The first memory I have of my overwhelming insecurity was when I was 5 years old. 5 years old! Are children that young supposed to feel so insecure? My friend Sophia, who had to be my friend because we were born 8 days apart and our moms met at the playground and our older siblings were friends, was inviting me to her new friend Liane’s house. Sophia went to a different elementary school from me because we lived in different school districts, although only two blocks apart. And Liane apparently had a phenomenal collection of Barbie’s. I really wanted Liane to like me because I wanted to play with her Barbie’s. I only had one, and I didn’t have any cute outfits or dreamhouses or cars – my mom sewed the few outfits I could dress her in. So as I walked to Liane’s house, I looked down and saw the freckle I hated on my right wrist. I covered it, and decided I would keep it covered when I met Liane. It was ugly and I didn’t want her to decide she didn’t like me because of my ugly freckle. The freckle is barely noticeable now, surrounded as it is with all of the other freckles that have popped up over the years.
It wasn’t until I was 13 that all my fears about being a loser were confirmed. Really and truly confirmed. I was a freshman in high school (one year younger than my peers because I had skipped a grade in elementary school) and I had to ride a long bus ride from the Marina district to Lowell High in the Sunset. My sister was a senior that year, but we never sat together on the bus. We would always sit in the single seats, on the right side of the bus. My friend Sarah, who lived in the Richmond, would sometimes catch our bus, and sometimes not, later in its route. Sarah had gone to a different middle school than I had; we met in a summer program and I was excited to be her high school friend. She had a whole group of cool friends – some of the girls even had boyfriends. Sarah didn’t. She was a big girl, like me, but she was a jock, and I wasn’t.
So on this fateful day Sarah’s group got on at their stop and I left my single seat to hang out with them for the rest of the ride in the back of the bus. That night, my sister told me that as she was sitting at an open window, she overheard Sarah say, “Oh no, there’s Lisa” when Sarah spotted me on the bus. My sister thought I should know this important piece of information. I didn’t blame her; it was useful to know that I was not liked. I never hung out with Sarah and her friends again.