TRDC – I am not a loser. I will shine.


This week’s RemembeRED prompt is from Jennifer Dillon of Whispatory.

School trips. We all go on them. What trip do you remember the most? Where did you go? Who was with you? How did you get there? Have you ever been back?

Write a memoir post about a memorable school trip. Word limit is 600.

Stony stares told me to lower my eyes in shame. I raised my chin and intensified my own gaze in a defiant tone that clearly said, “Bite Me.” We were going home losers and they blamed me. They were right in where they pointed their fingers. It’s a shame they didn’t know the blame was actually on their shoulders. I only did what was expected.

The whole way to the Academic Triathlon they had pointed their fingers and sneered my direction. I had received the invitation to attend just as they had, but because I had warmed a chair regularly in detention and spent my minutes between classes on the ‘wrong side” of the school, they must have missed that detail.

The tests, graphs and other measurement tools meant to flatter or confine, told me that I was smarter than most of them by far. I didn’t find solace as they did by burying my nose in 8 inch thick books cramming the last moment before the competition. Instead I stared out the bus window at the life passing by. I crafted story lines, I dreamed and I created. I had no use for studying over material I already knew. I strained at bonds for new knowledge.

We had filed in the auditorium and sat as directed at tables with buzzers. A large white screen in front of us flashed the questions and a woman with a monotone voice read them as though we couldn’t read ourselves. The first section was group questions. We were given time to consult each other before the answer was required.

Their previous judgements dictated that they never once looked my direction for an answer. I knew them all. They quickly rose to the top three during this time. I say “they” because it was through no contribution of mine. I clearly was not part of the team.

The next round was going to be the individual challenges. Only a few were chosen by the director and I could hear the crash of sighs as I was one of the ones called to the buzzer. This was the moment of truth. A time to shine or burnout.

The questions boldly flashed out and I heard buzzer after buzzer sound before I halfheartedly hit mine at the last possible moment to provide the worst choice of answer. My head screamed the right answer, but my heart was broken. This was what was expected. I was never meant to shine here.

Back in the bus on the slow journey home, those eyes told me to feel shame. They wanted me to feel like the loser they just knew I was. After glaring for a moment back at them, I turned my eyes back out the window at the passing world. Out there somewhere I would shine when someone finally took the time to look.

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14 replies

  1. Tragic beginning exceptional ending. Bravo girl

  2. Oh my goodness, Wow.
    I need a minute, because when things like this happened to me, I would say the RIGHT answer just to spite them and then ignore them when they wanted to “be my friends’ now. Like it would be on their time.

    I am proud of you for being BRAVER than I was, for doing what you wanted, how you wanted, holding the reins. GOOD FOR YOU.

    Wow, the more I find out about you, the more I love!

    • Thank you Kir! I can’t say I was necessarily proud of the choice I made to lose, it was more living up to expectations even if they were low.
      Love ya girl!

  3. You’re so brave, so strong, so WISE at this age. That really blew me away here. I culd feel your defiant Bite Me stare, and also the light that did shine on you at the end.

    Lovely and introspective. just the way i like it. XO

  4. It is so sad that they stereotyped you like that, and didn’t take the time to know you.

    I don’t know that I would have been as brave as you in that moment.

    You are shining now!!

  5. Wow. Your writing is so incredible. I love this story about you. xo Teenagers can be such assholes from insecurity. Hugs to your teenage self who had to receive those mean stares.

  6. Great job! Kids don’t look past what they immediately see…. then again many adults are the same way. It’s to bad that people are that way. My guess is that you were much better off without them as friends and went on to find your place.

  7. Wow! I could not have acted that way…I think I would have struggled to shine to make them accept me, prove them wrong about their opinions.

    How were you chosen to go, if you had shown no interest previously?

  8. Love how bold you were even faced w/ such jerks. And? You are anything but a loser. You’ve been a shining star ever since I met you!


  9. I am still bitter about high school and the way some kids treated me because I didn’t take AP classes like the ‘smart’ kids.

    I liked the Bite Me stare; that was pretty awesome. I am not sure, based on your description, that your decision to deliberately give the wrong answer was a brave one. It seemed kind of spiteful to me, but i wasn’t sure who you were spiting. I hope that makes sense.

  10. I just think that your entire reaction was incredible and brave. Sure, I was secretly hoping you’d go up and slap them, but you were the bigger person. You didn’t have anything to prove to them, and so you didn’t. Good for you! You obviously shine more than those LOSERS ever did or will.

    Stopping by from TRDC.

  11. I hate high school. What a horrible time.

    My heart hurt for the teenage you.

  12. Your wisdom then blows me away.

    The last paragraph says it all. People should have seen something special. We all feel that way, especially when we’re younger. good job.

  13. I felt this way when I played sports and I never seemed to measure up. Unfortunately I think we all deal with this at some time in our life. I’m sorry they didn’t see what was inside of you. xoxo

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