Learning About Myself, or, Why Fourth-Graders are JERKS!

I wouldn’t have said the word “jerk” in 4th grade. I was too nice for that. I was also too nice to realize the far-reaching ramifications of 8 words.

These musings came about as a result of a Socrates Cafe discussion led by the magnanimous David Ebert. Thanks, Debert. As soon as I sat down and heard the word “alienation,” this memory was all I could think about.

It was the summer between my 4th grade and 5th grade year, and I was attending VBS at Prestonwood Baptist Church … aka Prestonworld … aka the Baptidome.

The implication here is that I didn’t have any friends. With 5 or 6 sections of 4th grade VBS classes, I felt lost. Homeschooler me was still discovering social skills, and the best I could do was find a group of people who would tolerate my presence and hang out with them.

This worked well until one day after a big assembly time, when we split up to go off to group activities. My group of people got up to leave, so naturally, I grabbed my stuff and jumped up to go, smiling. The lead girl (there’s always one of those. I even remember what she looks like.) turned around and huffed. “Isn’t there anyone else you can follow around?”

And they left. And that was it. And the last two days of VBS I spent by myself. But that was life in 4th grade, I figured, and I just needed to deal with it.

My self-image is horrible, in most every aspect, and it wasn’t until Saturday night that I realized how much those 8 words have informed my view of myself.

Still, I’m surprised when people want to hang out with me.
I’m skeptical that people actually enjoy my presence.
I don’t believe it’s possible that a guy will actually like me. And if someone does, I hang on emotionally past my better judgment, because obviously this couldn’t happen again.

8 words. That’s all it takes.

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4 thoughts on “Learning About Myself, or, Why Fourth-Graders are JERKS!

  1. Katie E. says:

    Hannah – I miss you! I so enjoy hanging with YOU for who YOU are! Your laugh is contagious and I love your spunky personality. I still smile when I remember singing Veggie Tales with you while cleaning. Keep pressin’ on!

  2. Zekky says:

    Yes, that was me too. It took a very long time for me to figure out that some people don’t actually hate me.

  3. Ben says:

    Hannah Chupp,
    I enjoy hanging out with you. I enjoy your presence. And I believe that those two statements could be said truthfully by many, many people around you.

  4. dearhezzie says:

    Um, at VBS I always wished you were in my grade so we could follow each other around. I’m sorry for that haunting memory (I have some of those too).

    And yes, I realize you wrote this two years ago. How did I find it? I don’t know but I did and I wanted to leave the “hez was here, 2012” stamp.

    P.S. I think we did say jerk before 4th grade, but it was always in the context of “a jerk is a tug, a tug is a boat, a boat is on water, water is nature, nature is beautiful, thanks for the compliment.” Of course now that our logic has advanced passed elementary level we realize there’s a little fallacy with that minor preposition “on,” but, whatever… Love you bee!

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