Sunday, August 18, 2013

POPULAR by SUMMER DAY (chapter twenty-one: clarity)

Chapter Twenty-one
    I felt like such an imperfect teenage girl of a human being.
    I knew I had to snap out of it. Nobody’s flawless. Some peeps put down girls enough – there is no sense in doing it to ourselves. We all make mistakes.
    It is important to be kind to our minds and bodies. To that end, I did an extra twenty minutes of yoga and read my first self-help article the next morning. I’d researched the background and credentials of the author of the article. Always do your research.
    After ten minutes I got bored.
     Why read self-help when you could actually write it?
     Sometimes experience is the best teacher. I totally opened up my lap top and wrote on my blog about all I’d learned so far. After all, I had experience now. I’d learned to have empathy for those less fortunate. I’d learned about being kind and treating others as you would wish to be treated. Most of all, I’d learned about myself, about being ready in mind and body to love the one you are meant to love – you just have to find him first. I’d also learned there are tons of worthy pursuits for a girl without spending every moment seeking the perfect match.
    I know, I know. I’ve been way harsh about myself and others. But that’s all in the past. Every day is a new beginning. We all need to be kinder to each other.
    I’ll start again, I thought. I meant well. I’m not totally flawed. Not a total nasty mean girl. I did what many people do. I made a mistake, over and over again. So, I made lots of mistakes.
   Platitudes, I know. To make everything worse, I was having a seriously one-sided love affair with Ethan. I had become very self-conscious in his company. When he came around to hang out that afternoon, I couldn’t laugh at his usual teenage boy behavior. I had to pretend I was interested in his stupid computer games and jokes.
    It was difficult to show my true feelings. I’m not going to lie, but it is very important the man show his hand first. You are always a step behind if you don’t let the boy do the wooing in my opinion. I’m totally old fashioned that way. I don’t believe in being the pursuer. Initially, boys need an opportunity to impress you. They are the hunters. End of.   
   Now, where was I? I wasn’t going to lie to Ethan about my true feelings.
   That’s a lie, really. Of course I was going to lie. To myself. That’s not nearly as bad as lying to others. I told myself I was in control, that Ethan wasn’t that great, just another boy.
   But it didn’t work. As I sat on the couch contemplating my potential love interest, I knew I’d been wrong. He wasn’t a dork or a geek or a bore. His computer games were totally educational (if a little addictive). Ethan was way smart. Smarter than me, maybe. How was that possible? How would I ever be worthy? But why would a man I love cause me self-doubt? Maybe I was wrong to love Ethan. Had my romance gone pear shaped before it had even begun?
   Ethan started behaving with his usual disinterest around me.  Did this mean I’d have to convince Ethan of his attraction to me? How would that ever work? Plus, I’d have to convince him to wait for me, at least until after I’d finished high school. A few months age difference can be a big deal at our age.
    He barely looked up and smiled at me today, even though I’d worn my best jeans and brightest top. I wondered if all my transgressions – my social faux paus - had finally put him off. To make matters worse, he even left early after telling me I was acting, ‘weird’.
    I needed to clear my head. I decided to go for a walk around my neighborhood. I wondered if Ethan would ever be into mois.
    Perhaps he only saw me as the girl next door, just a friend, not a girlfriend at all. I wondered way too much because by the time I walked into him on the pavement leading up the hill between our co-existing houses, I was all red in the face and puffy from crying. It was just heinous that he’d seen me like this. I put my hand over my face, pretending to shield my complexion from the sun and ran in the opposite direction.
    I’d been really emotional and PM-essing about Ethan going away when I hadn’t even wanted him at my school in the first place.
    Besides, I was pretty sure Ethan might not even want to spend summer swimming and hanging out with me now that I was a social pariah.
    I was still Honey Woodhouse but without the allure of being Miss Popular, I felt like nothing. At that moment I noticed Ethan running after me. When Ethan tried to stop and talk to me on the pavement I just got all teary again and blanked him and rushed off into the nearby public library.