Thursday, 29 August 2013

opening drawers

If you've been following my posts you'll probably know that I'm a big fan of Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim. She recently published a post on 50 things to blog about, which I found totally inspiring. The first thing on the list was 'That thing that happened in high school that pretty much changed your life forever', so I had a think about it, and decided that there was actually a thing that happened while I was in my secondary school building which had a massive impact on my life.  What was it?

I opened a drawer.

At the time I was a fairly standard dork. Straggly blondish hair, nasty school uniform, a 'librarian' enamel badge pinned to my cardi.  I didn't want to be in
If you want to channel your inner
dork, this badge is
 for sale onebay for a mere £3!
I'm tempted.  Are you?
the 'in crowd', but I wasn't sure I wanted to be so far out of it either. I had a fair whack of self-loathing going on.  I had a crush on a boy who brought a briefcase to school (there was only one, so I hope no-one I went to school with will read this and uncover my shameful secret), and I would never have had the courage to do anything about it. I was bullied, so I would hide away. I didn't like to go out in the playground, so I stayed in the library, watching the 6th formers, sorting cards (no bar codes back then), and trying to find books that predated girls' entry to our grammar school.

One day, while 'innocently'/nosily tidying up I opened a drawer in the librarian's desk and found a confiscated stash of magazines.

Not that kind of magazines!

They were Raw magazines. I mean the rock music magazines, packed with pictures of long haired young men dripping sweat and talking about blow jobs, beer and heroin.  Hmm.  Maybe they were that kind of magazine after all.

I kept sneaking them out of the drawer and looking through them surreptitiously, until one day I got caught, by the owner. He was in the upper sixth, He was huge, and he was spotty. He was not the lanky long-haired dreamboat I'd been hoping for.  However, I wondered if he might have well hidden depths.  

It was a while before I'd have enough courage to find out, but that's when I started.  I kept up the self-loathing, but looked into new ways to hide. I found that dyeing your hair, wearing makeup and black, and hanging out with boys with long hair and tight trousers is a really good way to get a bad reputation fast, without any pesky facts getting in the way. I found that that reputation would save you from bullying, and help you make friends and meet people.  Maybe not people you'd want to introduce to your Granny (there was an unfortunate incident with Alice Fudge, High Priest of Satan and aforementioned Granny, but that belongs elsewhere).

Me - see, it wasn't all black!
I discovered that I could talk to people when I wore my new disguise. I also discovered the wonderfully horribly sexist and sexy world of rock. Marvellously funny (and often slightly dim) glammies, and sad, pretentious dark-eyed goths, who will always feel like family.

I feel that the black was always there for me, waiting for me to take it, and that if it hadn't been this way, it would have been another, but it was opening that drawer that led to my shedding my dork skin and become the girl in black, smoking behind the bike sheds with the long haired boy (by the way kids, smoking is a really bad idea, and you can't even buy Sobranies now). It might not have been the best plan, but I had a lot of fun.

Did you have a high-school/secondary school moment that changed your life?

This was the first post in my series inspired by Fat Mum Slim's post on 50 things to blog about.  You can find the rest of them here.