THE OUTSIDERS Bullying

ImageSHY…And Mom Dressed Me Funny
I grew up in Palos Verdes, California. It’s a very exclusive community. Back in those days, it was “restricted” i.e. all white. My family is Swedish, white as you can get. But that didn’t do me any good there. Half of the kids there were blonde. I was exceedingly shy, tongue tied and awkward. That didn’t go over well. And my frugal mom dressed me in a white shirt and a black skirt, same thing to school every day, with the fashion conscious rich girls had nice dresses. And the home perms, don’t get me started. My hair could be bushy and crooked. In those days, (the 50’s) straight hair was unacceptable, the other girls went to hairdressers to get lush curly hair. On the weekends mom dressed me in dresses she made herself, which, actually, weren’t bad.
     Bullying can be very subtle. Exclusion can be very painful. I tried to sit at the popular girls lunch table. They all got up and moved. I learned quickly I was excluded and got together with the other nerdy girls. We had our own own table at the far side of the lunch yard. Not so bad after all, we were very loyal to each other, and I was pleased to have the company of a couple of the girls with the highest grades in school, like Linnie, who was so pale and frail, she had been very ill. I got very good grades myself, and of course that didnt help socially. And we included the girl with the lowest grades, Shari, who wasn’t really dumb, but a little disturbed. She told preposterous lies. And there was Francis, the daughter of an unpopular English teacher, possibly the homliest girl in school.
     Maybe the extreme shyness I suffered from would be diagnosed as something or other these days. But I’m glad I didn’t get medicated as a child. On looking back at old pictures, I was a pretty little girl, but I had absolutely no concept of that. I thought I was terribly plain.
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