as a Society Gal on the Go, i’ve lived always to the social extremes—most popular, pariah, belle, irritance, to the now ever glamorous ‘It Girl’ amongst the denizens of my couch.
as a kindergartner, i recall with perfectly that i was the most sought after by both boys and girls because i was totally balls to the wall in everything i did. whether it was making hotdog factories from blocks with the boys or playing dress-up with the girls, i squeezed everything there was to be squozen.
but the same friends started turning on me as we got a little older and i wasn’t balls to the wall Liz Claiborne. the fastest girl still wasn’t as fast as the fastest boy, and the fastest girl, def was not french braid material.
my teeter-totter troubles just tripped into motion a woeful tale of most my life in pecking-order’s dumps. i mean, the only thing i had going for me was that i wasn’t Nicky. dear Nicky’s of the world, i’m sorry, really sorry. but the Christine’s thank you! god at least i don’t *think* i was a Nicky, was i? omg my life is so over if i were secretly a Nicky. or worse, THE Nicky! i’m having heart palpitations! in the not swooning way!
i found my stride in college amongst intellectual peers and partiers, the two areas of my life where i outstripped most co-eds. the catch was i didn’t know this was my bright and shiny moment, i thought i’d finally arrived at me, Me, ME!
i started grad school, and it was totally like eighth grade Poodle Skirt Day, and i was the only one not in a poodle skirt. i did learn who Judith Butler was though. and i did learn it was possible to be smarter than a professor. i also learned that just like Poodle Skirt Day, the coolest kid still has to approve you for you to be “in.”
what i never learned was “who gives a shit?” i could blame social imprinting for teaching me that popularity is everything, but shouldn’t a decently intelligent person outgrow that at some point? i’ve always wanted to win Most Popular Girl tiara, but that’s once piece of plastic i’ll never earn. and that’s it, ultimately, it’s plastic. it’s a rigid, cheap toy easily broken.
popularity is as restrictive as a tiara: try to adapt it, and the pressure cracks.