Most memories of my youth have been repressed as a means of survival. The unfortunate thing about repression is that the memories are not expunged; they are merely dormant until a new thought triggers a revival. Reliving those memories is like waking in a cold sweat from a nightmare, except I can’t hold my hand over my pounding heart and say, “thank goodness it was just a dream.”
Last week, a group of related memories were roused from their comas by a conversation with the college kid I drive to work. (I can call him a “kid” because I figured out he’s half my age. Half! Somewhere along the line, I got old and no one bothered to tell me :))
He told me a funny story about how he learned to play soccer because his crush liked the game. He said he ended up enjoying it so much, he played throughout high school (but he never got the girl.)
This is much more constructive than the way I went about getting noticed. At least he honed a skill and found a hobby. I set out to test the limits of how far I could go before I got slapped with a restraining order. Luckily, I dodged an early introduction to the criminal justice system…three times.
Now, before you label me a “stalker”, let me explain.
At 13, I was the poster child for teen awkwardness. You’re going to have to take my word for it. If I post proof, I might be tracked down and sued for mental anguish. I don’t know if there’s a statute of limitations, but I’m not taking any chances!
Anyway, my shiny silver braces and plastic framed glasses didn’t do me any favors. Not even the boys in the same Geek level paid me any attention. Still, I had a crush on Jeremy, an athletic type who did not have an obvious affinity for pasty-skinned, frizz-haired girls with braces and glasses. I set out to change his mind.
I cheered him on at his baseball games, said “hi” to him over his backyard fence (my lucky friend lived next door), and giggled with my friends when he walked by. When he frowned at me, I couldn’t say a word. I was too excited that I held his attention for a few seconds. Of course, he never felt the same for me.
Then there was Dean, the shy yearbook photographer I met my senior year in high school. By this time, the braces were gone and contacts replaced glasses, but the same awkward girl lived inside me. I fawned over his photos, followed him around (waiting outside the boy’s restroom because I knew he’d come out eventually) and offered him gifts of candy and even a ride home from school. But Dean’s mom taught him well: he never accepted candy or rides from me.
I wish I could say I learned my lesson, but I found victim crush #3 during my first semester of community college. In the back of my mind, I knew David wasn’t right for me, but I liked him anyway. I had connections, and soon held his class schedule in my hands, along with the unexpected bonus of his home address.
I alternated between pretending to study in the vicinity and walking by as he exited class. Either way, I acted surprised to see him. I resisted temptation for several weeks, but finally, I drove by his house. No, I didn’t stop to peek in the windows – imagining the horror of him catching me served as an effective deterrent.
By November, David hung around with a blond cheerleader type – someone more fitting for him. We all ate lunch together one day and I watched them watch each other. I listened to David tell me I was like the sister he never had. Just like that, the spell was broken, along with my heart.
I threw away his class schedule. I found new routes across campus and changed my game plan. I finally understood that if I had to try that hard to be noticed, the guy wasn’t worth my time.
When I met my husband several years later, I knew I found my match. It turns out he likes sarcasm and attitude – both of which I have an abundance of – naturally.
Video: Somebody’s Watching Me (by Rockwell)
Hey, I might be crazy (you know I am), but I at least I am no longer not a stalker!
Now’s your chance to share your story, or make fun of me (if you prefer). Don’t worry…I’m not watching you, but I do read your comments 🙂