You Can't Even Call Me Shallow for It

Youth Media Project

Though I bet some of you are going to try. This is a true recount of my weekend in New Orleans, a city whose vibe I really feel. And had things been different (financially), I would be attending Tulane. Can you believe 40k in aid and scholarships and still being 10k short? But I digress. This all started because I am a smart chick who has figured herself out, and therefore doesn't have to act a way she THINKS she should act.

Back to being smart: I have been on Murrah's Quiz Bowl Academic Team since freshman year. Back then, I wasn't a person. I hadn't discovered my body, my how-I-act-towards-everybody personality, or that it was okay to lie to people's faces just so you could stay sane inside your own mind. I wore a lot of graphic tees paired with jeans that didn't fit my newly thin body (puberty, ya know?). I was too into the Beatles and Queen and other #### like that instead of developing other tastes that were budding (haha) because the other guys in QB listened to it and we always had a good time. Board, cards, and video games were my idea of a party. Stupid girls that were jealous of me because I wasn't trying to prove #### to anybody took shots at my self-esteem, and others built it up (Hope). I didn't dance, and I although I considered dating I didn't because I do things for the long term, and high school isn't the place for that.

Fast forwarding to sophomore year: The year was a gray area, though fun and very enriching, comprised of the most exhausting year of academics I have yet faced. By the end of it, I had the worst haircut of my life and my clothes were still a mess. I was still a little awkward, but people still thought I was a nice intellectual they could ask for help. I was included in more "non-school related" discussions. Playful banter.

Junior year: I buy much more casual dressy and fitted clothes, more shoes, and before Christmas (I think) I start wearing light make-up. People tell me I look nice often, and the respect my peers have for my English discussion contributions is just as strong as it always has been, except now I feel and look better. I began to seek out leadership positions, and my confidence and ease in front of others greatly increased. I became openly funny to everyone instead of just my friends. I had become, essentially, the Sarah Rutland some know today. Many still make one-dimensional characterizations, but there ya' go.

So Quiz Bowl: I was involved all years during when all that was happening--though sophomore year I practically stopped because of a full plate. The part that goes with the story is that by senior year I was a cool, confident, beautiful young woman who just happens to be very intelligent. I know who I am, and I'm not out to prove it to people with anything other than my natural reflection as a person.

Our team was invited to participate in a national competition in New Orleans. We left on Saturday morning, the 29th, and our first match of the day was at about 7:30 PM. We arrive in the city, check into the hotel, and plan out what we will do until game time. Our sponsor had foolishly been trying to suggest corny stuff like the aquarium or watching a blown glass class. I wanted to shop, specifically at Urban Outfitters. Why? Mostly because I'm a young adult and I don't plan on doing dumb stuff like going to an aquarium EVER until I'm pushing twins in a stroller and I have to suffer through such things to be a good parent. Sacrificing my personal happiness for my kids, which parents are supposed to do, right? See? I have evolved as a person.

I swear this has a point. Anyways, I spend the afternoon with fellow gimmick-attractions-are-stupid teammates, Evan and Aaron. We browse stores and walk the streets around the French Quarter, and the entire time I notice that there are so many BEAUTIFUL, HOTT people in this city. It's ridiculous, I'm staggered. And I feel at home. These people, I can tell, truly don't give a #### what others think because they are clearly just minding their own business, unconcerned if people notice them but still looking fly for somebody (maybe just themselves). Fast forward to the competition set on Loyola's campus, and things take a turn for the worst.

They are plain. Not necessarily ugly, but plain. They are the smartest kids in America academically, the kids who are supposed to pull us out of all this mess, and they are plain and can't dress. They wear weird crap on purpose like top hats and clothes that make them look like characters from The Great Gatsby to "express themselves". And they make references to things like Monty Python because that's so clever. But that's only the ones who talk. The quiet ones are almost worse except I don't have to listen to the word poop that spews out of their ill-formed mouths. Some are wearing team shirts printed in Star Wars logos or writing Batman and Wonder Woman as their names on their name cards (seriously, even though it was a regulated competition). One boy plays Pokemon game music on the foyer's piano. Has anyone explained to them that it isn't "cool" to do stuff like that, unless you're in middle school when it's expected for you to be awkward? I would expect upperclassmen in high school would have found themselves by now. There's no way adults with mindsets like this are taken seriously, or that they are as successful as their unpretentious, grounded peers. Another sad point is that these losers are from all corners of the country. You don't have to be a repulsive person just because you're not attractive.

But I guess I can't talk, huh? Because I did that stuff, too. In ninth grade.

Told ya you'd try to call me shallow anyway.


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