Monday, January 3, 2011

Friend List;

I remember when I was in elementary school, I did not have very many friends. I had the token few, but for the most part, I was a bit of a nerd. And by nerd, I do not mean the artfully endearing nerds of today. I mean an actual nerd. Ugly and awkward and social unstable. I was shy and obsessed with cats to the point that I preferred to speak to them instead of humans. And yes, I would speak to them through meowing only. My parents were even contacted by the principle in order to stop me from bringing my stuffed cats to class, as well as meowing in response to questions posed by me teacher. I just didn't understand how to be a normal kid.

I began taking Irish Dancing when I was in grade five, and I got to know more people. I still didn't have friends, but I was aware of people outside of my classroom and elementary school as a whole. Some of the girls that I danced with were in completely different schools, and two of them were even starting high school! I felt like I could pretend these people were my friends because no one I actually knew would know the difference. If anyone asked, I could pretend that they were close friends because there was no way that anyone could test the validity of the statement. I wish that it only went as far as a lie to the public, but at some point I started lying to myself. I started to actually believe that the people in my dance class were my good friends, even though I knew in reality that they weren't.

I remember that I owned one of the fuzzy blue keychain books that were sold at Ardene or Claire's. They were really popular when I was little, and I remember saving my money to get one for myself. I guess you could argue that it was my first journal, although I didn't write very many important things in there. At one point, I wrote a list of all of my friends in this little book. I obviously, in my delusional state, recorded all of the girls in the dance class so that the list would stretch longer than three names. I was proud when I completed the list, but as I was admiring it, one of the "cooler" girls in my class snatched the book from me. She saw the list of names and the decorative title that I had put at the top of the page, "Cassie's Friends".

I discovered that day that more people in my class had found friendship outside of our elementary school. It turned out that many of the girls in my classroom knew the girls in my dance class. I was faced with the harsh reality of a shortened friends list.

Although this was a difficult time, I can't help but look back on it and smile. Back then, a list of friends was pretty corny. Something that no one really had to record. But today, everyone seems to have one. Facebook gives every opportunity to gloat about the amount and quality of your friendships with other people. And there are still people who are acting the way that I did when I was in grade five - adding people to their friend's list that they don't actually know in any other reality besides that of the internet.

Maybe I wasn't so weird after all.

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