Summer Camp Magnetism


When I was 11, I went away for summer camp for a month with my neighbor and a group of her friends from school. It was one of the funnest summers of my life. Between water skiing, archery, arts & crafts, dance and canoe, I felt like I was a cast member in the TV show "Salute Your Shorts", minus the boys and all the buffoonery.

As in every place in society, there was a group of "cool" girls. They weren't stereotypical or mean, but they always seem unreachable. They were the pretty, tall, white and athletic girls in camp, and they lived in their own little bubble. I often admired them from afar, mostly because they were everything I wanted to be. But there was always one of them that caught my attention the most. Her name was Britt. She was about 2 years older than I was. She was one of the youngest in her group of friends, but you could always tell she was the most loved. Her energy was radiant, and I was mesmerized. I didn't talk to Britt at any point during camp that year, and didn't see her or think of her much until I came back the next summer.

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were talking about emotional songs and how we connected with them when we were little without even knowing what the lyrics were about or having ever experienced those feelings. I suddenly remembered my 2nd summer at camp, and how I spent an entire summer listening to "emo" songs on my red CD player (Destiny's Child's 'Emotion' was usually on repeat). At the time, I remember feeling sad, confused and out of sorts. Unlike the year before, the girls I went with had stayed home. I was alone, only surrounded by the friends I'd made the previous summer. They were OK, but our first languages were different and I always felt a little bit like an outsider.

That summer, I finally talked to Britt. While my cabin the 1st year was isolated from the rest, the 2nd year, I was smack dab in the middle of all the action, and Britt's cabin was just next door. She had been separated from most of her friends too, so she didn't seem as unreachable as before. I've always been a bit silly so one afternoon, a friend and I were playing made up characters in the porch of our cabin, wearing silly hats, making a show out of it, when Britt called out to me by name from the other cabin's porch.

My heart stopped. First, I was super embarrassed she caught me being a nerdy loser. Mostly though, I couldn't believe she knew who I was. She even pronounced my name right, which was hard for most girls at camp, let alone someone who didn't know me. She was asking to borrow something I didn't have, possibly a hair drier, but I remember being thrilled. At the time, I chocked it up to being excited that the popular girl knew I existed, but deep down I knew better. Her friends also came to know who I was that summer and I never got even half as excited when any of them talked to me as I did when Britt did. We never had long conversations, but she talked to me in passing a few times and we always waved hello from porch to porch.

My sad love song music phase makes sense now. I was into Britt, but I wasn't coming to terms with it, or understanding what I was feeling. I just knew that there were "emotions taking me over, caught up in sorrow, lost in the song". Now those lyrics and my connection to them make sense.

Today, after seeing some post about "adult summer camp" on Facebook, I remembered Britt and decided to look her up. After some serious stalking, I found her! She's just as cute as she was when she was younger, but what I found left me SHOCKED. Britt is in a relationship. With a girl. Britt likes girls. Britt likes girls just like I like girls. WHAAAAAAAAT.

Now, this isn't to say that Britt and I are meant to be and that I'll reach out to her and we will live happily ever after because A. She's in a relationship, B. She probably doesn't even remember me? and C. She lives HELLA far from me.

This got me thinking, though. Was my attraction to Britt magnetic? Did my subconscious know that she also liked girls? Did she like me? Are we drawn to people who are drawn to us without even realizing it? Does every girl I crush on have a crush on me, even if they live in straight denial (like I did for 26 years of my life)?

These are questions I'll probably never get answers to, but I will remain curious.