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.