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I love a challenge, any challenge really and contests. I usually win too! Anyway, my attitude and past successes were getting on more than a few peoples nerves.
My classmates were getting pissed at me because I treated school as a contest and challenge. I continuously scored very high on everything I did at school, everything from small projects to every test I took.
I guess being as young as I was made me get a bit too sure of myself and a bit cocky as well. By the time I reached eleven years old and had reached the sixth grade I had lost more than a few friends and my new teacher Ms Allan had been forewarned about me and my drive to outperform everyone.
My drive wasn’t the bad part; it was my attitude of being cocky about it that pissed everyone off. My time of being set straight was just about to happen!
The set up was subtle and just one week into the school year. My teacher Ms Allan was whispering to a few of the kids in my class that I just happened to overhear.
“…I don’t know children, this is a tough contest and the challenges are even tougher. The prizes are wonderful, but I’m worried about your grades falling because this contest makes you take on each challenge twenty four hours a day, seven days a week until it is over with.
“Penny, I think you might be able to do this because you’re one of the smartest students and your grades are always very good. I’m going to talk to your mother about it and I think the PTA will sponsor you.
“That leaves us a boy short because it has to be a team effort and Johnny, I’m sorry but your grades I think will suffer if you agree to this. Timothy, your grades are high enough, but you don’t have any talents that are asked for. They want children that can sing or dance and better still do both and perform in front of others. Your trick bike riding isn’t among the talents listed to qualify as an entrant.
“You children think on this and let me know if any of the boy’s in our class can sing or dance and you think would give our class a chance at winning the grand prize. We only have a week left to enter the contest and once we choose who is to enter they’ll have to stay in the contest until it ends. There will be no quitting once they are entered.
“Penny, I’ll call your mother during recess and if she agrees I’ll contact the PTA. Okay now think about which boy in our class fills our needs. He will have to have good grades, he must be able to at least sing well or dance well. It would even be better if he could do both. Oh, and it would help if he’s cute, appearance is everything for this contest. He can’t look silly wearing the outfits the contest requires.”
The school bell rang announcing the start of the school day and everyone was soon doing what we always do in school. Lunch and recess came and we were all soon on the playground and a few changes were happening that peaked my curiosity.
I noticed some of the boys had grouped together and the girls had done the same. Some were singing and some were showing off dancing to a song playing on a CD player. I tried to join them but I was told to move on.
I knew why, they were afraid I’d once again out perform them. This further challenged me as I watched for my chance.
The girls looked at the boys dancing and giggled. Penny then said loudly.
“Look at those silly boys; they think free dancing is all there is. Look guys, the contest require form dancing not free dancing. You know, like tap or ballet, square dancing or clogging, but not free dancing.”
None of the kids at my school knew I was part of a clogging dance team because to me it was embarrassing and I knew the kids would tease me forever if they knew. Tap dancing isn’t that different and I do take tap dancing lessons as well. I know they knew I did tap because Penny goes to the same dance studio I do. She does ballet though while I do tap.
I ended up on the clogging team because I took my mom up on a challenge when I wanted a mountain bike. I wasn’t careful about what I agreed to and even though I have my mountain bike now I still am stuck on the clogging team and taking tap dancing lessons. I vowed to be very careful before I agreed to a challenge again.
One other secret I have is the fact that I sing with my mom a lot. She loves Martina McBride and has all her record albums and CDs. My mom loves to sing while she works and because I have to help her with the housework and laundry we sing together. I know every Martina McBride song she has ever recorded. I know a few children’s songs and lullabies my mom has taught me and the ones you sing in school, but I’ve always hidden my singing talent from the others. I had a bad experience once from relatives when they heard my mom and me singing together.
We were outside in our back yard and mom was hanging up our freshly washed clothes on the clothesline and we were singing “On Broken Wings” together. My Auntie Beth and Cousin Jennifer had pulled up and when we hadn’t answered the doorbell they heard us singing and walked around the side of the house to the back yard.
