Becky’s thoughts and my comments on Shrek 2 reminded me of something that I’d actually intending to post ever since the Good Boys & Girls post from a while back.

As with most kids, I think, the junior high years for me were the worst of my life. A combination of deflated expectations, puberty, waist-bloat, and… well… everything else that comes with being in junior high. My junior high experience cast a pretty long shadow and though I don’t think about it much now, it influenced the things that influenced the things that influenced the things that influence who I am today.

Things had started to improve by my 8th grade year (Delosa schools have middle school from 6-8 and high school from 9-12) through, among other things, bribery. And in high school I discovered an online bulletin board system (BBS) that would change my life. It’s interesting to note that only once I started getting better did I realize how bad things had previously been.

I remember a girl in my sophomore year that I took a bit of a liking to. She and I would talk every day before and after our mutual English class. I, of course, was trying to figure out if she liked me by every possible means except direct inquiry. I remember at one point I was watching her intently interact with people that were my social equal or lessers in the high school caste system. I remember quite explicitly thinking that she might be interested in them in a way that she probably wasn’t with me because they were “real guys”… humans… and I was an ogre.

But progress was nonetheless being made. I may have been an ogre, but somewhere along the way I’d become a dignified one. I was actually talking to this girl. I had actual, bona fide female friends. This, of course, blew my ogre friends away. As some of them started sliding deeper and deeper in to ogredom, I was getting out.

But I wasn’t out at that point because, among other things, I was still hanging out with ogres and I was still one among them. However, I was really at the head of the pack. I look back at that experience as being the Ogre King. Not quite human, but the ogre that all the rest of the ogres looked up to.

It took my losing about sixty pounds, breaking a couple of hearts, and keeping and maintaining a human girlfriend for a couple of years before I finally really broke out of that mindset. Well, broke out of it to the extent that I ever will. At some point, I think, your experience diverge far enough from the typical path that I don’t think your perspective will ever be able to merge with everyone else’s. But luckily, as you grow older, medieval fantasy race stops mattering quite so much.

Category: School

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5 Responses to My Life as the Ogre King

  1. Becky says:

    That’s a good post, Mr. Trumwill, and thanks for the link. I, too, had my most awkward years in junior high, as I had to start wearing glasses and my dad/step-mom couldn’t afford a lot of new clothes for us so we were way behind. Fortunately, Mom stepped in and helped a lot. Oddly, though, I’ve always been the person in the group who was probably the loudest, confident, maybe the most intellingent, but I always had much prettier friends.

  2. Barry says:

    Analysis of our “ogreness” when we were kids is all fine and academic now that we’re older, but it hurt like hell dealing with it at the time. That’s what I remember, the futility and confusion I felt all the time when other guys, guys that were a lot less nice than I was, got the girls because of their looks.

  3. trumwill says:

    Becky, I have yet to actually meet anyone who would pinpoint any time other than junior high as the hardest years. I’m sure such people exist, but I’ve never found them. Mom was amazingly flexible when it came to my getting clothes. She never bought anything brand name but for those years. I discovered, much to my amazement, how I dressed was of little consequence.

  4. trumwill says:

    Barry, no argument here. The question of “Why don’t nice guys get the girls” lingered into my twenties. And, in some ways, it still affects me in my more insecure moments. The greatest irony is in how much that insecurity played into what was causing that insecurity. But in any case, thinking until I was 15 or 16 that I might never get to kiss a girl my entire life was not inconsequential.

  5. LeeAnn says:

    When I was 13 I thought I was quite bucktoothed, thereby buttugly, and asked my parents if I could get braces.
    “No” said my stepfather. “It won’t help.”
    For the next twenty-seven years, I understood this to mean that I had been so incredibly unattractive that straightening my teeth would have been a mere drop in the ugly ocean. Then I discovered in a chance conversation that he’d meant my teeth would gradually straighten out on their own. As they did, thankfully.
    But I’ve never really exiled the “doomed to be ugly” fears. Just managed to bury them a little deeper each year.

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