My crush on Jonathan lasted for more than 8 years, throughout my late childhood and high school dotage. A friend of my elder brother, he looked a bit like Billy Corgan and I thought he was the coolest. He was attractive, funny and most importantly, bad. Sadly any time I tried to talk to him all I managed were a few basic mumblings followed by backing away feeling like a massive spaz. However, my memories of this time are no doubt very warped by my own self doubt and the wayward personal ideologies which plague most teenagers.
I was a very anxious teenager, just as I am a very anxious adult but at that time I had no idea what it meant to be anxious, to suffer from panic attacks or to have an agoraphobic hissy-fit as I now do. I wasn’t diagnosed with the veritable chocolate box of disorders I now call my own until I was 18 years old and living far away from my home town. All I knew was that I was afraid of things other kids enjoyed; sneaking out of the house after my parents were asleep, lying about going to a boy’s house party or stay out way past my agreed curfew. Without a few glasses of cheap sugary wine I had no chance of coming across as the cool, calm, grown-up sex pot I desperately wanted to be. Even then the only one fooled by my faux confidence was me.
To give a little context, I grew up in a small beach town nowhere near a city with two central high schools. He went to the other school and was 2-3 years older than me. Lamentably we would never be thrown together in any sort of school activity. We would never bond of a shared love of some popular 90’s grunge song or hatred of a shared teacher. I would only bumped into him from time to time at parties and social gatherings thrown by other kids, almost exclusively when their parents were out of town. Not only were age and location against me but add to that my status as a bona fide late bloomer. I didn’t grow my now amazing rack until I was at the end of my 16th year by which time I had passed the point of anyone paying me much attention. On top of all this, my best friend was one of the best looking girls in our school and the owner/operator of a teen-aged boy’s most cherished feature – massive boobs. There was no way I could begin to compete.
Every girl has that guy in their past, the one you remember meaning so much to you as a teenager, the one who seemed to have everything he could want and more. Any girl he could possibly desire appeared to be his conquest within the week. Who knows if any of that is even slightly true, but to 15 year old me it was more than true, it was gospel and I never questioned the status quo.
But what was it really like being him? Did he know of the general decision to crown him the best and hottest guy in our social sphere? How did that make him feel? Being the biggest fish in a small pond can be a blessing as well as a curse. Did he have anxieties and fears of his own? What was it like to be that cool guy?
I’m writing this for my 15 year old self who felt so unattractive, so awkward and ungainly. How was she to know that she’d be pretty god damn hot by the time she got to 19? My anxiety may have stopped me from being the cool, bad girl I wanted to be, from losing my virginity to some guy in the back of some shitty car in the car park by the beach like so many girls I went to school with but was I alone in being afraid?
Almost 20 years have passed since I was that lust struck teen who had no understanding of what she needed in a boy. All I cared about was hot, bad and confident. No bonding over intellectual achievements, shared values, kindness or similar sense of humor back then, not for this girl.
At this point, I’m scared he will remember embarrassing things about me. I’m scared I will be thrust right back into those feelings of awkwardness and ill-confidence. I’m scared I will make a total twat of myself. However, I believe it’s a story I can and should tell, for every anxious teenager currently in the throes of woe over a super cool boy.
So I’m going to ask Jonathan what it was like to be him. What it meant to him to be that guy, with all the perceived power I lacked. I hope he will reply. I hope he will have something to say but I honestly just don’t know.