I remember a party in elementary school, It was a graduation party and I know that doesn’t sound like very much, but at the time it was a very big deal. All the popular kids were going and I was invited. I was so flattered and excited to be invited, but nervous too. It was supposed to be kept under wraps, as not all the class would be attending, but in an elementary school it didn’t take very long before word was out.
Because I hung out with so many groups of people, I got to console those who weren’t invited and quietly celebrate with those who were. However, something didn’t feel right, I was the kid who would pretend to lose or to be bad at something in order to allow others to win or feel that they’re the best at something. I also, knew how it felt to be excluded and not only that, but shamed.
I remember giving my invitation back. I told her I couldn’t come. I remember the shock on her face. as I walked away she shouted, your a loser! I remember what she said, because it was the 1st time in that whole situation that I felt certain I did something right.
I never told anyone this. I couldn’t admit to my friends that I was invited and they were not. I was embarrassed that it took me so long to give back the invitation. So I convinced my parents to help organize a pool party for everyone in the class on the same day. Access to the pool was free, so all students could attend. I pretended not to know that the party was on the same day and the girl pretended she never told me, because she was so embarrassed by the fact that I gave her back her invitation.
I was at the time whatever I needed to be for someone else. I’ve always identified with the underdog, but it’s exhausting and it doesn’t come with a lot of recognition. It was clear to me as a child that a life not lived by one’s morals is a life not worth living. I will fight like hell at the expense of myself, but it’s taken me a long time to realize that this quality is rare. I am always disappointed when others will not do the same for me. So over the years I have tried to be more responsible to myself. To do what I want them to get what I want. But, I think I’ll always be an advocate and always identify with the underdog and always stand up when I feel things are unjust. I don’t think you can call yourself an advocate when you only advocate when it’s convenient for you or when it’s someone else who is sacrificing something. I am what the movement needs me to be. I am what I need me to be.
And I do it for very selfish reasons, for the feeling I get when someone shouts, “your a loser!” and I think about how terrible it must feel to be called “a winner” if it implies that someone else is the “loser”.