succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A story from adolescence

Heebie-Jeebie has this theory about getting over embarrassing events from our past. That first we carry around all the hurt and shame, then we eventually see it as funny, and then we're finally able to distance ourselves from the emotion of it, recognize that it may be a part of who we are, but it doesn't define us. So I'm trying to get there with this story. It's one of those things that when laid out in black and white doesn't seem so dramatic, but unfortunately was a watershed moment for me.

When I was 14 a new boy joined our gym. He was older and rebellious and generally had trouble written all over him. Of course, my entire team was smitten. He was my first real overwhelming crush, and I didn't know what to do with myself. Two of my teammates went to my high school, and during a break in between classes I gushed to them about how great I thought this new boy was. I couldn't stop talking about him. I should have known better. They counted how many times I said his name during our conversation (apparently, 34), then the next night during practice, made sure to tell him. He stood idly by the stereo we used to play our floor music, picked up my cassette tape, and wrote his name on the cover, 34 times.

I can recognize this now as typical adolescent bullshit, two queen bees picking on someone they viewed as weaker, and an adolescent boy reveling in his adoring fans. But at the time, I couldn't escape the feeling that I had done something wrong, and sadly, no one pointed out to me that I was in fact the wronged party in this situation. I internalized that it was somehow inappropriate to go all googly-eyed over someone, and to this day, instead of sort of enjoying those dorky, overwhelming crushes, my emotions get all tinged with guilt, like I shouldn't be indulging in these feelings. A dozen years later and this is only the third time I've ever told this story. Maybe if I put it out there, quit treating it with such deference, it will finally stop taking up so much room.

I've never told her, but I actually really admire A's ability to be so forthright about her crushes.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Pandemic Blues

The American Public Health Association is sponsoring a song writing contest to 'support the get ready campaign' (seriously!). So one of my favorite profs, in all his dorky awesomeness, of course, had to enter.