My friend Kailyn told me last night that I make an impression on people.
She cited as evidence herself (having been astonished when I made a raunchy joke back in the fall soon after we’d met) and her friend Stephen, whom I recently met.
Besides the fact that Stephen is cute, clever and a great deal of fun and thus sort of an exciting person to make an impression on, this sort of blew me away, because I have never quite seen myself that way.
I went to a teeny-tiny little Lutheran school for the first six years of my academic life, and by teeny-tiny I mean extremely, ridiculously small. There were 13 students in the school the last year it was open. Not in my class. In the school.
It closed in June 2006, and off I marched to the public middle school, where practically everyone already all knew each other, and I got lost in the shuffle of new kids from the airbase, whose middle school or junior high or whatever it was had also recently closed.
For many years I believed that a lot of my class either had no idea who I was or didn’t care to find out. I ran with some girls who didn’t really have anything in common with me except maybe track and field. (I promise that saying I ran with them was not supposed to be a pun when I started the sentence.) I sort of accepted/believed/decided that I was in the background, especially socially, that for the most part there was nothing to notice about me.
I changed my mind about that later on, but because the awesome noticeable things I was doing were not things that normal Mountain Home kids do or care about, I figured none of my peers would notice anyway. I started to gradually have better friends, people who could and did think right along with me about whatever cool thing was of interest that day, and they thought that the noticeable things I did were cool. Hannah, and Derek, and most of the other band people to a certain extent. We had fun.
Then I got to college and didn’t really care anymore. Some of this comes from a renewed belief in this statement from the old blog: “I am not going to give a flying [word] about this love thing again until it comes and hits me in the face” (“I Do Not Care,” 20 November 2011), probably somewhat reinforced by the mess with Matt in March and the general futility of whatever method I use in trying to attract people. Whatever. No big deal. I have too much to do at this point in time anyway, and I don’t have the time to devote to pursuing guys or friends left and right. I didn’t even really bother having a crush on anyone. It really didn’t matter.
Then last night Kailyn told me that I make an impression, and that was pretty cool, because I have never seen myself that way. In the mirror I still see the bookish, nerdy eleven-year-old in glasses who walked wide-eyed into the public middle school and didn’t understand half of what was going on; some days I still see the angsty fifteen-year-old who didn’t talk to anyone because she was afraid of being rejected, but who was very, very lonely. And some days I see an eighteen-year-old who will, occasionally (I promise), skip lunch so as to not have to ask anyone to go with her or go by herself. (Like I said, I don’t do that very often, but sometimes it’s just easier not to, although, as my fifteen-year-old self could tell us, very, very lonely.) I have never seen, in this mirror, someone who made an impression on people when she walked into a room. I would love to be that kind of person, but I don’t know that I really am.
Not that it matters terribly.