I wasn't a very insecure kid but I know that people thought that I was - mostly because I was very attached to my mother. I wasn't insecure, really, only shy - something that only my closest friends know about me, because I am so shy that I pretend to be confident to hide how shy I am, and I have always done that. I was close to my mother because I didn't spend all that much time with her, and so I didn't associate her with as many temper tantrums and candy denials as other children did. That, and my mother is a pretty amazing mother and just a pretty amazing person and just awesome company and we still are very close, considering that I am a dumb seventeen year old and she is old and wise enough to recognise that I am young and stupid.
And people thought that I was insecure when I was just massively klutzy and uncoordinated - I couldn't ride a bike without training wheels until I was eight, I fell backwards off swings (do that in front of the crush of your crush, I guarantee you that will end in...nothing but failure), I had permanently scabby knees and my nose bled at the slightest, nonexistent provocation. My great fear of pain and also my great experience of pain at even a young age made me a little wary, but I'd say that was more of a recognition of my limits instead of a miscalculation of what I could and could not do.
I was bullied a lot at grade school, and I was well aware that in grade school I had a notorious reputation for being almost obnoxiously arrogant. In some ways that is true, in the sense that all seven year olds are obnoxiously arrogant and there's not much you can do about that. But I suppose it really infuriated my bullies - most of whom were insecure, incompetent, spoiled rich kids - that from a very early age I realised that anyone trying to pull me down was only in that position because they were beneath me; and I treated them like they were beneath me, which I suppose didn't help my cause but managed to confuse the shit out of them. I refused to give them the benefit of believing that they were better than me, even though that was what society had taught them; they were all rich white kids going to private schools and, before Perth Modern offered me an alternate route, they were born to the kind of education I would have to fight tooth and nail (and eventually fail) to earn. This is why to this day I get very hung up over school marks, because for as long as I can remember my entire self worth has been pinned to those numbers; it was my ace of spades and my final defence against the bullies. I was better than them, and it was only through their own failures that they were in a position to try and pull me down.
Incidentally, this unshakable knowledge that people only try to pull you down when they're beneath you was...shaken, once the hormones kicked in. I could easily believe that bullies were beneath me, but it was hard to comprehend that boys were, and I genuinely believed I wasn't good enough for the boys I liked. That was really when bullying took a turn for the ugly, because I believed them, and my self esteem took a massive hit. I wasn't good enough for any of the boys I liked, and when you're young and silly that is really a great tragedy. If teenagers are in the business of getting laid and trying to follow absurd standards of beauty then society is in the business of making us feel as ugly as possible. There is an enormous profit to be made, selling solutions to problems that may or may not exist; that is the definition of capitalism. But at what cost? As part of The Bare Truth Campaign, just getting to know other young people at school and at uni and in the cybersphere, I am beginning to realise with great horror and disappointment the extent of the disease of ugly, and its consequences. How many people have we driven to the brink? Why have we made growing up a tightrope that so many people never cross over safely? When I became a feminist I know people were kind of...affronted by my 'fuck everything' approach to how society attempts to sell us cures for the disease of ugly that society itself has created. They didn't like the idea of fat ugly girls thinking that they were fuckable, much less having the right to refuse to be fucked. To them that was and continues to be the ultimate arrogance, and although I haven't really been in a position to reject many guys (as you may have noticed, I am usually the dumpee and not the dumper) the ones that I have left to drown always thought that I was far too arrogant to dare, to dare to walk away from something I knew that they thought I didn't deserve. And that is true - I deserve so much more.
Another reason why I was perceived as arrogant was because I was actively discouraged from being proud of or even acknowledging my academic talents. For all the emphasis on sport and, I don't know, being rich and white, school was and continues to be (thank goodness) an academic institution, and whilst some of the weakest students were inherently privileged there was no denying that at the end of the day in an academic institution academics was the ultimate game of trumps. I was told that if I was open about, you know, my ability to read, it would make 'the other kids feel bad' - and then immediately told to shut up when I tried to tell the teachers how horrible it is to be the slowest kid in a school in a sport-oriented country. It was blatantly unfair and a rule that I refused to follow; I was good at what I was good at, and the whole world better know of it. There were no medals for being good at writing, no carnivals and ribbons, you don't get to stand on the blocks and sneer at all the other kids when you've written something good; but they took away my right to be proud of myself, and when I was proud of myself despite that, that was 'arrogance'. Well, fuck them.
I know people continue to think that I am arrogant, but ironically this label of 'arrogant' has made me incredibly insecure. It is incredibly defeating to be constantly told to not be proud of something you have every right to be proud of; I am quite literally good at nothing else, so when I wasn't allowed to be proud of my academic achievements I felt like I had nothing left to be proud of.
I am also incredibly insecure in my relationships, although that isn't without good reason. I am always told that I am being picky and fussy and arrogant, but to be honest, I'm just insecure. I'm insecure in relationships that don't give me what I want, and what I deserve, and if looking out for myself is arrogant, then so be it. I'm arrogant. And so are you. Insecurity has always prevented me from standing up for myself, from acknowledging what I do and do not deserve, and arrogance has been the only way to facilitate that.
I am - or have become - unbelievably insecure; insecure to the point of tragic. The thing that irritated me most about being a manic pixie dream girl, and the thing that irritates me the most about having a reputation for eccentricity, for arrogance, is that people think that you can take much more than you actually can. People think I need cutting down because in their minds they have conflated my minor flaws into full blown failures and when you cut down someone like me...well, shit happens. I have become so wildly insecure and I hate myself for it - perhaps my greatest insecurity is insecurity itself. People were and are and will continue to be afraid of people like me, annoyed by people like me, but let me tell you - the people who are bullied into suicide, depression, eating disorders; they're people like me. We appear strong and we appear unafraid but we have never, not once, deliberately created such a facade; it's a mask created for us by society and forced upon us against our own volition. Remember that, when you think you are well within your rights to cut someone down. You're not.