*Quick Disclaimer here....sort of the same horrid brand as "Um....Not to be rude or anything....but, >insert offensive, unsolicited advice here<". I do enjoy saying things but telling people not to react to the things I say right before I say them. Brilliant, BRILLIANT, I say!!! OH, crap. Back to my disclaimer. I just want to note that this story of going to Dallas Texas on a band trip when I was a goofy teenager is told by my perspective as it was then. It was, in a lot of ways, sort of a turning point in my life, and helped get me to the place I am today, for better or for worse. I understand that self-deprecation can come off very badly, and it appears as though I'm putting myself down for cheap laughs. But, seriously, friends...do you remember being a teenager? If you don't, I can copy and paste some of my 16-year-old sister's facebook posts here, and you'll remember in a hurry! (Why the crap not? She's posting them for the whole world to see anyway. Love you, Natalie!! And..um...not to be "rude or anything"...but um....you might not want to share every SINGLE thought and feeling with everyone. ;) Anyway, I think it's a marvelous blessing to have perspective, find humor in situations that were gut-wrenching and tear-jerking at the time, and look back at where you were to be ever grateful for where you have come! And now, part 2. As promised.
I'm sorry about the picture. Usually I would take some time to give it a little bit more character, but I'm frantically trying to clean my house to maybe possibly put it up on the market so it will maybe possibly sell and maybe possibly we'll move. This is my way of escaping my duty, impending and crushing as it may be.
I believe it was the day after going to Medieval Times that are band group was scheduled to go to Six Flags Amusement Park. OH, junk. Let me back up here for a minute. REWIND *GLING* Previous afternoon!
"Michelle, we're going down to the hot tub! Some of the cuter guys said they were going to be down there!"
I believe this was said by Cortney...... Cortney Starbuck. (Oh, crap, sorry, Cortney, I spelled your name wrong up there.) I would just like to point out that you can't NOT be cute, itty-bitty, blonde and a boy magnet when you're name is Cortney-Freaking-Starbuck. Her mom guaranteed that she would be a popular cheerleader the second the filled out the birth certificate. It worked!! (Remember what I said up there about perspective? Remember, this is teenage me. Or, for better words: jealous, insecure, and selfish.)
"Um..I didn't bring my swimsuit." I squeak, feeling instantly defensive and mortified.
"That's okay. Your bra is really cute and has rainbows on it. Just wear your underwear. No one will know!"
At this point, my blood turns to ice as I realize 3 things simultaneously: 1.)The pure white button up shirts that we were all wearing for performing while we played our instruments were apparently not leaving much up the the imagination where my bosoms were concerned. My mother would kill me. 2.)I would be in a hot tub, with all of my...me...exposed, and I've never been able to wear skirts or shorts that went up past my lower knees OR tank tops or things that were very low cut. My mother would KILL ME! 3.) She probably would never find out. Until I accidentally told her in a blog 13 years later....My MOTHER WOULD REALLY KILL ME!!!
Nope, not happening. Not for cute boys. Not for the thrill of it. Not for the possible humiliation of it. I declined. Over and over and over again. Finally, Brenda, Cortney Starbuck, and my friend Mary all left the room in their fabulous swimsuits and hotel towels worn as strapless dresses, whilst I made myself comfortable on the hideous abstract print 1990's era hotel comforter and flipped on the TV, delighted to find the Red Green Show was on! Yes, Duct tape CAN fix anything! Even a forlorn emotional teenager's delicate self esteem.
This is how I started to withdraw into myself and purposely make myself into an outsider. When you're an addict for the glorious thrill of non-conformity, you get caught up in your emo-teenage poetry narration track in your brain, and you WANT to be the one that "no one understands". I mean, if those girls understood me, we would ALL be sitting and watching middle-aged Canadian men with beards on tv, instead of sitting in a hot tub right now, giggling at bad jokes. Thus, all at once, I decided to be sulky and sullen for pretty much the rest of the trip, refusing to romp around in the hormonal bliss of my friends. This is how my teenage brain worked. I'm still not sure why. This DOES explain why my older brother would have come up with the "Michelle has no settings between 0 and 10" theory around this time in my life.
Ahem, back to Six Flags.
Since I was being a jealous, insecure, poo-face, obviously no one wanted to hang out with me, so I spent the better part of the morning alone, or vaguely trailing along behind Brenda (Wearing a tight, one-shoulder tank top borrowed from Cortney), Cortney Starbuck (wearing a tight, one shoulder tank top borrowed from Brenda), and a pile of eager, drooling band geeks (remember, this is an affectionate term. We knew what we were...and dang proud!). One of the droolers was a very tall, very......socially off-putting, young man named Mike. I can't explain him. He was just odd. He was very quiet, stood a little too close, and always looked like he would rather be somewhere else....as long as that was right there with you. On this trip, he formed an attachment to Brenda, and followed her around like a sick puppy dog...I mean, literally....sick.
