Today, someone (whose opinion I care more about than I’d like, tbh) called me “pretentious,” which, to put it lightly, kind of stung. Being pretentious is something I’ve always tried to avoid because frankly, nobody likes that person (especially me).
The problem with that, though, is that I’m sure he’s not the only one who thinks this about me. Over the years, I’ve gained the distinction of being “the trophy friend,” which is pretentious in and of itself.
I’m the friend that gets paraded around parents and friends at social gatherings and school events- an homage of sorts to the expression “you are the company you keep.” My friends mention that I traveled to Europe this semester, speak French, grew up in New York, and will be attending an “elite” law school next Fall.
Every superlative or paper plate award I’ve ever received speaks to this perception:
“Most Likely to Succeed”
“Biggest Hipster” (Ew. Thanks I guess, TCHS Debate)
“Most Likely to Take an AP Class”
The thing that sucks is that I actually like doing super pretentious things. I devour 20th century classic literature like I need it to live, and talking about art history gets me going like nothing else. I’ve had some of my happiest memories at concerts I paid $15 to attend because the bands weren’t popular enough to warrant a stadium show, and I always look fondly at the child-sized velvet horse riding helmet in my closet.
I hardly ever talk about these things with other people because I know exactly how it looks- Celyra is bourgeois/pretentious as hell. The fact that I enjoy these things privately without any affectation is largely irrelevant when other people discover them. They chalk them up to me being the Over Achieving Trophy Friend, and that really sucks.
Pretentious, I am not- but self aware, I am (perhaps to an excessive degree). Once people get to know me, they realize that I’m probably the least ostentatious person they’ve ever met. I consider myself fairly down to earth, not at all self- serious or important, and spend most of my conversations making jokes or sarcastic comments. Even when giving presentations to my sorority, I make wisecracks and laugh at myself because I’m still a normal, silly 21 year old- I just have often esoteric interests I pursue in my private time.
But because perception is reality, I’ll always be That Girl; The well-read, well-traveled, intellectual elitist who has nothing in common with anyone, and, to pretentiously quote Oscar Wilde, “Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”