Be Your Own Person: I move to Colorado Springs and Learn Who I Am (somewhat)

Daily Prompt The Outsiders Tell us about the experience of being outside, looking in — however you’d like to interpret that.

“Hello class. This is Martha and she just moved here from Nebraska.”

You probably don’t know what that means so I’ll tell you. It means it is October or November (don’t recall) 1966 and you’re standing in front of a bunch of 9th graders who don’t know you. You’re wearing white crew socks and loafers. Most of the girls are in nylons — no, not pantyhose. They hadn’t arrived in the local Walgreens yet.

“I would like someone to step up and show Martha around and make her feel welcome.”

What THAT means is that you get to stand there in your crew socks and see a bunch of kids look down at their desks.

“Becky, how about you?”

That means you get to watch a gawky tall big nosed bespectacled girl (a cranelike girl) stand up reluctantly and shuffle to the front.

“Thanks, Becky. Take Martha with you to lunch today and show her around. Martha, take the empty seat next to Becky.”

The only good thing about that is that it’s in the back of the room.

You go home and tell your mom you need nylons. Your mom is shocked. “Not at your age! I don’t want you growing up so fast!” But your Aunt Kelly understands and shows up on the weekend (the family is still moving in; she’s driven down from Denver to help) with your cousin’s old garter strap, a panty girdle and some hose.

And so began the great misery of female clothing and life as a new kid, The Outsider..

It won’t help that your little brother IS a freak and gets beaten up every day after school, beaten up even by girls. You have to step in which is costly in terms of nylons. It won’t help that you’re smarter than average or that you were popular in your Nebraska junior high — class president! or that you were still in the throes of your first crush from which you were so rudely ripped away, just before 9th grade homecoming. Then, of course, the unpredictable happens and in Civics class (which doubles as sex-ed) the teacher shows a film about VD and during this film you pass out, taking down the very heavy steel and formica desk on which you sit. Not just your desk, but the desk next to yours as well. You’re known forever after as “The chick who passed out during the VD film in Civics class.”

In later years, however, you’ll get it. You’ll realize that those months of being The Outsider were important in forming the person you are today. You’d conform if you could, but you can’t. Living through that 9th grade year set you free.

The following song says it, but it’s not for everyone.


6 thoughts on “Be Your Own Person: I move to Colorado Springs and Learn Who I Am (somewhat)

    • I try all the time — doesn’t happen. For years I was labeled a rebel. So wrong. Sheeple. I have also realized they can’t help what they do, either.

  1. Oh my goodness. This made me laugh so hard, I scared the cats that were sleeping on the bed. No, I did not laugh about attempting to fit in. It was passing out during the VD film. I just could not help it. Martha you are a hoot without trying.

    I was twice an outside in first grade. But that’s too long and too painful to wrote about- maybe some day I will. I hated every little bastard that called me names.

    • But now you can call them bastards! 🙂 Yeah, nothing normal ever happens to me. I was seriously nauseated by the photos of tongues and lips with syphilis — so I fainted. Good movie for persuading kids not to ride in convertibles with women wearing red lipstick though.

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