They just stood there until we finished the song and they applauded and wanted to hear us sing some more. I was so embarrassed being caught singing a Martina McBride song that I tried to refuse. My mom wouldn’t let me stop though and we ended up singing a few more songs.
Auntie Beth and Jennifer started teasing me afterwards by saying I could easily pretend to be a country girl singer with a change of clothes and a bit of makeup. I turned beet red and got a bit miffed as I said a bit loudly and angrily.
“There’s no way I could ever look like a girl! I’m a boy and boys don’t play dress up as girls.”
They teased a bit more as I handed my mom the hand washed laundry from the laundry basket as she draped them over our wooden drying rack on the back porch. It would have to be her lingerie, panties, bras and pantyhose.
They said I made the best daughter a mommy could have. It was then I proclaimed I’d never sing again and as the last bra was draped over the drying rack I took the hamper inside the house and then went strait to my room and closed the door.
My Auntie Beth and Cousin Jennifer tried to apologize, but I refused to come down even for supper. I never sang with my mom outside again. I gave in a few times inside our house, but I never sang outside the house ever again. Even in school I just moved my lips and that was that.
This contest thing was driving me crazy because I knew I could do well and I bet I could even win it for my class. I also knew that they didn’t want me and that was making me feel pretty lousy.
Once we returned to class I guess my mood became obvious because I didn’t raise my hand and I didn’t volunteer to do anything on the blackboard. For the first time ever I didn’t feel like school was a personal challenge to me. I didn’t want to compete anymore all I wanted to do was do what was asked without challenging the others by going the extra mile.
Ms Allan asked me a few times if I was feeling alright and I just said.
“I’m fine Ms Allan did you want me to do something?”
She’d just shake her head no and continue on. The other kids kept looking at me strangely and I knew why. When I didn’t raise my hand one of the others had to raise their hand.
Penelope took over as the one to always raise her hand now. She was also the one to volunteer to go to the blackboard when once again I didn’t volunteer.
Some of the other kids began to get nervous because Ms Allan chose someone else to join Penelope at the blackboard and she started calling on students she normally wouldn’t as my hands remained on my desk.
Just before the final bell rang Ms Allan once again asked me if I was feeling well. This time I just nodded my head and when the final bell rang I waited until all the others left the classroom before I did. That was also strange because I sat right next to the door. I pretended to be arranging stuff in my backpack, but I stole quick glances at each of my classmates as they left. Some of them gave me weird looks and others didn’t look at me at all.
Once they had all left I stood and slipped my backpack over one shoulder. Ms Allan was now standing next to me as she asked.
“KT, are you sure nothing is bothering you?”
I just shrugged and replied.
“It’s nothing important Ms Allan. It’s just something I have to think about.”
I walked out of the classroom and made my way to my bus. I waited until everyone else got on before I did and I took the seat no one ever would. I sat in the front row across from our bus driver Mrs. Wooding. It was that seat that faced the bus driver and wasn’t facing the front of the bus like all the other seats.
Once I sat down I took out my portable CD player and put in the ear buds. The first time I actually didn’t want to listen in on the other kids conversations. I was soon lost in thought while listening to the new songs I would be clogging to soon.
My bus stop was in the middle of the bus route so the bus was half empty and only a few of the boys tried to ‘accidentally’ step on my toes as they walked by me to get off the bus. I was watching out for that because if you sit on this seat that is one of the things the kids try and do. I would just move my feet out of the way and look the kids in the eyes, but they weren’t looking back at me.
I let the four other kids on my bus that got off at our stop to exit first and then I got off. It didn’t matter really only Penelope and Mary were in my class. I was surprised they waited for me to get off the bus.
Mary motioned for me to take out my ear buds so we could talk. I just shook my head and kept on walking. I was shocked she even wanted to talk to me! Just because for once I was quiet in class and didn’t participate unless called upon she wanted to talk to me? Screw that, I just wanted to be left alone, isn’t that what they wanted? I mean they sure didn’t want me in that contest!
