So, the good news on this question is that there is nobody currently in my life that makes me like shit, because, really life is just too short (and long) for that kind of noise.
But I have not always been so self-protective. I have one memory from high school that still makes me squirm with discomfort and shame when I think of it. It was my early fall of freshman year and I was “going with” a boy named Marco. I thought Marco was cute and nice and was THRILLED to have a boyfriend and to have survived the social apocalypse that was junior high. Marco and I even went to the homecoming dance together, where we hung out with some of his friends. The dance was Friday night and was the highlight of my budding dating life (slow dancing to Boys 2 Men, kissing during the last song, holding hands in the parking lot waiting for his dad to come pick us up…swoon).
All was well until the next Monday when one of Marco’s friends (I think his name was Chris. I am 100% sure he was a skinny pest with acne) came up to me in front of a group of guys on the JV football team and said “We were all talking about it and were wondering why Marco was going out with you because you are so ugly.” He stared at me as I stood there trying not to cry. I couldn’t even form words. I just turned and walked away as all the guys started laughing.
Marco dumped me the next day.
If that isn’t a perfect example of why being a teenage girl sucks, I don’t know what is.
The thing that kills me is that, at the time, it never occurred to me that I might not be ugly. That maybe Chris, which is cystic acne and bony frame, was trying make someone else the butt of a joke for once. That maybe Marco was a moron for dumping me. Instead I accepted as truth that I was ugly.
Oh 14 year old me, I’m sorry about that. You were actually pretty cute.