably just doesn’t think about you (and by “you,” I mean “one,” not YOU) much one way or the other. My self esteem is okay–I have low moments, but basically I have gotten pretty comfy in my skin as I’ve gotten older (though I always feel like I could improve many things). But I think the real secret to self esteem, for me anyway, is to realize that IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. Like, nobody is doing stuff because of me. So I can just relax.All of which is to say, I don’t think you’re a dumbass. I think you just figured out that it wasn’t all about you more quickly than most of us do.Wow! That’s a long comment. Maybe I should get my own blog, eh?

  3. I wish I was your kind of non-observant when I was growing up. I remember the years of slights all too well for my own good.Good thing about adulthood: I am making good memories to push away the bad ones from my youth. 🙂

  4. I don’t know if I’d say you were a dumbass. But I do know I’m freakin’ jealous! I spent all of high school beating myself up about who wouldn’t talk to me and the football player who threw spaghetti noodles in my hair at lunch to “impress” his cheerleader girlfriend one day.I try not to beat myself up anymore, but I still do a lot of the time.

  5. It’s kind of like the expression “Ignorance is bliss.” No, wait. Actually its exactly like that expression.Just think of the therapy you don’t have to have now because you weren’t aware that people didn’t like you in high school.

  6. i had a very similar revelation about high school a few years ago. maybe it wasn’t as fabulous and rosy as i remembered. oh well. i say dumbass is better than assmunch anyday.

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