CityBeat’s Living Out Loud – Cincinnati Blog











{November 30, 2006}   The Kids We Ignored

lonely-child.jpgI got to thinking recently about those kids in grade school that everyone ignored. You know the ones…at recess, they sat alone in an imaginary world, as if it wasn’t bothering them to be alone. And maybe it wasn’t. One of these people, Cindy (name changed), was part albino. Her eyes were so sensitive to light that she always squinted. Nearly blind, she had to study in class with an overhead projector. Her eyes were so see-through blue, they looked like water. Her hair and skin was so white that it blended together. At recess, Cindy would slowly peel an orange, acting like she was busy, always staring at the ground.

A few years ago, I went to an animal hospital in Amelia to purchase a kitten. I was in the waiting room with my new animal, when the vet tech came in. It was Cindy, with long, white-blonde hair, flawless skin, and her sight was fine. Perhaps, she’d had laser treatment, but no projector, no glasses, nothing. She was beaming with rosy cheeks and gorgeous enough to model. She had beauty, a good job, and a large ring on her left hand. We hugged, catching up.

Another one was Henry (name changed). I went to a Methodist church growing up, even though I wasn’t Methodist (long story). Anyway, in bible study, Henry was such a distraction that he always got in trouble, often kicked out. Sometimes, he’d just leave and run away. Everyone complained about him, and parents called him a nuisance. All the girls thought he was “gross.”

When I was about 20, I ran into Henry at Perkins. He was built like a movie star, and so incredibly handsome, most girls couldn’t even look him in the eye. His jaw was chiseled and cut, more attractive than any actor I’d seen. We went out once, and everywhere around, when he smiled, girls smiled and giggled. It was so obvious it was funny. Then we stopped at White Castle, and Henry stacked the boxes on the dash in a pyramid like a 12 year old, and I started thinking, now there’s the Henry I know.

My point is…one never knows how people might turn out, and if I could go back, I’d say hey, Cindy, what’s up, in the middle of recess, and have a chat with her, and maybe peel the orange for her. It was so hard for her back then, literally. Here’s to those forgotten ones, the nerds and loners and rebels, or the shy ones who got overlooked (I fall into that category somewhere). And here’s to Henry and Cindy. If I forgot to tell you back then, I’m glad to know you.

C.A. MacConnell

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Steven says:

I guess I was one of those kids, an outcast so to speak. In high school I had no body to hang out with was always by myself. I think it still effects me to this day. I have a few friends but for the most part I have gotten use to being alone.



Babble On says:

Yeah, when I was a kid I was skinny as hell with no figure at all. Today, I’m a rock star!!



Karen says:

I was pretty much full of myself in high school and I remember the wallflowers that I made fun of. I’m older and wiser now and wish I could take all of it back. My only excuse is I was a kid.



Marilyn says:

Wow, thanks CA. In school, I was not just painfully shy, but agoraphobic. Only, of course, I didn’t know that term back then.

I genuinely thought I was stupid and that every last kid there was better, smarter, and more gifted than I.

I did develop a small circle of friends in high school. Actually, I didn’t have a clue back then, but I was pretty cool. I wish I had known…



Polly says:

A well written, touching post.



C.A. MacConnell says:

I was the quiet, watcher type, blending nicely into walls, studying people, constantly making mental notes. I wasn’t cool. I wasn’t an outcast. I fell into weird middle ground. Sometimes I hung out w/ the cool people, smoked and went to high school bands. Sometimes, I studied. Sometimes, I hung out with headbangers and went to Pantera shows. I had many costumes. I knew many, but none well. I felt more connected to dogs, horses and fields.



Eric says:

I’m from Indiana where high school basterball is king. I could never play the game so I was the outcast. To this day, I can’t bare to watch the game.



Barbara says:

Regrets are going to many if we allow ourselves to feel guilt over what we need as kids. I was mean as hell to many when I was a kid and felt bad about it for a long time – but at the age of fifty, I had to let it go.



Heather says:

C.A.! It’s been waaay too long since you posted.

In the many, many, elementary schools I went to around the country, I was the painfully shy kid who drew pictures in the dirt during recess. I thought I was stupid and ugly. Some teachers thought I was stupid, others thought I was brilliant.

By high school, I realized I was smart, but my social life changed very little except my disdain for others was mistaken for shyness. I was never a reject, exactly, people tried to be my friend. I had a few adult friends in high school (which is always trouble).

I was always nice to the loser kids, which was a problem because they would get clingy, and I’m inherently anti-social. I was never mean, save for a few times in elementary school, which I regret.

Just out of curiosity, how did your albino friend stop being albino?



Heather says:

P.S. The “disdain for others” was teenage phase. I’m still anti-social, but I have nothing but goodwill and fuzzy thoughts for those around me (I love to chat, but I don’t want to hang out).



numb says:

you’re all still outcasts and losers.



Heather says:

We love you too, numb.

You’re such a sweetheart.



hard as nails says:

this posts today makes me think of danny madison this rut in high school who i made life miserable more. i wish i could kind of take it back, but hell at the time it was fun.



Bitch from Price Hill says:

I’ve always had my looks and I like to tell myself I still do but I remember being mean and making fun of the “plain” girls. That was it was – mean and I still know a few of them and some years back I told them I was sorry for my behavior.

