People have asked me if I was homecoming queen in high school. I don't say this to brag, I say this because you should find it so funny, you are currently rolling on the ground, kicking your legs in the air. Why? This is why:
That's me in the 7th grade. Okay, so by high school graduation, I was a few steps closer to Normal Human, but not "homecoming queen" close.
The thing is, despite my amazing face-sized glasses and braces with color-coordinated rubber bands, I was actually pretty happy in junior high. I hated the popular girls, of course, and I dreamed of the day I'd figure out how to do my hair (note to 13-year-old-self: it's called a straightener, and it's about to change your life.) But I was happy. Or at least, as happy as a girl can be when she is also perpetually terrified someone will notice she's wearing a bra.
I attempted to give off a vibe of "I'm different and I don't care" which I still long for nowadays. I claimed that neon green was my favorite color, put my hair into pigtails daily, wore a ring-watch, and walked around proudly wearing rainbow toe socks. I doubt any adults ever bought it. If I saw a girl like that now, I would sigh and pat her on the head. "You'll get it eventually, grasshopper," I would whisper. But I think kids my age actually thought I was genuinely Weird And Proud. Or at least they humored me. Either way, they stuck by me. And I survived junior high with a group of Monte Python-quoting weirdos by my side.
The one thing I will never forget in Junior High, the thing that changed my whole outlook, was the day I sat next to Rachel T. I remember exactly where I was in our English room. We had been split off into groups, and my group included none of my friends, and a bunch of popular girls. And to my left was the most popular of all: Rachel T. She knew how to do her hair. She was pretty AND smart. And when she said a boy was cute, THAT'S when he was cute. Not a moment sooner. Blech, and the worst part of all was that she was nice. Oh, GO HOME, Rachel T. No one wants your nice, smart, Abercrombie-wearing ass around here!
Sitting next to Rachel T. wasn't my defining moment. It was when, in the middle of the discussion, she stood up slightly from her chair and did a little thing. I'm having trouble describing it...ladies know what I'm talking about--when you wear a pad, sometimes it gets out of place and you have to rearrange it. Well, Rachel T. REARRANGED. Rachel T. had her period, too! And she was uncomfortable, too! And not everything that goes on around Rachel T. is sunshine and rainbows!
I was floored. Until Rachel T. stayed cool. Everyone noticed her little dance and she took it in stride. She laughed and acted like it was not actually embarrassing to have to rearrange your pad. Like it was something we were all dealing with. Like it was possible to ACTUALLY laugh about the new and scary things going on within us.
I'll never forget that day.