I've never been one of the "popular" people, rarely garnering an invitation as a child to a birthday party. I was shunned for most of my school life, hardly ever making an appearance at school dances, and if I did, usually alone. I'm not ugly and I'm not antisocial - but I'm not the 'average' girl. I never have been.
What does this mean?
I don't dress the way other people dress. I have my own sense of fashion, mostly contrived of multiple styles, including those of Audrey Hepburn, Shirley Manson and the country life. It's a very strange combination, I admit. But it's MY style. Too often today we see people who dress exactly like some star or celebrity. The masses line up to purchase not just A little black dress, but THE little black dress with gray piping that was seen on Ashley Tisdale last week, or whomever they're following these days.
I don't do the things other people do. I was born an old soul. I watch old 1940's films when I'm feeling low for a pick-me-up. I don't drink to excess and I never really have been into that sort of thing. In fact, I can't stand being around drunk people. I don't do drugs of ANY sort and don't tolerate those who do. Peer pressure doesn't exist to me.
I don't watch or say or think what other people seem to think everyone should. I'm my own person. In the end, this means I'm very much alone.
I have VERY few friends, and the list diminishes exponentially as I write this, since I seclude myself away from the heartbreak and torment I feel when I'm around a bunch of people who couldn't give two shakes for me. I thought I had friends, and maybe I still do (some of them) but when so, so, so many have just faded away into their own lives, forgetting I even exist, or that I once thought of them as my BEST friend, it becomes increasingly difficult to imagine a time when I had so many friends I couldn't see them all in a month if I tried.
I've been very much alone for a very long time, but since my best friends have become nothing more than the occasional acquaintance these days, there are fewer people to talk to. Fewer hugs in my world. Fewer messages of kindness. Fewer human interactions.
There's one person in my world I see regularly. One. There's no "girls night out" for me. There's no "salon day" or a "let's go for a walk in the park today" friends. There's no "lets hang out a the beach" anymore. There's not even a "wanna grab lunch" girl time for me. There's one person in my life. ONE. The rest of the world moved on without me. The rest of the world doesn't need me. The rest of the world forgot I exist.
I was recently told I was remarkable to have lived through what I've gone through and keep smiling. Well, here's a surprise. It's not all smiles. It's sadness and depression and avoidance and loneliness and doubt and a pathetic freaking mess. That's who I am when the door is closed and I'm the only one home. That's the REAL me. That's the "me" that gave up. That's the "Me" nobody gets to see. That's the forgotten girl.
That's what I have become. The Forgotten Girl.
Darkness loomed over me in the hallway. I'd been leaning against the wall, but my strength was beginning fail me finally. It had been too long, to many days, too little sleep. I was amazed I had survived this long. I had no idea how I would keep going.
The world had gone to Hell outside, and somehow I found myself standing in the hallway of an ex-boyfriends home. It was all but abandoned now. The home once teeming with life and people felt empty; abandoned. Tears burst from my eyes and silent sobs shook my aching, tired body. With my back against the wall dividing the hallway from the kitchen, I began to slide. Slowly at first, my knees finally buckled and I collapsed in a heap on the cold hardwood floor, hugging my knees.
I thought about all the people who had died already as I stared at the wood grain in the floor. I wondered if I would ever again see anyone I knew, or even if I would survive another week. The world was ugly now, people had progressed past killing one another for water into killing one another just to have less competition for survival in the world. I stared at the mud on my shoes and ankles as I asked myself over and over in my mind why it was I had decided to come to this particular location. I knew I wouldn't be welcome there. I knew they would have turned me away if they hadn't been gone already. At one time, I had adopted them as though they were my own family. But that was long ago. I was a stranger to them now - another bit of competition for survival. I was another obstacle, another easy target. I meant nothing to my ex, and I was pretty positive I would mean nothing to the rest of the family. Just another mouth to feed.
But the door had been open and I knew the family was long gone. They had packed up their RV's with the dogs and survival supplies and were gone. They were probably hundreds of miles away by now, avoiding the main roads, searching for isolation, escaping the madness. They were doing what I knew I should have done weeks ago. They had gotten out. And with them disappeared my last inkling of hope that I would survive that night.
I hadn't seen my ex's nephew in a few years, but without looking, I knew it was him. He always towered over everyone at well over 6' tall, and yet he walked with a quiet grace so rare in the noise of the world. His heart was just as tender as his steps, and as he crouched low to put a kind hand on my shoulder, I realized I hadn't known another human's touch in months.
