My upcoming book “Role Model” is a self biography about finding your own identity, living with insecurities and complexes, and trying to come to terms with the fact that a human being has many sides, and that these aren’t necessarily in harmony with each other. Last but not least, it’s a book about becoming a role model, and what kind of responsibilities you then have for the choices you take in your own life. It’s far from done, but I wanted to share chapter with you.
One of the girls on my gymnastics team was celebrating her birthday, and I was invited. It was a Saturday and I was actually invited. For once I didn’t have to push myself on everyone else. I was allowed to come. They invited me, all by themselves. I was so happy I could have raised the flag that morning.
I curled my hair and I put my makeup on. I fixed up my false lashes and put on a sparkly pink lipgloss from Viva La Diva. Budget-lips. Somehow I ended up wearing three bras for the occasion as well. You could barely see them under the dress that fit me so nicely around them. It was difficult to breathe with tje multiple layers, but who cares as long as they look big, right? I didn’t care. There’s no diagnose for that kind of thinking, but it was twisted no doubt.
When I arrived at the party, which was one of my first parties ever, Julie opened the door. It sounds cliche, but she was the prettiest girl on my cheer squad. Her mouth opened and revealed a huge smile when she saw me. A smile that was contagious and so real. I didn’t smile back because I didn’t like my teeth, lips or how my nose looked when I opened my mouth. I wish I smiled back.
I sat down in a chair in her living room. I was late, and the others were already socializing. Playing. Drinking. I drank, and I drank and I drank. I couldn’t speak, it was so strange. I felt like everyone thought I would be the type to talk a lot. But I didn’t. When someone complimented my curves, I was happy. But the fact that those curves didn’t really exist was always on the back of my mind. They were just several layers of underwear and stuffing. Anybody could do that.
One glass. Three glasses. Ten glasses.
Even though I was getting drunk and I had problems focusing, I couldn’t speak. If I was asked questions, my answers would be short and vague. I wanted to ask back. I wanted to ask where Sigrid got her top. I wanted to ask what Julie thought of our math teacher. Or if we could listen to my favorite song. Conversation came so naturally to everyone else.
I shut up and the world was spinning. The boys arrived, and I could barely tell them apart. I knew they were much older, and I knew they went to the same high school. But they all seemed pretty similar, with their Ralph Lauren polo shirts and love for Kings of Leon. Not surprisingly, they started playing Kings of Leon quickly after they arrived. The song was called “Sex on Fire”, and I knew the lyrics. I wanted to sing. The others did. I listened, and smiled with my mouth closed and my eyes firmly planted on the ground. Even fairly intoxicated, with a lot on my heart and a lot I wanted to say, with a fairly nice singing voice and three sets of bras on, I couldn’t sing. It was like a bad movie where I was the insecure loser who can’t talk to anyone, yet found themselves at the popular kids’ party. Only in the movies that loser always opens their mouth eventually, or does something drastic and then get attention, or the loser turns out to actually be really hot and they end up as one of the popular kids after all. But I promise you that the loser in the movies doesn’t wear three bras, they’re not ashamed of their smile because their lips are too small. I could have said something smart. I was smart. But I was insecure. And this wasn’t a movie, it was life.
Eventually one of the guys pulled out a guitar. I wanted to joke about it. We all know that guy who pulls out his guitar at 3 AM at parties and tries to serenade all the drunk girls. People started leaving and I grew increasingly uncomfortable with the shrinking crowd and hookups that were happening all over the house. I should have been at home. Instead I was sitting here thinking about how I hated that guy with the guitar. He was just there acting like he was better than everyone. He went after the prettiest and drunkest girl at the party. The vodka had made her so vulnerable to his cheap tricks. It was all so obvious, a cliche, and I started feeling like life was already so predictable. I’d spend a big part of my youth at parties like these, with people like him, and I wasn’t gonna say anything.
Luckily some people are actually capable of surprises.
“How long have you been playing the guitar for?”
There. The shock. The words came out of my mouth. Silently, but clearly. Really I wanted to say “Come on, buddy. You’re really reaching here.”, but instead I asked about his background, and his below-average at best guitar skills.
He looked at me. Not just him, but everyone was looking at me.
One second. Three seconds. Ten seconds.
It could have been an hour. Silence. Before everyone looked away again. I didn’t exist. He didn’t answer.
But strangely enough, that was the moment I felt the strongest. I felt that life was everything but predictable. And that one day, this boy would be asking me something.
And I was right. Because he did. Six years later he asked me to share one of his songs on my blog to my rapidly growing audience.
I didn’t answer.