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Not to say this is what happened, but here's an anecdote for you:

I was shy through school. Actually, I still am. You know me here and on FB so you (along with most people) would probably think I'm lying. Even xDH never believed me when I insisted I was shy.

In school, I tried very hard to fit in. I never really succeeded, but I did manage to get the attention of a bunch of guys. That's often the way that works out.

It's been years, and now through MS and FB I've been back in touch with many people I went to school with. They all remember me quite well, and thought of me as popular. People I *don't* remember from school have said they remember me. Evidently a lot of people liked me.

But that's not what I remember at all. I remember a skinny, ugly girl with glasses and braces who never had cool clothes (or even new clothes), who never had a group of friends around her, who never felt that anyone even noticed if she showed up or not, who never says what others think she should.

The glasses and braces are gone. I no longer think I'm ugly. I still don't have cool clothes (or even new clothes). I still don't think I'm popular. I still don't say the stuff people think I should say.
I still feel hurt but not surprised that almost nobody came to my 40th birthday party. Just my parents and two couples - one whose house it was, and her sister from next door. (Granted, it was pouring down rain. But that's only the second birthday party I've ever had. Why? Because no one showed up for the first one either.)

But I'm guessing you might describe me as popular. Others do. But I've seen popular. This isn't it.

Either popular doesn't mean what I think it does, or things aren't always what they appear to others.

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