Through out my childhood I have always been taunted by other girls for not being just like them. In kindergarten I remember sitting in the car with my mom telling her how earth was going to blow up in a few thousands of years. Other girls my age were pre-occupied not with the inevitability of earth’s demise, but of their hair and fingernails, fantasizing of living forever in a castle with prince charming, who used to be a frog before true love’s first kiss. And they thought I was weird. In first grade, I spent most of my time making books. It was my dream to become the youngest published author. For about a month, I worked on a book about dinosaurs. I even drew pictures that showed the dinosaur’s bones, and the size of their eggs compared to their bodies. It was at least over fifty notebooks pages. I felt very accomplished when it was done, but showed no one.
As I was talking about Al Gore and Bill Clinton in 2nd grade, shooting out random facts of both, I sat alone in my conversations, talking to an invisible being that was actually interested in my babblings. I would sometimes shoot off to other non-related quotes and facts. “Do you know where they got the term babbling?” I would say to myself. I always answered “no” so that I could explain out loud my intelligence. I would observe the other girls in the middle of the classroom while I sat in the back corner talking to myself. They actually had people to talk to. They actually had friends. They would sit, braiding each others hair, and gossiping about someone named Britney Spears. I always thought she was made-up… like Barbie.
In 4th grade I was sent away once a week from my elementary school to take a class at the high school. While the other girls played at recess and chased boys, I was in a classroom being taught 9th grade Algebra. It was safe to say I was the only nine-year-old in the classroom.
That semester at the highs school I was also taught basic Latin and Pig Latin. I have still not found use for either in daily conversations, which I now have with people, other than with myself, but it still seems cool to tell people I was in a Latin class before I turned ten. (Though no one I tell believes me)
That year, a few months after my tenth birthday, I won 1st place at the sate-wide quiz bowl. (I still have the trophy to prove it!) It was good to feel like a winner for once, I now felt like I had the upper hand with the other girls.
In 5th grade, the other girls fainted and lost their lunches after attempting to dissect owl regurgitation. By that time, I had already dissected one baby shark, two frogs, and hand-full of owl puke, and a house-cat. And I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever done. I did all of that in the anatomy and marine biology classes I was in.
In 6th grade a pack of girls laughed at me because I did not know who Brad Pitt was. I went home crying. After looking him up in one of my mom’s old magazines I went to school with high hopes. I told the girls that I had known who he was all along, but for some reason I drew a blank the day before. They started talking about how cute he was and asked for my opinion. I gave them the truth, shrugging my shoulders a bit as I spoke.
“I don’t see why everyone says that… he looks like a normal guy to me.”
I called home that day complaining on a stomach ache so I could get away from them. After saying Brad Pitt just a normal guy, similar to the boys in our class, the girls went around the whole school saying that I had told them Brad Pitt was as ugly as I was. No one could believe I would compare Brad Pitt to my own misfortunate looks. But I didn’t feel ugly… until then.
To this day, though I live hundreds of miles away from my hometown and those horrid little girls, I am reminded of them anytime I step foot into a grocery store. As I make my way down the line, magazine covers of drunken Paris Hilton, pregnant Jamie-Lynn Spears, and Hannah Montana star Mylie Cyrus laugh and taunt me. No where do I see the red-bordered-TIME magazine or Newsweek, which is why I believe in education. I believe that education will stick far longer than beautiful bodies. As wrinkles begin to crater themselves on faces, lips and breasts start to go with the flow of gravity, and as butts and tummies get bigger, education will always be there. I believe the upper hand is still in the favor of the knowledgeable and the ones who are willing to learn, no matter which magazine is featured before I hit the cash register standing in line.