Mom shouted out her greeting as I entered the house. You know the kind, “Hi KT, did you have a good day at school? Do your homework and then we can work on your new clogging costume before supper.”
That was funny my new costumes meant I had to dye my clogging shoes another color. I wonder what stupid color scheme Mrs. Kelly worked up this time for our latest round of performances. We had a recital at the dance center and then we made the rounds at the rest homes. I never took part with the more public performances like at the mall or the town recreation park. My agreement for my mountain bike was to take lessons not to perform publicly anyway. My mom sort of made me take part in the recitals and performing for those lonely old people in the rest homes.
My costumes usually consisted of stretch pants colored to match the girl’s skirts and a shirt that matched their blouses. If you’ve ever watched clogging you would have noticed the girls wear these short skirts with layers of crinolines under them and fancy frilly ruffle covered panties and frilly ribbon lace topped socks they wear over their pantyhose.
Clogging is a lot like tap dancing in unison not that much unlike the Irish Dancers everyone raves about. Think folksy, country themes and you’ve got the idea behind clogging. We wear cowboy hats sometimes, but I don’t like wearing them because they have what Mrs. Kelly calls hair combs sewn into them that keep them snug on your head while you dance.
I went upstairs to my room and did my homework. I stripped to my underpants, put on my robe, washed up a bit and headed downstairs. My mom was waiting for me in her sewing room. I groaned seeing the costume waiting for me! Mrs. Kelly must have been drinking again when she picked this scheme out!
First shock was when my mom handed me a pair of super snug fitting thong underpants to put on! I had to push in my boy bits just to get them on and fit right! That’s how snug these stretch pants would fit above the knees to my waist! Country this costume screamed, but this spandex stuff was over the top. I knew better than to argue though. I had agreed to do this for my mountain bike and mountain bikes aren’t cheap. Mom even took out my ponytail so she could use the hair combs to secure the stupid cowboy hat in my hair. She loved the way I looked and then she hit me with the bomb!
“KT, Maryann can’t come for her fitting and since you both have the same measurements I need you to stand in for her so I can do the final fitting for her.”
Of all the crappy things to make me do! I had no choice and just asked her to be as quick as she could. She just chuckled as she had me step into a pair of black shiny panties with white lace ruffles around the legs and waist as well as three rows of wider lace with a white bow in the middle of the back of these stupid panties.
The clogging outfit was a shiny black skirt with a matching snug fitting top that mom insisted I wear a padded bra under to match Maryanne’s shape.
She wasn’t happy about the way the skirt hung so she called Mrs. Kelly and the next thing I knew Mrs. Kelly was coming over to see how it looked!
I protested then, I mean I had never agreed to any of this for my mountain bike and said so! Mom went into her pleading mode and I lost again.
Mrs. Kelly arrived twenty minutes later and I was already in a lousy mood. She agreed with my mom and they decided the skirt needed another crinoline under it. Now I had to slip into a bunch of puffy crinolines one after the other until they were happy about the way the costume looked and with the color as well!
I couldn’t believe this thing was heavy enough that it had to be tied on even with the elastic waist! They even changed from the boots to three inch heeled tap shoes and frilly edged socks.
That wasn’t enough either, I was made to go into the kitchen and they moved the kitchen table so I could do one of the dances so they could see how the costume looked in action!
I almost fell in those stupid tap shoes with the heels so they made me walk around while they coached me and I really felt like an ass then!
“Toe then heel KT. Move your hips to move your legs and place your feet one foot directly in front of the other. More hips KT, move them hips! You’re doing great KT, make sure your feet land one foot directly in front of the other. Keep your hands on your hips KT.”
After about fifteen minutes of that I had to try and do my clogging routine and that was changed as well! By the time they were happy I had been in that stupid costume for three hours!
