High School Cliches

Earlier today, a friend and I were talking about a tv drama based on high school kids.  This started me off thinking about stereotypes in school dramas, and which stereotype would most closely match with myself.  And I realized that, strangely enough, my current self matches with a different stereotype than my actual high school self would have.

Now, I don’t mean to complain about my past or current selves, merely to comment on how people change characters as they go through life.

The current me has been compared to the quirky cool characters of school shows, as I am someone who is comfortable with herself.  I dress the way I like, cut my own hair, enjoy my hobbies, and know that I am weird, unashamed of my emotions and bad jokes. Like the class clowns on tv, I am constantly making jokes, am a horrendous(ly bad) flirt, and am utterly confident in my abilities to lighten a room.  The uncaring misfit is now my stereotype, and I am proud of it.

Yet in high school, I was not so.  With thick glasses and braces for years, a perpetual ponytail, and a wardrobe entirely comprised of jeans and t shirts that had my mother begging me to dress more stylishly.  I was the sort of introvert who was always surprised when anyone spoke to me.  Afraid to talk to guys, I was called an ice queen on more than one occasion.  A confirmed bookworm, I could only speak to someone for very long if we were discussing novels.

Don’t get me wrong, I had some friends.  Other girls who loved books and talking about the one we would write ourselves, someday.  But coming from a large family and being an introvert usually meant that I had more of a need to be alone than with peers, so my friendships were confined to outings once a month besides the time we spent together in class or extracurriculars.  Back then, I had no desire for anything more, just to get back to my books.

When I think about it, I realize that the two cliche characters aren’t as far apart as they seemed.  The difference is that I only let my high school self, who is still me, out when I am alone.  For then I must needs take out my eye contacts that and put back on the comfortably thick glasses that college boys told me were unattractive.  At home I can replace my quirky dress with with the t-shirt and sweat pants that my mother abhorred so long ago.  I can let my sweet sociable self sleep, as I lock myself in libraries, parks, or rooms alone, where I once again may go hours without sleep.

It makes me realize that, though I may look back on my high school self with pity, I think that her cliche may have been the more honest of the two of us.

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