Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Underhanded Compliments

So last week I was doing a book signing at a local grocery store, and a kid comes in that I've known since elementary school. (Kid being relative, since we're :::ahem::: in our thirties now.) I recognized him immediately. I'd know that head anywhere. With his last name being Green and mine being Hart, he was always in front of me in the alphabetical line-up. We tormented each other endlessly. Somewhere in the tormenting, around grade six, I think, we ended up becoming rather fond of the other, when we weren't annoyed with each other. It wasn't anything romantic. We were just friends.

Flash back to a week ago, and I called out to him by name. He heard me, turned around, looked at me, came closer, looked at me...and I knew he didn't have any idea who I was. Don't you feel stupid when that happens? It's true, our friendship pretty much died by the time we got to high school...but I knew who he was!

I told him my name (groan! the re-introduction) and the light bulb flashed on. He remembered me. So we stood around, talking about family and kids for nearly half an hour when he said the oddest thing. He said, "Boy, you've changed a lot. I hardly recognized you."

Well, that's funny, most people think I look just the same, except I do my eyebrows differently now. So I laughed and said, "Really?"

And he said, "Yeah. You're really pretty now. I mean, like really pretty."

Wow. Um, thanks?

That's about all you can say to a comment like that, but it rubbed me wrong. I don't mind being prettier now, that's not the problem. The issue for me, I don't think I am. I was pretty dang cute in high school. Judge for yourselves. Here are two of my senior pictures. (Yeah, I had to take photos of photos...you know how it goes!)

What it did was flash me back to those miserable years of high school when ALL I WANTED was for somebody to notice me, somebody to think I was pretty, somebody to think I was special.

There was not a single boy from my high school who ever asked me out on a date.
And I wanted to say, "What was wrong with you? With all of you boys? How could you not see that I was pretty? How could you not SEE ME?" Because I didn't feel seen. I felt invisible. I didn't have the confidence I have today, and I wasn't outgoing. And I didn't hang out with the right crowds because I was a good girl, through and through.

But here's the thing: that invisibility probably saved me. High school was awful on the social scene, sure, but I got great grades. I got a scholarship to an excellent school. There was nothing to distract me from keeping my sights on God and the future. I saw a lot of girls get in trouble from too much attention. There's no way of knowing if I would've been one of those. So in the end, even though it still smarts that I was so completely ignored, I think it was for the better.

Anyway. Just my two cents.


DL Hammons said...

I have two theories regarding your high school days. The first, every single boy at your school was on drugs and therefore incapable of noticing anything past their own hazed existence. The girls who did get dates...they were drug dealers! The second, and the one that makes more sense, is that girls as beautiful and SMART as you intimidate most boys. You were the exact opposite of invisible, you were blinding. I admire you for putting a positive spin on the experience.

And for the record, you look the same today as you did back then.

Hillary Sperry said...

I think you look exactly the same. Don't worry we're all jealous now :) hehe Your comment has made me re-think my opinions for my girls friendships in High School. I know fervently hope that they are ignored. Why because I completely agree with you!

Talli Roland said...

You were beautiful then, and you'r beautiful now! Silly men.

David J. West said...

Really? Come on really? I don't get it. Very hard for me to believe that you weren't noticed.

Shanda said...

Tamara, thank you for sharing this. You looked exactly like the kind of girl I was incredibly jealous of in high school- naturally tan, thin, gorgeous, friendly and incredibly smart. I was friendly and smart, but back then all I wanted to be was tan, thin and gorgeous. Those girls had it all, it seemed. Now I know better.

I love how DL put it and I completely agree - you weren't invisible. You were blinding.

I'm so glad to know you. You are still gorgeous, sweet, talented and, now, a great mom, too. :)

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

OH MY WORD! These pics are gorgeous! I mean, seriously!

Boys are idiots. Even when they grow up. Even our husbands can be idiots, but we forgive them and love them anyway. =)

Sorry you had that kind of experience with the "kid." Use it in one of your stories! Let it make you money! lol

Abby said...

Uh, yeah - you're gorgeous! My guess is... the boys were too scared of you. Not only were you beautiful, but you were a good girl and smart too! They're just wimpy. I would have got rubbed the wrong way by his comment too, but sometimes boys are just morons.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

lol. you guys should've gone to my high school.

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