Sunday, April 12, 2009

The other side of Fashion

For those who don’t know me yet, my name is Martin Bartloff, the newest member of Team Quake. This is my very first blog on Teen-Seen and I like you to know, I’m very excited to entertain you every other Sunday from now on. Let me say this up front, before I forget. I’m honored to be here and entertain the masses!

When I think “fashion” I think of clothes and the everyday hassle to dress appropriately for different tasks. While fashion is not only about the clothes you wear, you’re often measured and judge by what you wear.

This is a sore subject for the younger generations, so I whine little about my earlier days. I’ve always had a hard time keeping up with fashion, when it wasn’t for the money it was my taste, but let’s not go there.

Just a few days ago, I stumbled upon some old school pictures of mine and I got to thinking. Three long days I dreaded writing this blog about fashion, much like I dreaded being called out in 7th grade by the teacher to solve a math problem on the chalkboard in front of the entire class. There I was lost and exposed, a total Geekwad. Stained jeans, much too short and worn tennis shoe where the sole slapped the floor well before my foot did. Every year for Christmas my wealthy aunt dropped off two large sacks of used clothes, previously worn by her slightly younger and smaller children. My brother and I spent hours sifting through the clothes, often fighting over what fit neither of us in the end. The hand-me-down clothes I wore to school were often subject for bullies. For that alone I hated going to school just as much as I hated not being wealthy like my aunt.

Back then I stood in front of twenty classmates while some students snickered and others whispered. Do not move, I froze staring, embarrassed back and forth between teacher and chalkboard waiting for a clue, a tip, the help you expect from a teacher, right? I wanted to punch those kids who made fun of me. I sucked so bad at math and I hated school. Fashion had a lot, if not all to do with it. Fashionable clothes are not cool if they don’t fit you. I often pretended to be sick and stayed home. My mom wrote excuses and when I returned to school I was even more behind and taunted. The teacher once told me, and I will never forget the look on his face, “I’m surprised you’re still alive as many times as you have been sick this year.” I assure you, he meant it!

By 8th grade I finally figured it all out, skipping school was making things much worse. By that time I had an equal, not so-fashionable friend who happened to be the tallest, most feared individual in the school. Needless to say I was never messed with again and I improved to be the 3rd best student in my class. While bullies dropped out early, I decided to pull the, then optional year to graduate with a high school diploma. I miss going to school and I’d do it all over again if I could.

Let’s get back to fashion. While writing “Torn from Normal” I made sure to dress Andy Riley, my main character, appropriately so he wouldn’t have the same problems I did. Although bullied, neither fashion nor raggedy clothes are among the reasons. I’d tell you, but I’d rather have you read “Torn from Normal” and find out for yourself as my debut novel will take you very deep into the emotional depth of seventeen-year-old Andy Riley.

“Torn from Normal” is scheduled for release in June this year, but I prepared an excerpt on my blog for those that can’t wait to meet Andy Riley.

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Martin Bartloff said...

And that is me on the Moped, my very last day in high school.


Ophelia Julien said...

In school I learned that you don't have to worry about fashion when you're invisible! It's true that it's a lightning rod during the school years, more's the pity. When I write, I always have at least one character whose fashion is so far out in left field other people leave them alone. Your school days sounded pretty painful - but then remembering that is crucial to writing, no? Thanks for sharing all of that.

Gayle said...

Martin, I think you looked adorable on your moped. Have you been back among your high school crowd? Just curious. I, for one, did not attend my reunion.

Pam Ripling said...

I well remember how important "how you look" was in junior high school. My own daughter, now in 7th grade, faces the same thing today. Everything has to be just right or she is uncomfortable and cannot focus on her math.

Times really don't change, do they?