They both helped get me out of the stupid costume and stuff and now we were going to the dance supply shop so Mrs. Kelly could purchase the needed crinolines and pairs of those stupid frilly dancer’s panties. She had all the girl’s sizes and I wondered about how Robert and Joey felt about our new boy costumes.
I made sure I tied my hair into a ponytail again before we left for the stupid store in the mall. The only good thing about this was we were going to eat at the mall.
After the ten minute car ride we were soon at the store and we were greeted like long lost friends. Mrs. London always embarrasses me because she always says.
“KT, you’re the prettiest boy on the planet.”
Mrs. Kelly then shocked the hell out of me as she pulls out her cell phone and says.
“Lynn (Mrs. London) KT modeled these for us and we need six of the crinolines and six pairs of panties.”
She had taken pictures of me with her cell phone! There I was wearing just those panties and another one with me wearing the crinoline! She even showed her pictures of me dancing and even a little movie of me walking in that funny way!
Mrs. London went over the top then as she kept going on about how beautiful I looked and how gracefully and feminine I had walked! They all went into the back as I stayed out in the main shop and just walked around looking at stuff. Only about ten percent of the stuff in there was for boys. Ninety percent was for girls and fifty percent of that was frilly crap!
I was getting bored because the women were still not back and only Miss Fiona the young high school grad was watching the store. I was then surprised to hear my name called and then one after the other of the girls in our clogging group started showing up with their mothers.
I was asked why I was here and I turned red telling the girls why. I was just tagging along while my mom and Mrs. Kelly bought the crinolines and the fancy panties they all needed. I asked them why they were here and Mary Reynold said.
“Our costumes are here silly and we need our final fittings.”
I must have looked shocked because her mom asked me if I was alright. I just nodded that I was fine and walked away from them. I stayed in the corner with the boys stuff as they spread out looking at everything else.
I couldn’t believe my mom had not only lied to me but had set me up so I was dressed like the girls and Mrs. Kelly even snuck taking pictures of me in that stuff and even a movie of me walking like a sissy!
One by one the girls disappeared into the back and then came out wearing a white colored version of the clogging outfit they had made me wear!
I was shocked again and then the two boys walk in with their moms and they come out wearing white with black trim costumes! I was livid with anger and I walked out of the store just as the women returned from the back.
Mom caught up with me within fifty feet. The second she grabbed me I turned on her and said.
“You can sell the mountain bike, I quit and I’ll never dance again!”
She had the nerve to get mad! She grabbed me by my arm and dragged me back into the store. The kids were watching something on the wide screen plasma TV mounted high up suspended from the ceiling located near the top of the line costumes.
As I was being dragged into the back I saw ME! It was the pictures and video of me in both stupid outfits! I pulled my arm free and watched as the boys laughed and the girls giggled looking at me and Penny says.
“You have to take the solo now Katy! Let’s put it to a vote guys, all in favor of Katy taking the solo part say yeah!”
“YEAH, let Katy have the solo!”
I quickly replied.
“It won’t work guys because I just quit and I’ll never dance again! Does anyone want to buy a used mountain bike? I’m never riding it again!”
This time my mom was stunned! I mean she really knew I meant it and no matter how she threatened me she knew it wouldn’t work. I was dragged into the back of the shop anyway and they tried to force me into that idiot outfit, but it wouldn’t work. I fought and fought hard so they gave up and I repeated myself that I had quit and they could find some other stupid idiot kid to play girly boy because this kid was through with them all and I would never dance again, PERIOD!
After that I think I had shocked everyone because before this I was more than willing to help out in almost anyway, but they went way overboard and they knew it now, but it was way too late to change anything or even apologize!
What was happening at school was bad enough, but now this was over the top! I wouldn’t be my cocky confident self anymore! I was going to change and I started changing earlier today at school.
We went home and on the drive home my mom apologized and tried to defend their actions. I replied.
