The concept of goals or purpose were always lost on me. I never had ambitions or aspired to greatness. Even if it were effortless I wouldn’t care for it. Being filthy rich would be too much pressure. I don’t understand how anyone can handle being famous. I can’t even abide paparazzi stories, they make me cringe.
I wish I were normal. It would have been nice to want to be a doctor or lawyer like all the other kids. It just didn’t appeal to me. If that was the only reason to spend 4+ extra years in school, then count me out.
My parents made enough money to have nice things, send me to private school, and owned a roof over their heads without going to college. I figured, I could have nice things and a decent house since I would never have kids. That sounded just fine to me. The simple life.
If I were lucky, I could live my life, grow old and die, without anyone realizing I was here. Make no waves, suffer no tsunamis. Don’t tempt fate, don’t get greedy, just slide through life right under the radar. As long as people are out there making waves and screaming, “Look at me!” there’s no reason for anyone to notice my ass.
I believed I was grown at 15. I learned all there was to know, and it was time to get on with my life. I could go no further with the kids at school. They had all known me for too long, I couldn’t change my personality there. I wanted to move on with life and find people who knew nothing about me.
I wanted to be the ‘nice, quiet girl no one noticed.” I didn’t want anyone to know about the loser who liked the wrong stuff and said weird things. I wanted to be polite when spoken to, but otherwise keep my sorry mouth shut.
When I couldn’t change schools, I decided to start practicing my new personality anyway. Why not? I really tried to think of a reason, but there weren’t any. I figured if I failed, no one would know I tried.
It took less than a week for my friends to start saying things like: “She’s always so quiet” and “She hardly ever talks.”
Even the bullies paid less attention to me. If I could just keep my fat mouth shut, I would stay invisible. It’s like the most pathetic super power in the world.
It still amazes me how easily my friends adapted to my new personality. It was like the person I was before that week never existed.
The first day, I kept waiting for someone to ask if I was sick or upset. I imagined different ways they would ask, and practiced answering in as few words as possible. No one did.
The second and third days were the same. It was like I wasn’t there. If I didn’t speak, no one no one spoke to me. I became fascinated with the sociological aspects of it.
This may have been my first true social experiment. It was the first time I was actively planning how to interact with others specifically to gauge their reactions.
I had contingency plans for contingencies. I knew how bad life would get if someone found out what I was doing. There are no words in the human language that could have made those heathens understand.
What started off as survival, turned into my own science project. Best part about it, this one wouldn’t make the house reek of curdled milk, and no one had to snort anything.
** Side note: I really do need to write my findings from my chocolate milk experiment. Sure it smelled bad and Mom tried to throw it away, but it was worth it. **
Sorry, as I was saying, by the end of the week, the first comments were made. I ate lunch with the same four friends everyday. We sat in the same spots, eating the same food, talking the same gossip all year.
On the 5th day of not speaking, one of the girls asked me a question. Whatever that question was, I answered with a head shake. That is when someone finally said it. “You haven’t said hardly anything today.”
I didn’t have a chance to respond. Before I could decide what to say, one of the others said, “She never talks.”
For almost five minutes, I listened as they discussed my personality. I felt the exact same feeling I expect scientists get when they see the mouse eating its cheese at the end of the maze. They talked about how I had always been a quiet girl, how I never talk unless forced.
If I hadn’t been so afraid to break the magic spell, I would have laughed. I was in a tiny town, in a tiny private school with kids I had known for over 10 years, and they thought the behavior I exhibited in the last five days were “the norm.”
** It’s so nice to tell this story to an audience who can see the humor. Normally if I try to tell it, people start interrupting to apologize halfway through. It’s not that kind of story. It’s fascinating insight to teen psychology. **
All my hard work was finally paying off. The first day had been rough. I kept having to catch myself as I would think of something to say and remember I couldn’t say it. After that, it started getting easier. It was becoming my routine. Plus, the bully break was so great I didn’t think I could ever go back now. It gave me a taste of the good life.
That Friday, listening to my “friends” talk about how quiet I am, turned into the hardest part. I had an almost overwhelming need to tell them the truth. I felt a twisted need to brag about it. I’ve made a scientific breakthrough and there was no one to be impressed by it.
My stubbornness was finally coming in handy for something. As badly as I may have wanted to brag, I couldn’t throw away all this work when it was finally paying off. If I came clean, I would never be able to get this far again.
I kept the act up for the rest of that school year, but lost it that summer. By time Junior year began, all the girls I use to hang out with belonged to different cliques. I had to see which one would let me hang out with the new group and start from scratch. Turns out it’s a lot harder to be the quiet girl when you don’t already have a clique to be the quiet girl for.
I still think it was a great social experiment. I may not know the smart person words to express all the revolutionary breakthroughs, but they’re there nonetheless. I wish I could find a psychologist who was interested so they could explain it to me.
When my new personality died, it was forgotten as quickly as it was born. Years later, when I would be brave enough to speak about it to those 4 girls from lunch, none of them remembered it happened. They apologized but who cares? I wanted details! I want inside the brains from the other half of my experiment.
I’m sure there’s a beautiful philosophical lesson to it all, but I do not possess the elegant words to do it justice. Instead of trying, I’ll just say this: Teenagers are fucking psychopaths.
Peace out imaginaries. Hang in there, each day that passes is a day closer to the end of the world as we know it. Whenever that may be.