Sixth grade was a rough year for me. I was sitting at the semi-popular table at lunch and was delusional enough to think I was the cat’s pajamas. Looking back, I simply was not. Maybe because I used phrases like “the cat’s pajamas.” And now, a Swedish study is telling me that my unpopularity will cause me to suffer from heart disease and diabetes later in life and I will most likely start doing drugs and try to kill myself.
If I had known this when I was 13, I would have combed my hair on a more regular basis.
The study, which is most definitely making me want to eat enough candy to put me in a diabetic coma/do drugs/crawl into my bed and cry, was done by Stockholm University and the Karolinska Institute and assessed children in sixth grade for their degree of “popularity, power and social status.”
Now, I have to ask: What kind of power were they expecting from a 13-year-old child? His ability to convince a girl in his class to go 7 Minutes in Heaven with him?
Popularity is such a trivial theory. And no, I’m not just saying this because I’m bitter that I’m at greater risk for alcohol dependency than others. Popularity in middle school ran parallel to who had the best desserts in his or her Power Rangers/My Little Pony lunchbox. By eighth grade, you were considered a cool girl if you had boobs and a cool guy if you were allowed to touch them. If you made it to second base, you were destined to be popular in high school. And if you went to an all-girls high school like I did, well no one was popular in that case.
I got to college and finally came to terms with my own social status, wherever I happened to fall on the social food chain. But now I’m learning that I can never truly leave my unpopularity in the past, as it will have a long-term impact on my identity, behavior and ambitions.
Currently, I feel pretty good about myself. No sign of diabetes and no one has had to talk me off the ledge just yet, but who knows. Perhaps the time I split my pants during a talent show performance and my entire middle school laughed me off the stage will be the cause of my ultimate demise 20 years from now.