The out girl. My name is Artemis, and I am the out girl. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the out girl. You’re probably wondering what that even means. Well, we all know that one girl. That girl that makes almost every conversation exceptionally awkward, obsesses over the works of Edgar Allen Poe, and might be pretty if she lost a bit of weight
It all started in a Catholic school. Go figure, right? So I’m sitting there, minding my own business, when this nun decides to flip my writing desk like a canoe. Sister Mary-Ruth was her name, one I can’t forget. That day was the normal routine for the two of us. I would piss Sister off, and she would make sure that I knew it. This time, she was outraged that I, after being asked five times, refused to clean the desk out. Picture a one-elementary-student writing desk with a narrow metal rack beneath. That small cubby, which barely held all of my textbooks, had more junk food wrappers than she could bear, and so, she emptied out the contents of my desk onto the royal blue carpet. I forgot to mention that she did so in the middle of class time, with everyone…staring…at me. I had one of my miniature panic attacks, as usual, which were probably the reason I began avoiding confrontation entirely.
When class was dismissed for recess, I stayed inside to organize my desk under Sister Mary-Ruth’s supervision. I peered up at her from the floor where I sat, sorting out trash from supplies. Her tired-eyes met mine, and she sighed deeply, as if to say, “What am I supposed to do with you?” She rotated slightly in her chair, and shook her head.
Sister had a habit of being somewhat overbearing and a reputation of being quick to anger. She was usually right to scold any of us when she did, but she frequently overworked herself. This time was a little different, though. I finished getting my desk in order within the first five minutes of recess and had ten minutes to sit in boredom. The room was silent enough to hear the wind’s faint whistle through a crevice in the windowsill. But Sister Mary-Ruth probably didn’t hear it. She just sat, elbows on her thighs, slightly slouched over with her hands over her eyes. I watched her for a little, trying to determine whether she was upset or just dozing off like old women do. A couple minutes later, her hands readjusted, and between the spaces of her fingers, I spotted a few tears bead down her cheek before she erased them with her palms.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell at you, but I want you to make organization a habit. You can’t get anything done when you’re a mess and living in your clutter,” she mumbled at me. I never imagined those words would stick with me for so long, but I suppose it’s because they’re true. I was that frustrating smart-ass in Sister Mary Ruth’s last class, who likely learned more from her than any of her other students. So, I cried at her funeral, not because cancer had won; she’d never even mentioned being sick. I just couldn’t believe I would never get a chance to thank her.
That was ten years ago, but few has changed with me. I’m still a mess, and I’m still living in clutter, just not the candy-wrapper and broken-pencils kind. I’m a pretty average-looking girl, aside from being a little chunky, at average height of 5’5″. I tend to wear blacks, greys, and neutral colors but will compromise for “punny” T-shirts. I don’t usually wear make up, other than to take half of my photos on social media sites, and I tend to have more meaningful conversations in-text than in-person. I have a pretty hopeless case of binge eating disorder, which I’ve tried to mask using two other eating disorders. Most of the people around me get tired of trying to figure me out, and I get tired of trying to fit in, leaving me with a considerably tiny network of friends. I know, yikes.
My goal is simple. For anyone who can’t relate, I hope this stream of thoughts and experiences might give you a fresh perspective on things. For those who can relate, I welcome you to share your experiences. From hereon, this little nook on the internet is dedicated to all of the girls who have ever been an out girl.
~The Out Girl