“I forgive you, but that’s it. I meant what I said and I think I know why all this is happening to me now. I was cocky, I was overconfident in my abilities and people resented it and now they want to put me in my place. Well, I’m putting my self in my place! I’m going to do what I have to do the best I can do it, but I am not going to brag about it and I’m not volunteering for anything either.
“I’m going to do what I’m supposed to, but I’m going to do it without saying a word because I know what I have to do and don’t have to talk about it anymore. I’ve already done that and look where it has gotten me. No friends, no one wants my help even though they need it because of my attitude, well, my attitude has changed. Let them lead and see how hard it is!
“They think it’s easy to be the smartest in the class? Well, let Penny take over. They think it’s easy clogging the best you can clog? Well, they can find out themselves now how easy it is being a leader!
“You know mom, everything I have done even though I didn’t want to do it I’ve given my best efforts and then some. I danced for you so I could get my mountain bike and I’ve done really well in the mountain bike races and I was the leader of our team. They don’t like me either, but they respected my abilities and my work ethics. I’ve finished first in my category in the individual hill climbs and we’ve finished first in our mountain races because I had enough guts and confidence to keep going when the other kids quit. What good is finishing first and being one of the best if you are the only one to appreciate what you’ve worked so hard to achieve?
“Remember when we used to sing together all the time? Thanks to your sister and my cousin that happiness we shared was shattered and destroyed. You see what I mean mom?
“Don’t worry, I’m not giving up, but I’m only going to do what I have to do to succeed on my own as an individual. Sharing is out and doing stuff with others is out! They can keep their team and group stuff and shove them where the sun doesn’t shine! They don’t want me at all, they just want a skilled body to play with and I’m not playing anymore.”
I was so close to tears it wasn’t funny and mom knew it too! The rest of the ride was done in complete silence and as soon as we got home I went to my room after telling her I wasn’t hungry.
I went into my room and sorted everything in my room out and once I had removed all the team stuff and group stuff I suddenly had a lot of extra room in my bedroom! I walked out to the garage and got several boxes and boxed all my clogging stuff up. I boxed up my mountain bike stuff and team riding suits. I loaded my clogging stuff in the trunk and put my team bike stuff in the back seat.
I wheeled my mountain bike onto the front lawn and put a fore sale sign on it with our phone number and went back in my bedroom and did my homework and then cleaned my bedroom better than it has ever been cleaned before.
My mom did try talking to me and I sat and listened, but that’s all I did. I didn’t agree with her and reminded her I had forgiven her, but I wasn’t changing my mind about anything. The last and hardest thing I did was to pack up my awards and trophies for my mountain bike racing. The ones that had been engraved with my name and stuff I just packed away, but the ones I could remove my name from I did and packed them in the back seat as well. They could now put new plates on them and award them to somebody else.
I still had my old three speed bike and that’s what I worked on next. I cleaned it up and oiled everything so it was working like new again. I went in took a shower and went to bed with a very heavy heart, but a new outlook on life and I knew things would get better for me now.
For the first time ever I set my alarm clock an hour earlier than usual. When it went off I got up, went into the bathroom, took a shower and then went to my room and made sure everything was in its place and my bed made. I got dressed for school in some of my good clothes that I never wore besides for special occasions and church once a month. I put on a pair of dress socks and my dress shoes and went down for breakfast just before my mom would usually come to wake me up.
She was shocked to see me walk in the kitchen already dressed and looking better than I had in like forever. I smiled gave her a hug and a kiss, went to the fridge and got out the juice. Mom served us breakfast and she tried talking to me about dancing again and I just said.
“Mom, don’t waste your breath, I don’t dance anymore, I don’t mountain race anymore, I don’t sing anymore and I’m very happy about it all. I can take it easy for awhile and not have to lead and treat everything like a personal challenge. I’m going to continue to do my best at what I choose too do and help you out more around the house and yard.”
