I’ve been thinking about little Amy lately. About her outfits of matching sweatpants and sweatshirts, about her hiding behind her one best friend. Her terrible hair styling choices.
Or lack of hair brushing…
I mean look at her. She’s pretty cute. She looks a lot like this other kid I know, who I happen to think is beautiful.
I also happen to think that this person I’ve become still looks a lot like her. Which is weird for me, because I remember so little about her. I remember her having sleepovers with her best friend, enjoying school, being scared of jumping in during recess skipping sessions. I remember her riding her bike around the neighbourhood and climbing trees. I remember her adopting many Cabbage Patch Kids. I remember her being absolutely certain she was going to marry Joe from New Kids on the Block.
She met a different Joe.
I don’t remember her thinking a lot about what life had ahead. She had many different career goals – writer, teacher, lawyer, archaeologist. I’m probably missing a few.
But what about all the shyness and self doubt and fear.
I know that she felt like if she lost her best friend she wouldn’t have any friends at all. In fact, when she did lose her best friend she latched on to another girl as soon as she could. But that worked out, because that new girl was my maid of honour and continues to be an awesome part of my life. Usually she hung out with her sister and her sister’s friends – in fact I think more of my sister’s friends were invited to my wedding than my own high school friends.
When I graduated high school I wanted to leave all of that behind. I felt like I was boxed in by all of these people who had known me since kindergarten and to those kids I was always little Amy. The shy girl, the invisible girl – the one who faded into the background, had never grown up and figured out how to put herself together. The one who was scared to grow up and experiment in the ways a lot of the other kids were experimenting. Terrified of boys. Terrified of failing at life. Desperate to be smart.
I still have imposter syndrome all the time now, and I think I’m way more awesome than I ever did back then.
And sometimes I sit back and wonder what makes me dwell so much on what people might have thought of me back then. I think part of this stems from the fact that, while I left those people behind and I assume they won’t remember me, I remember them. Every time I encounter someone I remember I try to make a decision about whether to say hello, whether to reach out, what to say. Because I do remember them, I probably remember who they were friends with and what classes we had together. Not only do I remember them, but now that years have past I kind of what to know what they’re doing.
As it turns out, I grew up around a lot of really smart people. I also grew up with a lot of nice people that I’m really glad to see having happy lives and great kids.
And it’s nice because I have a pretty happy life and a really great kid.