Growing up in a large school system, you become just a number in a class of 30+ students. Your teachers know your name, but not who you are. You spend an entire day just waiting to be noticed, but there’s no time. You aren’t the squeaky wheel. You are a folder in the records room of PV Elementary, eventually moved to the next building as you progress.
The social dynamic isn’t much different. With so many blond haired, blue eyed, stylishly dressed girls, there’s no room for the tomboy. Your hair is too dark, too full, too oily because you hate putting your face under running water for fear of drowning. You have skinned knees and a fort in the forest behind your house. So you spend afternoons hiding with your basset hound, letting him pull you down a hill while sitting on a skateboard. Never minding the road rash you’ll have should you lean too far to the right, spilling onto the asphalt.
You spend weekends at home, while sleepovers happen down the street. You don’t get to tell scary stories, play Truth or Dare. And, if you’re being honest, Truth becomes boring because you aren’t like the other girls. Dare is way for them to taunt you, convince you to do the mean spirited things they’ve concocted and will snicker about in the hallway on Monday. So you spend the weekend in your room, listing to records and writing “Dear Diary….”
Eventually you move. Small town, small school, nice people. It’s presented as a fresh start. It is a fresh start. There’s no record of your public humiliations and social mishaps. You get to be someone new. Someone cool. You get invited to parties. You have sleepovers. You join a team. Play a sport. And there you are. Not just a number in a folder in the office. Your jersey has your name on it. You have a friend to show you makeup. Proper styling. The beauty and value of Aquanet. You’re pictured more than once in the yearbook. There’s a record that you existed. Not just as a number. You have a name. You were here.