When I think back on my middle school to college years, nothing jumps out at me to make me think that anyone should be surprised ‘how I turned out.’ Oh sure, I did some things that I wish I hadn’t. I did some stupid, stupid things that would (hypocritically) make me want to beat my child and lock her in her room forever. I can even admit that, in most cases regarding friends or certain situations (brace yourselves)- MY PARENTS WERE RIGHT. AHHH! The shock and horror! But it’s true. And I see that now.
However, those stupid, stupid things were far outweighed by the stupid things I didn’t do. First off, I was a good student. I never made below a C- and there were only two in high school. One was in Gifted Physical Science, a class I hadn’t wanted to take and who featured a teacher who thought he was a professor of college freshmen instead of high school freshmen. Oh, and he didn’t like girls. At all. All the boys got nicknames and slaps on the back. If one of the girls did something right, we mostly got ignored. Needless to say, I was not only uninspired to do my best work in his class, I’m not sure it would have mattered if I did. The other C was from AP Calculus. That probably doesn’t surprise anyone who knows me as I’m definitely more right brained than left. Plus, I don’t really count it because, since it was an AP course, it counted as a B towards my GPA. In college, I only made A’s and B’s and graduated one of the Cum Laude’s, having held offices in my sorority and having served as SGA Treasurer and Vice President for three years.
And now for the list of stupid things I didn’t do, just to drive home my point.
-I didn’t smoke pot. Not because it wasn’t offered, but because I was more afraid of looking stupid than I was about being cool. There was no moral high ground, just an ingrained mantra on repeat, “Don’t do anything that makes you look like an idiot.” Not the best mantra, mind you, but it kept me from smoking pot.
– Excepting the misguided raid on S’s parent’s liquor cabinet in 8th grade (which resulted in me shaving the back of me head and passing out for a millisecond… oh and my Mom finding out and grounding me from seeing S for a while), I didn’t drink until my senior year of high school. And then it was Boones Farm in the basement apartment of one of my friends after the closing night of our last spring musical. I remember as much of the night as is possible to remember 15 years later, so I’m pretty sure I didn’t get drunk.
– The night of senior prom, after my date and I left, we didn’t go get drunk or rowdy somewhere. We drove to the next county to see if a boy my date liked was home. Now, many could call it stalking, but it was harmless stalking as we only drove by and drove away. Then we went to my house and he fell asleep in the bonus room and I went to bed. I know, I’m a party animal.
– When I had a curfew, I was always home by it. I was terrified of my Mom and that terror is really the driving force behind most of the stupid things I didn’t do. I didn’t lie too often about where I was going or who I was with. I never stole money or hurt anyone. I was kind to my elders and loved my Mimi. I have had a job since I was 15, and even before that if you counted babysitting. I tried not to ask for money because I always thought we were broke. I just don’t think there was anything in my history that suggests I would turn out any way but the way I have.
And yet, I suppose I have surprised some people. That makes me curious- not only curious as to HOW they thought I might turn out, but curious as to what parts of my life made them think that I would turn out differently. Well, if we’re being honest, I guess even I am surprised that I left D’ville and even more surprised that I left the country. But I wanted to be a teacher since 7th grade and never hid that from anyone. That shouldn’t be shocking. I also wanted to get married since I was about five and didn’t know you couldn’t marry your cousin (technically, I think you can in GA… but really). And I’ve wanted a baby since, well, forever.
I was feisty and yell-y and argumentative. I talked back and was sassy (hehe- I said WAS) and liked to stomp and slam doors. I didn’t work 18 jobs like my sister and didn’t get all A’s for my whole life and couldn’t buy my own car- cash in hand- at seventeen. But I’m just still baffled that anyone is baffled at how I turned out.
It makes me wonder about my daughter. Right now, I expect that she will grow up to be a successful… something. I can’t wait to see how she’ll surprise me.
Things That Make You Go Hmmm….