I ate me breakfast and then before giving her another hug and a kiss before I left for school I said.
“I’ve packed up some stuff for the cloggers and for the mountain bikers. It’s in the trunk and the back seat of your car. After school today I’ll be home early for once and if you could give me a ride I’d like to drop it all off and then we can do what you want to do ok mom?”
She had a resigned look on her face and just nodded. I gave her a hug and a kiss, told her I loved her and I walked to my bus stop.
The kids were shocked and a few started teasing me so I said.
“Hey look, I got your hints in class and I want you all to know I won’t be raising my hand in class or taking any leadership roles either. You can run the group stuff and you can go to the board and do the problems and you can do everything I used to do. I know you all don’t like me, so just leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone ok?”
They really were shocked, I could tell because they all shut up and that’s a first!
I took the same seat on the bus, but I held a sharpened pencil in my hand in clear view of anyone getting on the bus so they thought twice about trying to step on my feet! No one even tried. There was a lot of whispering going on and Penny was the most shocked of all!
We had always challenged each other in clogging and in class. I usually came out on top with both things and now she was the leader, but she wasn’t the leader type. She’s a great clogger and a great student, but leadership qualities she doesn’t have. She wants to be well liked and that dashes that!
Well, we get to school and I wait until everyone is off the bus still holding my sharpened pencil in clear view so no one would even think of trying to stomp on my toes as they exited the bus, it worked!
I even waited outside the classroom just out of site of Ms Allan our teacher until the last kid entered and then I entered and took my seat. Ms Allan did compliment me on my neat appearance, but gave me a strange look when I was the last to enter the classroom. I’m usually one of the first and put my homework on her desk and wish her a good morning. I didn’t do any of that and wouldn’t from this day onwards.
As class went on I handed in my homework with the rest of the kids that had done their homework. I didn’t raise my hand once, but she did call on me from time to time when none of the other kids could answer her questions.
When it came time for volunteers to work out problems on the whiteboard I didn’t volunteer so Penny went up and she chose another student instead. Johnny Weber looked right at me as he made his way to the board. It was finally sinking in and the other kids and Ms Allan were just shocked to say the least. I was blowing their assumptions about me right out of the water!
I heard whispers about the contest thing a little later on and that’s when stood up and I said.
“Look, you don’t have to whisper and talk behind my back about this big contest because I don’t want any part in it. You’re safe from me starting yesterday as a matter of fact. I’m sorry for being so cocky and confident in my abilities and you don’t have to worry about that anymore.
“I won’t be seeking any leadership roles in the future and if you want my help with anything I won’t be offering it to you, you’re going to have to ask me. If it’s for one on one help that’s ok, but I won’t be leading any groups and I won’t be offering any ideas when you guys need to plan something.
“I know I’ve never been popular and none of you like me very much, so I’ll leave you alone like you want and all I ask is you leave me alone.”
I sat down again and the classroom went completely quiet and that’s when Ms Allan asked me to stay after school and have a chat with her.
“I’m sorry Ms Allan, but I can’t stay after school anymore. I have to get on my regular bus and get right home to help my mom. I’ve decided to help her a lot more now since I no longer dance and I no longer mountain bike. I just quit both for my own reasons. If anyone needs a great mountain bike mine is for sale, just call my mom and make an offer. Three hundred dollars is a deal for that bike. I rode it for several championships and won a lot of hill climbs riding it.”
I sat back down and she asked if she could call me at home! I said sure and that was that.
We had our group project to do and I just sat with the other four kids in our group. They were waiting for me to start it off, but I just remained quiet and looked over our project which I had always led the group in before today. They seemed lost in what to do, but I still just remained quiet and quietly sat their and completed my part and then just sat back.
Lunch time came and I went to the cafeteria and ate my lunch without saying a word and I tried to sit alone nearest the teachers table that no one sat at! Penny joined me and tried to start a conversation and I answered her with as few words as possible. She then said.
