"Comparative Figures" was a look between myself at certain points in my past and how I am now, but in kind of a melancholic perspective. This entry should look at the better changes, as well as the special person that helped make it happen.
As I was growing up, I had skipped a grade in school fairly early, so I was almost always a year younger than the people around me. This became a sociological issue around the time kids started going through puberty before I did. I was always a tall kid, but since I was not going through my physiological growth spurt while everyone else was, my stature diminished significantly in comparison, and I was subject to a fair bit of bullying.
I was a very sensitive child up until then. As such, it made me that much more of an easier target for ridicule and sporadic violent attacks. Over the course of 7th and 8th grade, I became more and more of an angry child.
By the time 9th grade, and thus high school, took place, I was finally beginning to grow, and I shot up past most of the people who used to torment me during elementary. Because of my bitterness, I lashed out and became rather vengeful. As a result, I got into trouble a fair bit, including once or twice with the police. It was also in 9th grade that I met someone pivotal.
Her name was Jessica. She was a beautiful, quirky girl, talented at making me laugh and not feel so angry all the time. We became fast friends and we were soon inseparable in the halls of my school. It was through her that the raging fire within me began to smolder, and I returned to being a more reserved, shy individual.
However, her outgoing, devil-may-care persona caused her to be my diametric opposite, and kept me intrigued with her. Little by little I began to develop strong feelings for her over the course of our friendship, but my timidity and my low self-respect simply would not allow me to say anything. As the school year progressed, my feelings continued to grow stronger.
Near the end of the school year, yearbooks were being distributed. She told me that she would be going to the Catholic school down the road, which meant that we wouldn't be able to spend as much time together as we had in the past. This saddened me a fair bit, and made me more determined to try and reveal my true feelings for her.
However, as we exchanged yearbooks, I still couldn't say it out loud. I looked down at the book that belonged to her, sucked it up, and wrote down everything that I felt for her and what she meant to me. I knew full well that she was going to read it immediately after I handed it back to her. I had never felt so tense before in my life.
When we exchanged them back, I quickly buried my face in my book, not wanting to make eye contact. As I slowly read what she wrote to me, my eyes widened. In her own words, she wrote pretty much the same thing I wrote. I slowly looked up at her, and she slowly did the same. The two of us had cheesy grins on both our faces, and within me this incredible feeling of triumph overwhelmed my being and I felt invincible.
That was the start of a meaningful, four-year relationship, which took me on an incredible journey of memorable moments and discovery. Her personality always seemed to dominate my meek one, and we mostly did things that she wanted (not because she disrespected my opinion - I didn't really have much of one, and I enjoyed her ideas anyway).
It was through my continual interaction with her that I shed many of my failings - my negativity, self-loathing, lack of confidence, and timidity. I came out of my shell more each day because of her. I learned that I can be kind, caring, and compassionate to others - and that became my identity: the protector.
She was also my first in so many ways.
I owe much to Jess. I hope she is well.