The crowd hopped onto a roller coaster that takes you upside down, spins you around, and emits shrieking from the most steadfast theme park patron. It looked like the one from the beginning credits of "Step by Step" (Oh, holy face. Now, I've got that song in my head again. This happened the other day at work, and then I got it into everyone else's head, and then we were ALL singing, "We'll make it better the second time around!!"). Anyhow, I politely declined, seeing as I take about as much joy from roller coasters as I do from chewing tinfoil.
About 20 minutes later, I saw Brenda, running from the entrance/exit of the ride, irate and disgusted. I ran over and asked her what was wrong and she declared that Mike had PUKED ALL OVER HER! He had gotten into the cars behind her, and when they were at the bottom of one loop, Mike's car was at the top of the loop, and when he threw up, it went straight down, onto her too-sexy-for-minors tank top! The outrage! (By the way, Brenda, I know you're going to read this. Remember, I was always perpetually jealous of you, and in a strange, extremely uncomfortable way, I EVEN wanted to be the kind of girl that could scream at a boy for throwing up on her because he loved her so much. *sigh* I'm so glad we're both married to very cool husbands and have 3 kids each now. Isn't life so much better this way?) Brenda ran into the nearest tourist-trap souvenir shop and bought a much LESS alluring, baggy "Six Flags, Dallas!" tshirt. I felt a small, guilty, "I'm a horrible person" victory when I saw that she, too, had to have sleeves on her shirt...just like me!
Needless to say, Mike was very uncomfortable and embarassed about the whole situation, and decided to switch his allegiance to my friend, Mary. Mary, Mike, and Me (does this sound like a tv sitcom??) broke off from the rest of the crowd, and wandered around trying to win awkwardly big prizes.
I will need to take another whole entire blog to describe the power that my friend, Mary had, and STILL has to this day. She just....gets. free. stuff. She has such a magnetic personality, and is so disarming and frightfully honest when she talks to you, and you almost just hand over whatever you have and ask if you can possibly give her anything else? One time when we were out shopping, all in a single night, we got all of our meals at Burger King for free (no joke, she pulled up the drive-in window, the guy said, "Welcome to Burger King, can I take your order?" and she said, "Yes, I would like 3 # 5 meals, super size, for free...for some really hot girls." Pause. "Please pull forward to the second window." Out came the food...tons of it....plus their crappy little desserts in the cardboard packaging. What the WHAT?) we got our movie tickets for matinee/child price, we got some sneakers for the employee price, PLUS, coupon, PLUS some other illegal cash register magic that the guy worked, resulting in us paying about $6 for $60 sneakers.
We came up to a booth where there was stuffed animals to win that seemed absolutely shamefully large, and I fell in love with the gorilla with two baby gorillas on its shoulders! Mike suggested that maybe he could throw the ball at the pyramid of cans and knock them all off the table to win them for me. Mary suggested to the guy running the game that we could take a bunch of "practice" throws before we did the "actual" throw that we paid the money to win. When Mike did knock the cans over, after about 30 tries, Mary hurried and handed the guy $4 and explained that she had just paid for that last throw. The guy actually let it pass. I got the gorilla. You can see me grasping its bosoms below. ;) If my memory serves me right, Mary just got the giant dog for free.
That afternoon, when I got back on the bus, precariously shuffling back through the seats and beating everyone in the head with the gorilla as I walked past them, Brenda looked up and saw me in all of my glory. "Where did you get that???" she exclaimed! "Um....Mike won it for me?......" And there was this awkward moment where we realized that the same boy who had thrown up on Brenda had won me a gorilla, all in the same day.
|I would like to point out that I sewed the orange camouflage shirts that Brenda and I are wearing. Remember how I sewed tons of the clothing that we both wore to school? Here is proof.|
I know, I spend most of my life forgetting that. In my angsty teenage brain, I would be so jealous and frustrated, and just want to be something else that I forgot how good it was to be myself. After all, I am the one who knows BEST how to be me....in my body, with all of its unique characteristics. I may not be vanilla, but I COULD be something really awesome and strange, like the garlic ice cream that they serve at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
I got WAY off topic here, but I do want to exclaim that I am grateful for all of the painful teenage experiences that helped kick my bum into adulthood. It's much better here....sorry, but it just is. However, you obviously can't MAKE it to adulthood without paying the price with your teenage emotion profusion. Just take joy in who you are, and remember that for as nervous, jealous, insecure, unsure, selfish, and immature as you can sometimes be, the people around you are probably feeling and acting the exact same dang way. Hopefully, in the end, you can get a huge stuffed gorilla, and that will make it all better.