“KT, you shouldn’t have quit clogging your our best dancer!”
I almost whispered my reply and she had to lean closer to hear me.
“You mean Katy don’t you Penny? You have plenty of good dancers and you all made it very clear you guys hate my guts and were trying to force me to dance as a lead female dancer. My mom and Mrs. Kelly humiliated me and all of you guys saw what they had done to me and made me wear. My mom told me Maryann couldn’t be fitted so she needed me to stand in for her. She lied to me! I didn’t want to, but I did it. You humiliated me by calling me Katy in front of the guys so don’t even try to get me to dance for you guys ever again. I quit and that’s that.”
I got up from the table and dumped my half eaten lunch in the trash and left for the library. I would spend recess there from this day onward. They can keep play time for themselves. I don’t want to be a part in their games anymore. Hey, they didn’t want me in their games anyway.
Ms Allan found me in the library studying from my English book. I was getting even further ahead than I was already from the rest of the class. She sat down next to me, reached over and closed my English book. She said.
“KT, we have to talk. You’re usually not like the person you’ve been acting like lately and I want to know why.”
I looked at her, smiled and replied.
“How does it feel too want Ms Allan? I know how it feels and for some things it isn’t worth the pain and heartache. None of you liked me because of my cocky and confident attitude. Well, you don’t have to worry about those attitudes in me anymore Ms Allan, none of you do.
“You can take that ultra secret contest and shove it Ms Allan because I really don’t care anymore. I’ve had it trying to be the leader and showing confidence in my abilities. That I guess is only for grown ups to do. An eleven year old boy has no business being confident in their abilities and leading others by pushing them using a cocky attitude.
“Nope, only grown ups can do that and get away with it. A boy my age gets ignored, put down as often as possible and humiliated by those he thinks love him and want the best for him.
“No thanks Ms Allan, I’m still going to ace every assignment I get and I’m still going to do the best I can do, but as for leading others, taking charge and trying to lead by example, you can forget it! I’ve had all the teasing and humiliation I can take. I’m going to do so well in school I’m going to skip grades and get out of here and into college as soon as I can get there.
“Maybe once I get to college I can take a leadership role again and do the things I love and really enjoy doing because I’ll be with adults and they will respect my abilities and my confidence in myself.”
She had nothing to say and left me there. She sure looked troubled when she left though. GOOD, she should look troubled and maybe she’ll think twice next year if she has another kid like me in her class.
I got on the bus and the kids left me alone and Penny looked like shit. GOOD, she should look like shit and I hope she gives the next kid like me a break!
When I got home mom greeted me as usual and I answered her a bit differently. I replied to her, how was my day at school question with.
“Boring mom, very boring, can we drop off that stuff soon?”
She tried talking me out of it, but there was no way she was going to do that. She wasn’t happy at all, but she called Mrs. Kelly to make sure she’d be at the dance studio and we left to drop of my clogging stuff so some other kid or kids could use it and their folks could save some money.
We walk into the studio and Mrs. Kelly insists on talking with me even after I told her I wasn’t going to change my mind and I wasn’t ever going to dance again.
She told me that Maryann had moved away and they needed a girl lead dancer desperately and thought of me. I knew all the steps and moves because I had helped her learn them. She admitted she had probably gone about it the wrong way, but she thought I would just refuse before they could let me see that I could do it.
I laughed, I mean I really laughed! I then told them about how humiliating their picture taking session turned out to be and showing it on the big plasma TV in the store really helped make up my mind never to dance again. I told her how Penny had called me Katy in front of everyone and the boys were laughing their butts off at me as were the other girls. I then said.
“No, I will never dance again and you can try your tactics on one of the other boys because now that Maryann has left, you don’t have a girl capable to fill her shoes. Maybe Hank Green, but you’ll have to really do a good makeup job on him because frankly he’s one of the ugliest boys I have ever met.”
