Keeping up with the “IN” Crowd
When I was a child in Portugal, I did not attend school, so friends of the same age were few and far between.
What was left for me were diplomats’ kids — a spoiled lot, who came over sometimes on weekends, and teased me because I was not in school;
local villager kids, a rough bunch, who would trade rocks and insults over the wall,
and occasionally, the children of deposed European royalty who would also come by sometimes on weekends with their parents, who came for elegant English teas my mother would put on. The deposed royalty kids were also spoiled, but my Dad gave them swimming lessons so they were not quite as bad as the diplomat kids.
I had a crush on the son of the deposed King of Spain. A devastating good looking boy, who knew it.
I always felt socially inferior to most of these kids. The diplomat kids all lived in expensive, large villas down near the coast. They went to the exclusive English school and they wore nice clothes.
I wasn’t too worried about the local roughneck kids, but at least they did all go to school and never let me forget that I didn’t. (I was however, able to show my superiority to them by having a better aim with a slingshot. I once got one with a well aimed rock in the forehead, which got me into a lot of trouble with his and my mother.)
Now, the deposed royalty kids were a bit more of a bother to me since they were actual royalty; they lived in nice big houses (not as nice as the diplomat kids), they went to the exclusive English school and they wore really nice clothes. I guessed they may also have worn crowns at home.
The lack of really nice or just even nice clothes was a big problem for me. It was a problem when I was a small kid, and it pursued me through my teen years. Everyone else had better clothes than I, not hard, since we were really poor and darned and mended clothes, along with holes in our shoes — were par for the course.
None of the aforesaid kids had any compunction in making fun of me for not being like them. So I learned early in life that no matter how much of an independent type one is, it is painful not to be accepted into the “pack” or to be seen as different.
Part of me yearned to be part of the “gang”, the other part of me despised them for being a bunch of idiots. I was torn.
Why is acceptance by some group so darned important to us? I found that the “in” kids that did not accept me were shallow and obnoxious, but that didn’t stop me for being hurt at being rebuffed by them.
My Mother, of course, tried to comfort me, and tell me that I was special and they just didn’t know what they were missing. That didn’t help.
When I grew up, the same sort of issue stayed with me. I never had enough money to get really nice clothes, and the smart, well dressed gang thought me too scruffy to hang with. Rebuffed as a child, a teen and an adult. What a pain.
It took a long time for me to arrive at the conclusion that I could dress as I wished, and if the rest of the World didn’t like it, tough nonnies. I could form my own group and decide who would be in it. As Kim Mitchell, a Canadian Rock artist puts it “I am a wild party”.
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