Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wanting attention, but friends not so much

When I was growing up I always wanted to be the center of attention. If I was not I would be very sad. Sometimes I would even create situations that would make me the center of attention. It didnt matter if the attention was good or bad, I just had to have it. It goes back to my feeling that I was not important or that I was not as good as other people.

A lot of times I did manage that center of attention thing. In school I always wanted to be the teachers pet. In the 5th and 6th grade I considered being the teachers pet one of the biggest accomplishments in my life. At least up to that moment it was. I also had an amazing understanding of why.

I came along when desegragation of the school system was going on in the south. The way they did it in my town was they divided the neighborhoods up by saying one side of the street would go to the "white" school and one side of the street would go to the "black" school. (It is so weird to me now.)

This was a huge deal in our town. I am thankful to say my parents made the transition for me and my brother and sister very positive. I didnt understand racism. For one I was young and another it wasnt discussed in our house that I knew of. But I did understand that the school I was going to might cause me to not be as good as the other people there because I would be different. See I was on the side of the street that had to go to the "black school." (But we have to remember that once the division was enforced the schools would not be considered black or white) A lot of the adults in our town were very negative about this and even put fear into the minds of the children. I look back now and know my parents handled this well and I am proud of them for it.

But I went to the school for the first time in my 5th year. My teacher was a very short, stout black women. I fell in love with her and as always it was a must that she loved me the most. So after a lot of charm and even some tantrums I became the teachers pet. In the 60"s with desegregation and a lot of turmoil here I was a white child the teachers pet in the "black" school. I thought I was a queen.

I did the same in the sixth grade. I was important and I was very happy about it. It didnt matter that I was not really popular with the kids as long as the adults in my life thought I was the shit.

All throughout my school years I was never very popular with people my own age. I was always kind of an outsider. It got really hard in high school. That was when we first had to have different teachers for each subject instead of the one teacher we would have in elementary school. So it was harder to be a teachers pet and even harder to make friends. My high school years were very difficult times for me. There were tons more students but there werent tons more friends for me. I didnt go to the prom or dances of any kind. I never went to the football games. I hated doing this type of stuff because I didnt want to take the chance of being left out of all the kids having there own good time that I most likely wouldnt be a part of. I think that is one of the reasons I didnt want to go to college. I figured it would be even worse there.

I know now that I caused most of this myself. I was the one very unwilling to try to interact with people. It was just scary. And it was so hard because I hated how I felt. The doctor calls it Borderline Personality Disorder. It causes me not to form relationships well. That explains a lot of things. I wish I had found this out before I was 40.

I dont feel sorry for myself about all this anymore. I understand it better now. It was just hard at the time for me. And God knows it was probably hard on my parents. I did some crazy things to get attention at home. One day I may write about some of them. It will make for a long post.


Linda said...

This sounds a little bit like me growing up. I had a very good friend in my neighorhood, but I really loved spending time with the old folks in the neighborhood. I felt so safe with them. There were about three sets of old people that I was constantly visiting. I'd sit in the yard with them and just "be".I'd watch them vacuum or do whatever chores they had to do. It was so much more fun for me to spend time with them, than my peers because they were so kind and gentle and didn't have any expectations of me. Not to mention they loved that attention that I gave them. It made them feel valuable, just as they made me feel valuable.When we moved, I cried harder for the fact that I would'nt see Agnes and Jalmer, than I did for my friend Joanie.

Denise said...

Aww Lynn great post.