You know, you’re a kid and you don’t think but I like to think I tried to make it right.



Jeff- or-ly says:

I felt more connected to dogs, horses and fields

Is CA saying she’s a cross between a dog and horse??????Just Kidding!!! HA!!



Jean says:

I enjoyed this post today. These are the kind of posts you should be doing instead of running down Cincinnati or this stupid LOL Girl stuff. I’m sure tomorrow it will be back to the normal junk.



Karen @ the hood says:

With me growing up it wasn’t so much getting made fun of because that’s sort of easy for me to take. Where I’ve lived all my life and that’s the hood, as a kid and even as an adult you have the fear of getting beat up, raped or even killed – so for me, nasty words just roll off.



Matt says:

Jean,

Try to keep in mind that variety is the spice of life, ya know? Even when you say something positive, you bring up the negative.



numb says:

so for me, nasty words just roll off.

karen,
your sister wears army boots.



Marilyn says:

numb, my daughter wears army boots… Not sure where the insult is.

But we love ya.



Matt says:

Hey asshole numb

I would suggest you not pick on Karen here because she has a lot of friends. I’ll track your sorry ass down and make you accountable for your words – got it, chicken face?



Barry says:

I like what Karen @ the hood had to say. It keeps things in prospective. I was picked on in school and didn’t have a lot of friends but at least I didn’t have to worry about my life being taken.



Heather says:

Walnut Hills was the worst school as far as mean kids go. I was only there in the 8th grade, then I moved to Akron. The problem at Walnut was that you had middle school kids mixed in with high school kids. I didn’t have it as bad as some of the kids, but there were two boys who would follow me to my 1st period class and make degrading and threatening sexual comments. I was a little intimidated (they were the size of grown men, for crying out loud). I certainly wasn’t going to tattle, though now I think maybe I should have. The abuse of the younger kids seemed accepted there.

At pep rallies, the 7th and 8th graders sat (the HALF of us who HAD seats) on rickety old bleachers on the opposite side of the nice stands, and the people who were speaking were often facing the high school side. It was like they drug us out of class just to publicly exclude us.

That was the last bit of real meanness I had to deal with in school, though.



Jill says:

Heather,
I spent two weeks at Walnut Hill while in the 8th grade and begged my parents to take me out. It was the worse.



Heather says:

Jill,
I had a professor who said she took her daughter out of Walnut after only a couple weeks, also.

As for me, I don’t know if I was happier to get out of that school or get away from my dad. All-in-all, that was one rough year.



Kenny says:

A well written post today 🙂

I was a fat little kid so I think most of you can about guess what I went through. Fat jokes all the time and no friends at all. It was horrible. I ate alone at school and I don’t remember anyone ever saying anything nice to me. I felt like such a loser and I hated myself.

I don’t know why, but as I got older the fat became less and how I’m 25 years old and I’m not fat at all. I got my college degree a couple years ago, met a nice girl and now I’m married and happy.

But I tell you, my “fat days” still haunt me and I don’t think I’ll ever forget how other kids treated me. Yes, we were just kids, but kids can be so mean and memories last.



Marilyn says:

By sonme strange coincidence, a good friend and I were discussing our school days just last evening.

We had a really crappy 7th grade english teacher. He was illustrating diagramming sentences to the class and his sentence read: “Belinda is fat. Belinda was my friend’s name.

My god, not only kids can be cruel, but some teachers really sucked!



Heather says:

Kenny,
One of the few times I was ever mean, it was towards a fat kid. I was in the 3rd grade and trying desperately to make friends at a new school (the previous school was a rough one). All I said was “whatever,” but it was mean, and I knew it. In fairness, though, I realized what I had done, and I was nice to the kid afterwards. I even sat with him on the bus, which I caught plenty of hell for. It was a good learning experience, though, and it was one of the last times I even attempted to attain social acceptance.

I’ll bet most of the people who remember you feel bad for the way they acted. Hopefully some of them will work to instill kindness in their own children.



Kenny says:

Heather,
I’m basically all right now. I have a great wife who loves me for who I am and I friends now, something I didn’t have growing up fat.

But I think back sometimes and today’s post made that happen. Again, it’s all right. At least now I can talk about it.



Ellen says:

I loved reading the post and all the comments today. Very smart and very touching, except for this person named numb.



Sarah says:

Being shy was a killer for me in high school and people made fun of me because of it. I see this shyness in my own young children and worry about it. What are they going to be in for when they reach school age?



Tommy Boy says:

I had a big head in grade school that my body caught up with later but in school the other kids would laugh at me and call me pumpkin head. The few kids that I’m still in touch with still do but now I don’t mind.



jackula says:

when i was in high school, i knew i was gay but you just didn’t say or acknowledge it back then, so i kept to myself and was considered a loser by most people. that was then, this is now. i’m thirty, out and living my life the way i want to. i’m a loser no more.



Heather says:

I think the most important thing is how a person feels about themselves.

One of my sons has a big head. When he was new at his school last year, a kid walked up to him and said, “Wow, you have a big head!” My son laughed and said, “I know!” If that was me at that age, I would have been crushed.

My boys are very outgoing and everone loves them. When someone says something mean to them, it rolls right off because they have a good sense of self esteem.

I wish I would have had that when I was young. I have it now, but it was hard-earned.



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