The Question Everyone Must Ask (Please Don’t Let Me Be the Only One)

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My sister and me at Universal Studios. I was 16. Rocking the fanny pack, which was almost as awesome as Ashley’s Hanson t-shirt.

Do you ever just want to go hit your 15-year-old self over the head with a tree branch? Perhaps shouting, “Why, self, WHY?” as you do?
I’m not sure what brought this into my mind today. I have a very vivid memory, especially of moment that cause me a lot of pain when I recall them–I suppose this is the plight of most women, courtesy our little buddy, the Devil. Most of the time I chant something along the lines of, “Be ye gone, Satan. I am forgiven.” But today my mind just wondered.

I wish I could tell Libbie that, for the most part, dating in high school is a big ole waste of time and way to get your heart broken and develop a lifetime guilt issue. But I try to imagine telling 15-year-old Jessie that–when 90% of what I thought about was boys! Gah, I ruined a right many good friendships by developing interest, obsession, and then majorly screwing up by dating/not dating/telling said boy I liked him (mostly b or c…I only actually really dated one guy before my husband).
Let’s call him Bob, for disclosure’s sake. (And for those of you will know what I am talking about…let it be. Oh, and this isn’t THE Bob, just a Bob!) Bob and I were really good friends. Which, when I was 15, translated into it took a few weeks before I developed a decent crush. But this time, I managed to keep it to myself, it went away, and all was well.
Well then something happened–in the form of notes–which let Bob know that I used to like him and me know that he did like me. And it doesn’t take much for a shy, chubby, 15-year-old to become entranced with the idea that if someone likes her, maybe she does like him back…
(Where is that tree branch?)
A mushy birthday gift perpetuated the idea. No one had ever shown me romantic attention before. I’d spent years watching my friends have their first little boyfriends and sat by, feeding myself grotesque self-talk about being not good enough. I wanted to be wanted. Anyway, so we went out once. I freaked. We didn’t talk. Went back to school in the fall. Slowly, we became friends again. Fell for each other again. And all I remember really, is that I broke it off in a not-so-nice way, because we really didn’t talk again for a good two years.
It wouldn’t ever have worked out, because we had different religious beliefs. But I still feel guilty for wounding a great guy.
And that is only one of the many things on my list of Stupid Things I’ve Done. Oh, if I could do those teenage years over again. I would be SO SMART. Just like I thought I was.
Do you relate? Were you the cool chick with many men, or the extreme introverted nerd, like me?

3 thoughts on “The Question Everyone Must Ask (Please Don’t Let Me Be the Only One)

  1. Extremely introverted. I didn't date in high school. I also told myself the negative, "i'm not good enough" things.

    It didn't help that home was a painful place to be.

    But i can say that beginning to date after high school, living without family to set limits, was a disaster. I didn't have the first clue.

    But if i could go back, i wouldn't beat myself with a tree branch! I was doing that enough, as it was. I wish i could give some of the love & acceptance i needed.

    Guess i wasn't the kind to be wounding other folks.

    On the other hand, i waited a couple of years to go to college, & by then i was more mature & developed several great guy friendships. I enjoyed them so much.

  2. When i said “not the kind to wound others,” that wasn’t a judgment. It was actually a put down on myself, guess i didn’t want to be too direct, but reading this over it sounds like i was making a negative comment on your post – i was not!

  3. Oh my. You nailed some of those emotions that I’d rather not think about right on the head!
    I actually had the same HS boyfriend for 10th- 12th grade and we even dated our freshman year of college. Why did I waste so much energy on him??? I guess you just don’t know, do you? And think- it made us who we are- whether we like it or not! I’m pretty sure it molded how I think about guys, etc.
    Oh, if only we could talk to ourselves at 15. I don’t know if I would even listen to myself, though!

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