I had no friends or family. I had nobody in the world I could rely on but myself. The only souls I'd known any form of love from were my furry companions - two cats I lived with before everything went to Hell. But here was Jeff, offering a hand of friendship, a touch of compassion and caring in this world where such things had completely disappeared.
I leaned back against the wall, not wanting to look him in the eyes. The relief I felt at knowing there was still kindness and life in this world was too much to keep in. In a maddening moment of great depression and exaltation, I burst into fat cries of joy and sorrow. My lips curled back in a childlike grimace filled with the confusion and pain that came with emotional outbursts. He put his arm around me, I collapsed my head into his shoulder and sobbed great, increasing, hulking, massive sobs. And Jeff, my former boyfriends nephew, did nothing but hold my shoulders and let me cry.
People surprise me.
I was paid a huge compliment today as one of my favorite captains and I stood outside a CRJ900, chatting.
I was flabbergasted. I had no idea what to say. I couldn't even muster a "thank you." Instead I just stood there giggling like a jackass. I tried, unsuccessfully, to steer the conversation away from the subject at hand, but ended up only able to focus on another portion of the same conversation, still focusing on me.
I can't begin to explain how uncomfortable I made myself feel. It wasn't the Captain, it was me. Apparently I still need to learn how to take a compliment.
Only - it wasn't a compliment on something I had achieved. It was a compliment on something I had survived. How do you gracefully take something like that? I was just lucky to survive. I wasn't amazing for having done it. I was just lucky.
But, for what it's worth, thank you.
People surprise me.
Sometimes, I surprise me too.
True story. Happened today.
I had actor Tommy Lister on my flight today. VERY nice guy. Super funny, incredibly friendly - everything I would hope to find in someone who notoriously plays a BAD guy in films.
And at the end of the flight when I threatened to have an insolent jerk removed from the plane in handcuffs if he didn't comply with my requests and stop giving me attitude, Tommy turned around and looked at the guy. He said, and I quote, "Good for you, Baby! I don't know what took you THIS long!!"
The insolent said not a word but cowered in his seat, avoiding the gaze of the 6' 5" former pro Wrestler, who then proclaimed to be my personal body guard.
Imagine that. The President of the Galactic Empire in Fifth Element was my personal body guard today.
Who all can say they had a President AS their body guard!!
Tommy Lister, wherever you are, thank you for making my day!
(By the way, other passengers cheered and applauded when I threatened the use of police for this mans attitude and behavior in general. He really was THAT BAD.)
So don't forget to vote for your favorite redheaded flight attendant! You know, the one who had a famous body guard!
Now, THIS is transformation.
I'm a Flight Attendant in the USA, based in Los Angeles. I've been a ginger since infancy, though I've tried out going blonde and brunette - and even a short spell with jet black hair. They all did different things for me (the black made me look like Bettie Page) but nothing has ever been as striking as RED hair.
However, "striking" isn't always a good thing and I was venomously tortured as a kid. I had knives pulled on me in school, gangs of girls would corner me in the halls and relentlessly poke, prod, punch and jab me. Boys would constantly ask the "carpet and drapes" question. Once, a girl named Shirelle (about 6'2" in the 8th grade) used my body to break a Coke machine in the hallway at school.
I've since learned how to OWN my hair, but it took the very real challenge of cutting it all off and starting all over before I could do it. It seemed with each inch that grew, so did my confidence.
On a side note:
Perhaps then you could help me out. I just entered my first ever pageant. I just entered a pinup competition. The 20 people with the top votes will be in a stage pageant in Denver this December. It's the weekend before my birthday and it would be an incredible birthday present. So if you guys would be so kind as to walk on over there with your fingers and click the like button on the photo, it would be one more vote towards my birthday present. Thank you!!
What happens if someone says you lack empathy or compassion? Does it change the fact that you have empathy and compassion for others?
What happens if people tell you that you're being antisocial by not allowing someone you don't know to call you a friend? Does it mean that you've become antisocial?
What happens when a bully calls you mean? Does that mean you've become one of them?
It changes nothing about you when someone says something about you. The only thing that can change anything about you...
.. IS you.
Don't buy into what other people say. Know who you are and stick to that knowledge. Knowing who you are when others don't, not letting them change you to suit their own needs; that is true power in this world.