Let me start off by making one thing perfectly clear. I love SD’s (My fiancé) family. They are all wonderful people who have welcomed me with open arms. That being said, my post:
I was never popular in school. I wasn’t lucky enough to be a nerd, but instead I was just decent at school and weird. Middle school in general was not the favorite time in my life. Barring band and track (which helped me find the friends I did have during my last years of mandatory school) I spent all of my time with my nose stuck in some book or another, trying to be as unobtrusive to the outside world as possible.
Those days are thankfully gone. I have since garnered another layer of self-confidence that I often wish I could have had during those dark days. However, this past weekend, I was reminded of such days in the most unexpected of places.
SD has a mother. SD’s mother has a sister. SD’s mother’s sister has a daughter. Which would make her my…cousin-in-law-to-be? She’s eight years old. She’s always been somewhat of a brat, as kids are wont to be at that age. So we’re at the Grandparent’s for Easter. We’re all hanging out in the living room, and in comes in my cousin-in-law-to-be. She immediately begins showing off her new outfit and Tinkerbell necklace to Kelsey (SD’s sister.) and then describing the other Tinkerbell items she has acquired. She makes her rounds, and as a normal female when presented with a young child showing off a possession, I appropriately gush over said item.
And she gives me this look. The look that says, “Oh my Gawd, why are you talking to me, do you know who I am?” If you’ve ever been an unpopular kid in school, you probably know this look. Perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of said look. That one look, however brief, given to me by an eight-year-old child, immediately took me back to those days in middle school when I was a self-conscious of my lisp and so desperate to be accepted yet shunned by nearly everyone in the popular crowd for not being ‘cool’ enough.
I brushed it off, telling myself that I’d just imagined it. We go on with the Easter proceedings. Both cousins-in-law-to-be (being the only children young enough) go out for the easter egg hunt. Once that’s done we all gather for the meal, and the cousin-in-law-to-be sticks her finger in something or other being set out on the table and licks her finger. She is immediately reprimanded by her mother, (Who is amazingly nice, and funny and a pleasure to be around.) and I see the look again. Not exactly the same, more of a, “You are going to regret talking to me like that.” look. I was completely shocked.
Right in front of me was a budding “popular girl”. Not one of the followers. She will be one of the leaders. One of those who people makes everyone who doesn’t make the cut’s lives miserable for as long as their hormonal insecurity allows them no self-respect. One of those people who believes she is entitled to things simply because she exists, and that the rest of the world are simply peons that exist to serve her. I saw all of this in an eight-year-old child!
And I immediately wonder on the Nature vs. Nurture argument again. Thinking on the article I read on Penny Arcade. I mean really, what do you do if your child turns out like that?