I got up and left and mom had to follow. Mrs. Kelly looked shocked to her toes and she should be shocked! She deserves it and I hope she has learned her lesson and never tries to pull that crap on anyone else again!
Our next stop was to Mr. Gibson who ran the Gibson’s bike shop and sponsored and coached the mountain rider’s team I was on.
I gave him the box of stuff and quit the team and he was shocked and when he asked me why, I replied.
“Well sir, I’m tired of participating with other kids that don’t like me at all. I was taught to lead by example and show confidence in yourself and your abilities and I’ve really tried hard to do that, but all I’ve accomplished was being good at what I do and being disliked to the point of it not being enjoyable for me anymore. Wining isn’t everything if you can’t enjoy winning with others. The more we won, the less my teammates liked me to the point they didn’t like me at all.
“No sir, I don’t want to mountain bike anymore, the enjoyment is gone and to just take part in the individual hill climbs won’t be worth the time and expense my mom has to spend.
“Look, I know you guys have a hard time raising funds for the awards you hand out so I’ve removed my nameplates on all the trophies I’ve won and they’re in the second box over there. They’re all in perfect condition because I made a trophy case for them and they didn’t even get dusty and I’ve kept them polished and looking great. You can save a lot of your award funding and just put new nameplates on them. I’ve given you my riding suits and my riding shoes and cleats. That should let you help sponsor another kid that shows promise.
“I’d like to offer you a little advice if I may, but coming from an eleven year old you might not want to hear it because no one else does.”
He surprised me by asking me to spill my guts so I did.
“Sir, it isn’t just in grooming a kid to lead it’s also grooming the other kids to know that the kid leading is doing it for a reason and not just for himself. The other kids have to understand the plan as well as support the one leading them.
“That hasn’t been the case in anything I’ve done so far in any category or capacity. I’ve been cocky and confident and that combination has ripped my heart out when in return for my hard work and effort I’ve only been disliked and even hated. No thanks sir, I don’t want any part of team or group anything! I don’t even want to take part in individual contests anymore. I’m going to challenge myself in studying and in doing what I can to help my mom at home. At least I know she’ll appreciate what I’m doing at home. Thanks for all you’ve done in teaching me and challenging me. Goodbye sir.”
I shook his hand and he just sat their looking shocked, I just hope his next team he’ll take the time and explain to the others what a leader is and what they are supposed to do.
Mom was very thoughtful on our ride back home and once we got home she sat me down and we had a nice chat about leadership, cockiness and confidence. She told me that leadership was in a person and wasn’t learned, you either had the ability or you didn’t. A lot like common sense, you either were born with it or you didn’t have it because it was never learned. You can learn to be a better leader and have even a better ability in using your common sense. Cockiness though was the negative in my personality. Showing off ones superiority and greater skills always makes people angry. Bragging about ones accomplishments isn’t cool at all and that’s where I failed in my leadership. I showed off and I bragged about my superiority and that rubs people no matter what their ages the wrong way.
My reply was this.
“Mom, I didn’t always brag, boast and show off. I ended up doing that when no one was acknowledging what I had accomplished other than getting an award from time to time. Yeah, I am selfish in wanting to be praised for what I’ve done and especially when I’ve done it better than anyone else. Humble I’m not, but I will be!
“I can promise you that humble will be my middle name from now on. As far as leadership qualities, well, I don’t have what it takes and that has been proven to me big time! I can honestly say right now I have no desire to lead in any way other than with my grade point average and helping out at home.
“Mom I need respect and I need for my efforts to be acknowledged for what they are. That’s all I need and now if you don’t mind I need to take an aspirin and lie down. I have a splitting headache.”
I took two aspirin and went to bed…
Chapter End Notes:
My usual preachy ending to explain this story has been removed by me. A new approach to my writing style that I thought was needed. I hope you liked my little thought provoking story it is a subject that has bothered me for many years.
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