This is me in high school on my way to prom with my friends Charlotte (left) and Annie (right). I look like a pretty normal kid right? I like to think I was!
What you can’t tell from looking at this picture is that I had to ask my friend John (who went to another school) to take me to the prom because I didn’t have a date. And no one was asking me. John and I had a blast and I actually went to his prom as well. But still… I had to ask someone to take me to the dance. This was a pattern in my high school life.
You have all read that I was very academically focused in high school. I was in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program, and took as many advanced classes as possible. I was very social and had lots of friends. I was in almost all of the school plays and had such a fun time in high school. I was never extremely self-conscious (just the normal amount!) and I was confident when speaking up in class and in my friend groups.
The one thing I didn’t have was a boyfriend. Or anything even close. This would lead to me lamenting my life with my mom. She was very supportive and would often say that I would eventually have a boyfriend in college or whatever mom’s are supposed to say. But when I asked her point blank why I didn’t have boys that liked me, she responded, “Well, you’re a little intimidating.”
I have never forgotten this. I am intimidating.
What does that mean? Boys were scared to talk to me because I was smart, out-spoken, bossy, loud, … I don’t know. I’m sure I was all of those things. But I really took being intimidating to heart.
When I went to college, I was the only member of my graduating class (750 people) to go to Northwestern. I was SO EXCITED! It was going to be my fresh start.
I decided for myself that I was going to be the opposite of intimidating. Whatever I was in high school that scared boys away I was going to let go. I would be charming, relaxed, fun, and social instead.
Well, after about two months of school I had already made some of my best friends in life. One night on our way home from a party I was talking to two of my best friends Eric and Reggie about why my current crush didn’t like me back… or at least he wasn’t making a move.
I was crying. Eric and Reggie were trying to talk to me and explain that I was great and the guy was just a loser… or whatever it is people are supposed to tell you. Finally after our 20 minute walk home filled with tears, Reggie tried one last thing to console me. He said, “Maureen it’s ok. He probably just can’t handle you. You’re just a little intimidating.”
I PROCEEDED TO SOB UNCONTROLLABLY!
Poor Reggie had no idea how he had hit a nerve, but after I explained the story from high school my nickname in college officially became “The Intimidator.”
My best friends used the name to poke fun at me with love, but it also completely desensitized the power of the word ‘intimidating’ for me.
Yes, I am probably intimidating. But it’s a part of my personality. I think I am a good friend and now girlfriend.
The truth is though: Josh says he was a little intimidated when he first met me. I’m glad he stuck around for me to let my guard down. 🙂