The “Cool Crowd”
It is interesting to think about the whole concept of the “cool kids.” The ones I grew up with picked on and humiliated some of the nicest kids I knew. Marie was picked on all through Junior High also. She was sweet, smart, kind, silly, and interesting. Her parents were strict and she was sheltered and shy. She minded her own business every day on the bus and during school, yet she was tortured every day. Some days watching her being tortured by other kids took the focus away from me and I felt relief because at least one person was picked on more than me. I always felt guilty about that, but she was my wall of safety. I remember one day we were on the bus on the way home from school and her stop was the street before mine. She was in front of me waiting to get off and the bus stopped short. She lost her footing and fell down the steps and her butt was stuck in between the door and the first step. Everyone behind me on the bus roared with laughter. That happened forty years ago and I still remember her face– the embarrassment, the shame, the humiliation. I still remember the vicious laughter surrounding her.
I’ve thought about that incident many times over the years. That fall could have happened to anyone standing in that spot. The cheerleader, the football quarterback, the pot head, the pageant queen. It was so unfortunate that it happened to Marie. I think of people that have been picked on and their lives may have been molded by the abuse they suffered. The image I had of myself was molded by others. I felt worthless, damaged and no good.
In more recent times, I recall an occasion when I was at a school sporting event. I was sitting alone on the field. Down the field there was a group of five women who usually sat together and always seemed like they were having a good time. I usually sat by myself or with another friend, yet I would say hi to the group of women as I walked by. This particular day my friend was not at the game so I sat near the other women and initiated a conversation. I tried to make small talk for a few minutes but did not get a warm response. I honestly felt like I was back in Junior High School. Their coolness implied that I was not good enough to be in their company. I was forty-one-years-old. I thought it was ridiculous. I felt slightly rejected and a small pang of hurt rushed through my body. I stayed where I was and did not continue in conversation. I sat quietly and watched the game. Then one of the mothers started saying negative comments about one of the kids on the field. As she rolled her eyes, she said in a rude and disgusted manner that the young girl was not running fast enough and should not be playing that position at all.
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