Wednesday, November 18, 2009

put your hands up

In grade one, I had a mad crush on the boy my mom babysat some days after school. His name was Jaime, and he was the cutest boy I had ever seen. Big brown eyes, big smile. And we were friends, too. And he came over to my house lots. On Valentines day, I even got up the courage to tell him how much I liked him on the big Valentine's Day card that had his name on it. Right before I gave it to him though, I got so nervous that I decided I didn't want him knowing, after all. So I took little pieces of paper and taped them over most of my words. Foolproof eh. I can still remember, to this day, what it looked like; it was a horrible tape job that practically screamed: LOOK WHAT'S UNDERNEATH! I also remember, quite distinctly, the feeling I had while I held that taped up little Valentine in my six year old hands in our crowded elementary school hallway: I would be so devastated if he knew and didn't like me back! As it turns out, the whole rest of the day him and his friend laughed everytime they saw me, and we weren't very good friends after that. He must've looked under the tape.

My next crush was in grade four; his name was Jeremy. He was the most popular boy in class and definitely the cutest. But he was dating Catherine, who just happened to be the prettiest girl in our grade. Catherine didn't like me very much, either, although I have a hard time believing that she liked anyone. By grade four I had already started to develop into the tall, lanky girl in the middle-back-row of class pictures. I was new that year too, so I didn't actually have that many friends. I remember playing with my cousin Stephanie sometimes, though she was a grade below me. I also remember my (now longest-time) friend Tyler, who was in my grade; he would talk to me sometimes, too. Other than that, I only remember a really hard year. One time, towards the end of the school year, most of my class was out in the field playing tag. Catherine called to me and told me I should play; I was so excited! This was the first time they'd ever invited me to do anything with them. I ran out to the field to join them; Catherine was it. "GO!" she yelled, and she started chasing me. I'd always been a reader, not an athlete, but I ran as fast as my spindly legs would carry me. To my suprise, Catherine wasn't catching up, and I was almost all the way across the field. I looked behind me to see the whole group (led by Catherine) standing where they'd been before on the other side of the field. They were laughing at me. Jeremy was laughing too. They started to play amongst themselves again as I walked, back turned, in another direction.

New school. My grade five crush, Jimmy, was adorable and super friendly. He had blonde hair that was brighter than the sun. He didn't like me either. From what I remember, he liked April. And then he moved to Nanaimo.

At the end of grade five, after Jimmy moved (and this is where I start changing/not mentioning names! ha) I met the boy that would become my first thought for the next five years. He was dating a girl that reminded me a lot of Catherine; in looks and attitude and social status. I didn't care though; I was pretty sure I had come across the pinnacle of male beauty; he was perfect. He was tall and quiet and as cute as a buttermilk buscuit. He played hockey, too. And even if he didn't notice me, he had the nicest eyes out of any boy I had ever seen in my whole life. Why don't we call him Jason? That seems like a good name. Jason it is.

I liked Jason so much that it hurt to think about; but I thought about him all the same. Every school dance, or class trip, or group project, I knew exactly where he was and who he was talking to. I always pictured our conversations in my mind on the way to said-event. And I always imagined he was talking about me when I wasn't there. Turns out, he was. By this time I had reached my maximum potential as "class poke 'n' prod". Think back as you read this, to your grade seven or late elementary school class. There was a girl in your class, wasn't there, who was too tall and skinny, all knees and elbows, flat chested and painfully shy. I know there was, because that was me; and from what I understand, there's one in every grade school.

Despite the mass amounts of pain inflicted on me by Jason and his friends (he was the most popular boy in our grade, did I mention that?), I still found myself completely enamoured with him. Even though he once called me the ugliest girl in class (yes, to my face), even though I had heard him and his friends make jokes about me. I assumed, as I still would, that Jason actually had a really good heart and was a good person who was just confused; who would someday see the light and at least make me feel somewhat worth it. It didn't happen, but my crush continued. Do you sense a pattern?

I wish the stories stopped in elementary school, or at least after highschool. But they don't. As it turns out, in many ways I still wear the badges of half-truth given to me by the list of guys that I've liked. And in many ways, I am still the nervously awkward adolescent that I was in my youth. And as much as it pains me, I also find it quite hilarious. Normal girls' hearts flower under the eye of a beautiful man's attraction. My heart, however, curls up in fetal position and develops a quivering, panicky lip. My brain swells inside my head. I lose the ability to form sentences. My personality is replaced by The Monster of Silent Awkwardness and Serious Tones. My laugh sounds fake. My smile hides behind frozen facial features. I forget how to stand, or sit, or hold my hands. And worst of all, I am fully aware of how silly I must look, panic stricken and incapable, yet am completely incapacitated and unable to change it.

You would think that after repeating this cycle so many times I'd be immune to the folly of the Crush, or would have at least learned how to maintain composure. It hasn't happened yet.

Ladies, put your hands up: we all do this in some way or another, don't we? (I know we do, because you've all told me about them, or I have seen them). We've all got a pattern of behavior that causes us to second guess ourselves. I wonder what would happen if we stopped waiting for the idiot to strap on a pair and just LIVED instead.

Gents: this is not an invitation to ask me for coffee. You are not the crush I'm silently referring to.

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