Meet the old me
After yesterday's little trip down memory lane, my younger years have been crossing my mind more and more. You see, contrary to popular belief, I haven't always been this hip and suave.

Okay, so obviously I'm still not that cool, but I have made leaps and bounds since I was a little sprout. And stop hunching over in laughter, because yes, it is possible to be less cool than I am now. I'll prove it.

As you surely read, I'm from an itty-bitty little town in Kansas. I was the overachieving bookworm type, pretty much from the start of it. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get straight A's and often went overboard, like when I cried when I missed my first spelling word in second grade. And I actually remember taking driver's ed in middle school and just hoping and praying that I would get an A out of it so that it didn't mess up my perfect scholastic record. Oh, and have I told you about the attendance record? Because that had to be perfect as well.

I'm sure you can just picture that shy, uptight little me right now, with my too-big glasses, what I thought was a very stylish purple silk shirt and curly hair that just wouldn't tame (lucky for me, I've still got that).

That's all fine and swell going through grade school. But it doesn't stay acceptable forever, and that point for me was probably in my middle school years.

Now my classmates, who I had been with since kindergarten, always seemed to like me just fine. From my perspective, I didn't think I was noticeably socially awkward and I didn't have bad hygiene or anything, so that was a plus. But during those middle school years I felt more and more like I was headed down the uncool nerd path, slowly becoming more of an outsider as groups and cliques formed more solidly. Growing up in a small, close-knit school had its definite advantages. However, I felt a little bit like a slave to my nerdy reputation there, with nowhere to really hide from it.

High school didn't really change my geek level, and if anything I only made it worse with my participation in FFA, a la Napoleon Dynamite, and my speech and drama club activity. I didn't date AT ALL either. I just worked at the local grocery store and studied when I wasn't working. Occasionally I hung out with my couple of dear friends, doing very un-edgy things like watching movies and baking cakes.

And now here I am, seven years removed from my small little town, and even though I still am rather reserved and a bit self-conscious, I actually feel like I barely know that awkward little person I used to be.

Sometimes I have these little "Pinch-Me Moments" in my everyday life. I have them a lot when I'm just hanging out with Nick, where everything seems so lovely and cheery and silly, feeling a certain happiness that I never imagined I'd ever feel back when I was younger. And there are times when I'm doing something at work, like art directing photo shoots, perhaps choosing wardrobe for a model or giving direction on hair and makeup, that seems so wildly out of character for my old high school and middle school me.

One "Pinch-Me Moment" in particular that I can remember so vividly was when I was art directing my very first, and so far, only, national commercial. Our production schedule was intense, like I suppose all of them are. We'd been working all week on it and just finished two back-to-back 10- or 12-hour shoot days. When we were finished, the director gave me the walkie talkie and told me to wrap it. And I turned it on, feeling quite honored to call out those three magic words, and wrapped that sucker with confidence.

There are times like those where I almost feel like I should 'fess up and tell them that this really isn't in my character, that this isn't me. I deliver informational speeches in speech meets. I compete in FFA events. I can barely do my own hair and makeup and I definitely don't wrap large-scale productions. If you would have told me back then that this would be my life right now, I certainly wouldn't believe you. But I suppose it was worth the wait.


Blogger thethinker said...

That description of the overachieving bookworm sounds just like how I was in middle school. Actually, I guess I still am like that.

Blogger Fraulein N said...

That's awesome. I guess I'm still waiting to feel like "the me I want to be," if that makes any sense.

Blogger heidikins said...

I can relate so much to this post, the feelings of being so far from your 10-years-ago self that you can hardly recognize your own life; I get that feeling all the time.

Go get 'em Tiger! You wrap that shoot with uber-confidence!

Blogger littlemissy555 said...

I was in FFA too!!! I loved every minute of it. I was a bit of a strange mix in school though...National Honor Society, FFA, and a cheerleader to boot ;0) I still haven't found that pinch me moment yet, but I'm working on it.

Blogger Trish Ryan said...

You've come a long way, baby :) (Please ingore the fact that I'm quoting a cigarette ad to compliment you...) We didn't have FFA where I grew up in Maine. My Mom's little garden was the closest I ever got. Glad to hear life is so good!

Blogger Isabel said...

It's good to become a grown up and realize that you really are just as cool as your always knew you were.

Anonymous katie said...

The "town" where my parents live does not even have a stop sign when you drive down the main road.

Blogger Lindsey said...

I wasn't into the same things as you were...and even though I was kind of popular, I was popular at a private school for kids who wanted to be there and wanted to learn. (You would have loved it, seriously) But what I'm trying to say is, it's cool to be an adult and have friends who were also kind of dorky too back in the day. I actually prefer to hang out with the "good kid" types because I feel most comfortable around people who are kind of lame like me. LOL But like you, I often times sit back and look at the professional me and think...what?? How did this happen?? How am I this young professional woman?

By the way, I also had purple silk shirt. I think it was around the time I also had permed hair.

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