The Girl Who Didn’t Love Andrew

“You’re weird” someone said to me the other day “I suppose it’s the Gold Coast that does it to you.”

“How so?” I asked, letting my diplomacy answer for me.

“You weren’t like this when I used to know you.”

“Hmm,” said I, quirking my eyebrow in a strikingly thoughtful pose that would have looked deceptively like James Bond, had James Bond been a 5’8” chick with killer heels and a little too much mascara.

And just as my mind was starting to form a brilliantly witty and equally insulting response I realised – they were right. These days I do in fact display an attitude that 16 year old me would never recognise, although I don’t know really if I have changed all that much.

Anonymity had always been my shield as a teen, it made me shy and unable to show any sort of individuality – and I blame primary school for that. One day in particular.

It was the day my school decided it was time for a ‘casual day’. Yay, no uniforms! How exciting. Especially because my mum had just brought me a new rah rah skirt (they were cool back then… really… well maybe not, but I was 11 so it wasn’t about cool – it was about fun!) So off to school I flounced in my rah rah skirt and a turtleneck sweater, to discover that it was also table swap day – every girl had to sit next to a boy (thankyou so much Mrs Hinkley, I’ll never forget you for that!)

I had to sit next to Andrew.

I suppose this wouldn’t have been so bad, but for the fact that somebody decided I had ‘dressed up’ for Andrew, and “Alissa loves Andrew” became the catch phrase of the week (I didn’t love Andrew by the way, he had dirty fingernails and smelled a little like a permanent texta.) It was my first lesson in standing out, and from then on I tried to just ‘blend in’.

I grew a long fringe and hid behind it, I wore only the clothes that I saw others in, I deliberately failed subjects in school and I made certain I showed no interest in anything at all. Looking recently at the group photo’s of my ‘group’ at school I also noticed I’m not in any of them, so skilled was I in the art of not been seen. I was, at least in my own head, a ghost, invisible, someone whom no one would remember after school had finished and we had all grown up, and that’s the way I liked it.

And so it was, invisible me, skulking around from class to class, doing my homework, pretending not to, hanging out behind the canteen where none of the ‘Golden Kids’ would ever notice me, until suddenly my perspective changed.

A kid I liked moved away from my hometown, never having known I liked him, possibly to never remember me again – suddenly I wanted something different, I didn’t want to be invisible. I made a halfhearted attempt to be noticed by someone, anyone. Hello, glitter glue face dots and suddenly ultra strange English oral presentations (well you never know… the history of hippie jeans may very well have included some very famous jean wars, only us, in our human world, would never had known about them had I not brought it to everyone’s attention in Yr 11 English.)

No one noticed. What could I do? I had made my bed. Back to invisible me.

Enter the Gold Coast, and the chance to reinvent myself. Or rather, be who I really wanted to be. I discovered heels, hair straighteners and any other amount of female finery that previously I had shunned. I discovered I could make people laugh, make friends of strangers, and dance on tables if I wanted to (in a completely un-seedy context of course!) No one here knew me, and no one had any expectations of a shy girl, dressed in black, hiding behind her hair.

I no longer care if people look at me and mumble in disapproval under their breath because my daughter and I are practising our power-slides on the terrazzo floor at the local shopping centre. I smile when someone looks me in the eye, instead of casting my eyes to the ground. I walk proud, and I act it too.

So yes, to others who knew me back then I may appear different, weirder than I used to be. However, to that very small handful that knew me well, I appear no different, because it’s not that the Gold Coast has changed me in anyway, but rather it has given me the confidence to be me, and not just ‘the girl who didn’t love Andrew’.


~ by Alissa Anderton on May 21, 2010.

13 Responses to “The Girl Who Didn’t Love Andrew”

  1. Love it. You and I share similar childhoods that are now expressed by similar wits. 🙂 But I never had a rah-rah skirt…I rocked a mullet at that age.

  2. love it, you word yourself so well, i think u have re-invented urself perfectly even tho you didnt have to! i thought u were pretty cool back in the day x

  3. nice blog ,great .==

  4. I’d just like to let you know how much I learnt from your website Liked you.Hope 2 be back soon for some more goodies

  5. I can honestly say that I have noticed no change in you. To me you were always who you are. You always looked me in the eye and I felt that we were always pretty honest with each other. If I didn’t I wouldn’t have missed half of maths to have lunch with you when you were doing work experience, or whatever it was called, at Arena. 🙂

    • Oh, come on… it’s not like maths was a better offer! LOL, if you were anything like me you would have found any reason to miss half of maths!! haha.

  6. (^^^)

  7. the smiley face worked so why not the shark? 😦

  8. so will you be naming this “kid you liked who moved away from your hometown”???

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