I’m sitting in an airport lounge in San Diego, waiting for my flight. For the past ten days, I’ve visited all my old haunts– places I grew up, schools I went to, places I went with the very few friends I had as a kid. It’s been strange and emotional.
I was just at Montgomery High School the other day. Well, I drove past it. It reminded me of how useless I once felt. How much of a loser I felt like. I now live thousands of miles away from that school. I don’t even live in the same country. But the pain of those feelings still stings.
I remember PE class. I hated that class. Always. As much as we were told schools were a place for learning, every awkward kid quickly learns it’s the place to divide the winners from losers. That’s when we played a team sports and the strong kids were team captains and they picked their teams.
I was always the last to be picked. On a good day, I was second to last. That hurt. I can still feel it.
Throughout our lives, we have hangups. We have things that bother us or make us feel we are not good enough. Some of those come from our parents. As a parent, I pray I didn’t screw my kids up too badly. But a lot comes from the kids we were surrounded with.
This will sound very conceited. But I love it when someone calls me cool. I love it because I know it’s not me. If you think I’m cool, I know I fooled you. You fell for the facade I try to put in front of you.
I’m not cool. A 15-year-old kid proved it to me when they let me stand there until the end of picking teams. They proved it when they looked past me. They proved it when they treated me like a non-person.
I don’t care how unsuccessful they are now. I don’t care that they are working in a gas station and I have meetings in London. They showed me who I was a long time ago.
And I succeed because I continue to try to prove them wrong.
I guess I should thank them for all that I have now.