I went with a friend last evening to see the movie The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend). As sometimes happens when one watches a high school movie, one begins to think about high school, even college, and one’s own place in the hierarchy.
High school was not a terrible experience for me. I had great friends, a great school, and while it had its problems, I wasn’t scarred by it by any means. You couldn’t pay me enough money to return to high school, but that’s because I wouldn’t want to be 16 again, or even 19 again, for all the money in the world, to be hyperbolic.
College, too, was the same: great friends, great school, and I wasn’t scarred by it. Rather, I was scarred by my own actions and problems, and a few random people here and there. I hate that I allow some people to have power over me, so many years later. The boy who said he couldn’t date me because I was too fat and his friends would make fun of him, the other boy who was dared to dance with me at a dance, and couldn’t keep a straight face. There were sweet boys too, of course. My first boyfriend was a darling, everything a first boyfriend should be, but on the whole, because of those other boys, I couldn’t trust that men were interested in me.
It’s hard to be so defensive. it feels like self-preservation, but at the end of the day, it’s a wall, and it takes a very special and determined person to scale that wall (see Husband comma current). But self-doubt rears its ugly head far too often, and movies set in high school about self-doubt make me reflect, it seems.
Was I a DUFF? Probably. Definitely for some friends. Lots of boys tried to go through me to get to my girlfriends. But as the movie states, we’re all DUFFs at the end of the day: someone is always prettier, smarter, richer, etc. etc. It’s what we do with the realization that makes us who we are.
All of this to say that I battle, every day, every day of my life, with my own sense of self-worth. And it is a battle, up a steep and treacherous hill, one I thought that at my age, I wouldn’t have to fight any more.