When I was younger I was a dork. The biggest dork you would ever see. I wasn't a people person, to say the least. Most of high school was spent with no real friends. The few friends I did have were not really friends at all, but mostly trouble makers who did not have half the ambition to cause trouble as to see someone else (me) do something wrong. No friends to say the least.
Girls were off limits and simply out of the question. Talking to a girl was a nightmare in my head and something I never dared to do. Even if I did somehow find an opportunity to talk to a girl the right words were never found and interest in me died fast. Honestly, I would have done much better not saying anything at all.
Not being able to talk to girls wasn't actually that big of a deal because I hardly ever spoke. Heck, I hardly ever kept my head up. Believe me, in classes I was the kid who never raised his hand. I felt that would be too much attention. I walked around high school under the assumption that everyone was somehow bigger than I was.
I was an easy target for the big kids too. Gosh, how they loved to pick on me. Actually, I have to admit, I like to get down in a good fist fight. I only had to get beaten up a few times before I realized pain was in the mind. After that I understood that feeling little and being little were two different things. I'll end this note on a "please please please try to kick my ass".
Social fool was my middle name and believe me, it was fitting.
Then one day at school I got into trouble. Big trouble! I'm not going to tell you what I did (pulled the fire alarm), but I will tell you that it got me in a lot of trouble.This lead me to be kicked out of school (deserved) and left with only one place to go - an "alternative school". For those of you who have never had the privilege of this option, an alternative school is where all the "bad" kids go after they are deemed unfit to be in a regular school.
Now, I'm in a real bind. Now I'm going into a school where the real big and bad kids go and I don't know a single person. A dork in a mosh pit of unknown rebels. Was I scared of the fights? Nope! However, I also knew I was never going to fit in. I couldn't even fit in with the "normal" kids. To me, this was like a priest going to jail (almost).
Despite my gut feeling on the matter, I decided to go. This was when my whole life changed.
Alternative School Day 1: I was fresh in and still looking for my new classes. It was about one hour into the day. I was looking at my class list when I suddenly heard someone say "hi". You would be shocked (as I was) to know that this welcome came from a girl - and what I later realized was that she was the hottest girl in the school.
Her: "you are new here right?"
Her: "what got you put here?"
Me: "ummmm mm mm"
Her: "what school did you come from?
Me: "well I..."
Her: " do you have a girlfriend"
Me: "HELL NO"
Her: "good, come with me"
To make a short story a little shorter, we were a couple by the next day!
Alternative School Day 2: I'm not too much of a sporty person. However, on day two of my new school I joined a game of basketball for the first time in my life. The funny thing then was that I found out that I was actually good. From day one on the court I had a bit of skill. Just enough touch of the game to leave people on day two of school wanting me to be on their team the next day. For the record, I can't jump to save my life but I can toss up more than a few nasty looking 3points (let the record show)!
Alternative School Day 3: A "bad ass" want's to fight. Oh NO! This attack was stopped short by an onlooker.
Onlooker: "don't mess with that kid"
Bad Ass: "why?"
Onlooker " because he is cool"
That comment came from what I thought was the coolest kid in that school.
Alternative School Day 4: I became the coolest kid in school. What do you know? The quick luck of female attention and a few 3 pointers and whooooo hoooooo....... I'M IN! Done deal.... cool house party's here I come!
I'm sure that you (my reader) can almost see this happening. A fluke! I didn't change me. Simply, the way other people saw me changed. And it didn't take much.
On day 4 of my new school I learned one of the most valuable lessons in life I think one can learn:
People are easily fooled into believing what is cool and what isn't!
Social circles work the same way, as in, people are easily fooled.
Personaly, I have never tried to fool anyone about who I am. However, I have to tell you that I have used this knowledge to my benefit when it comes to social circles, making friends, and meeting people. Whereas I used to never be able to look at or talk to people, you might see me now walk into a room full of people I don't know, shaking hands, and introducing myself along the way. This took years to develop, of course, but it all started with the understanding that I (at age 16) was not the only one confused. At age 33 I still understand this notion and it has served me well.
However, I've learned that being a social monster (like I tend to be) has its down falls. For me, being social is like a light switch. Sometimes I want to turn it on; some times I don't. I have learned recently that being non-social is not taken so lightly. When I'm expected to be social and I'm choosing not to be, sometimes the consequences can be devastating. Sometimes you are looked at as an outcast. For me, it's almost like I'm in high school again.
The reason being: because I have never changed! If you look at me on a personal level and you find someone you like and care about then that's what I am. Now, if you find me cool, honest, easy going, and big headed, then find out later I don't fit your social network to your liking, does that mean I'm a different person? NO! Being outgoing and friendly is always cool - one should always inspire to be friendly!
Fitting into a social circle that won't accept you for who you are is high school stuff. Never change who you are if you know you are a good person on the inside. I never did... I never will.... no matter how many hands I shake along the way of finding myself.