“you look weird”

If I had a dime for every time I heard that today.

I wore my new glasses to school today.  I got them last Friday and I was really excited to have new frames.  It had been about 7 years and I picked some that I thought were classic enough to last, but modern enough to look good.  I wore them all weekend, and thought I would give them a try at school today.

Mistake.  All day students stopped, pointed, laughed, and offered their expert 14-year old analysis.  Things like:

“Those make you look like Madea.”

“Did you choose those frames on purpose?”

“Those are almost as big as your forehead!”

“You should have gotten contacts.”

“You look really old in those glasses.”

“Those are some ugly frames Mrs. Russ.”

By the end of the day I felt exhausted, and it made me remember when I was in school and some of the mean things my classmates said to me then.  With my liquid courage by my side, I’ve decided to take a stroll down memory lane.  Names have not been changed.

1.  In elementary school (4th grade I think), Brandon Taylor told me the lines on my neck were ugly.  What a peculiar thing to say, right?  Maybe that’s why I remember it.

2.  In 8th grade (my toughest year ever) Marshall Swails (I think that was his name) made fun of my glasses.  He had two other friends/colleagues who sat behind me, but I can’t remember their names.

3.  In 9th grade study hall, some kid I didn’t know yelled, “chubbs” when I got up to use the bathroom.  I remember I was wearing a skirt that day, and suddenly became very aware and self-conscious of my body.

4.  In 10th grade, sporting my naturally curly hair that I didn’t quite know how to style, Whit Swords used to ball up tiny pieces of paper and throw them at me so they would stick in the back of my head.  I think his full name was/is Whitney, so I’m not sure how I’m the one who got made fun of.

5.  In 10th or 11th grade a group of young “men” from my church youth group thought it would be funny to use one of their sister’s AIM accounts to ascertain my bra size.  They concocted this elaborate story about how she was in the middle of a move and didn’t have anything to wear…the best part was when they confronted me about it the next day at church and laughed at me.

I’m not angry at these people; instead, I’m most disappointed in myself.  Even after their insults and not-so-nice words, I still felt the need to impress them and be a part of their group.  What was I thinking?  The people I really remember and appreciate are Jeffrey Stephenson, my only friend in 8th grade, or Nathalie Iniguez who speaks at least 32 languages and was always 12 cool steps ahead of everyone else.  I could always count on a smile and a genuine conversation from Allison Horne, and if I was ever in the mood for baking cakes I had Besty Daniel’s number on speed dial.  I choose to remember these people and their contributions in my life.

As for the insults from my 8th graders, I’ll keep telling myself what I told one class today:

“I’m twice as educated as you are, have way more money, and I look a lot better than you would if you were wearing these glasses, so get back to work.”