I wote this a few days ago, and just haven’t had the time to post anything. The assignment is old, but I thought that since spent time writing this, I should get it out there. Do I get my A now?
Today has been one of those intense days where I’m all over the place wanting to do everything but certainly not what I’m supposed to be doing, like working. Don’t get me wrong, thinking back about it, I did get quite a bit done today, but none of it made me happy. I seem to be frustrated by everything, obsessing over everything, and all I want to do is go home to hide under the covers in bed. Not much has changed since junior high. Blame Mama Kat for that terrible segue, if you must. You see, I’m doing an assignment- a typical day in Jr. High.
I was very shy during those formative years. I was bookish, I could, and still can, read a book a day sometimes more if Little Man takes a loooong nap. I tended towards procrastination, but managed to get good grades anyway. I was awkward, self-conscious, silly, and worked really hard at staying out of trouble. I wore glasses, had acne, and a bushy perm, spent several evenings per week, and a weekend morning in ballet class. I could draw and was in advanced art classes starting at an early age. My friends and I weren’t as beautiful as the popular kids, but weren’t as dorky as the super-geek outcasts either. I got picked on and generally spent a lot of time furtively darting down hallways trying to avoid a guy that had picked on me since elementary school. He could make me cry.
A typical day started with a wake-up call from Mom or Dad. Much time was spent in the bathroom curling and spraying my hair into a replica of Raquel Welch’s feathered do, which my hair dresser called “Mall Hair.” Breakfast usually involved eggs and toast, or oatmeal and toast, but always toast was a staple. In the early morning chill, I’d walk up the driveway, making noise to scare away the skunks, then cross the road, then a large vacant lot, to catch the bus at my best friend’s stop.
The bus ride was long, we lived in the middle of nowhere. To pass the time I remember listening to music, lots of giggling, but not too much shenanigans. Our driver was a hard ass, not afraid of actually connecting a solid kick to the rump while booting a misbehaver off of the bus, sometimes in the middle of a long stretch of empty road. She’d driven many of us since kindergarten, we loved her and had a healthy respect for her.
Upon arrival at school, my best friend and I would troop in to our hallway together, grab our books from our locker and head off to class. My favorite class was Shakespearean English. The teacher would tell us crazy stories about working in the ward for the criminally insane at Medical Lake. He did this to let us hoodlums that there was little we could do to shock him so we shouldn’t even try. He made Shakespeare fun and alive. I’d circulate from class to class with varying levels of interest: gym bad, psychology really good, math yuck, history yeah. After school it was either home, for a home-cooked meal and homework , or ballet, home for homework, and bed. Things continued like this for a while, until I lost my best friend.
I stayed bookish and quiet, while she blossomed into a socialite. She was thin and pretty, and could handle conversation; her confidence grew while mine dwindled. She started going to parties, which I had no desire to attend. She started hanging out with the popular kids, I got quieter. Making friends was tougher for me, and I definitely gravitated towards more solitary activities, being in a group was torture. She and I drifted apart. I think the group of guys that picked on me, sensed that I was more vulnerable, and the heckling became constant. I dreaded going to school, the acne got worse, and I started obsessing about my scalp it itched all the time, my weight, and the miniscule amounts of dirt under my nails, and I frequently got sick. I spent more and more time trying to avoid other people, which only seemed to bring out the meanness in the other kids. Mom said that the boys picked on me because they secretly liked me, I wished that was the case, but I think they just thought I was weird.
Being in ballet didn’t help anything…at all. I got picked on at school and made fun of in ballet, I didn’t fit in either place. I wasn’t leggy, or skinny, I developed early, and frankly I sucked at dancing. My oldest friend who took class with me, was considered to be as weird as I was, we were quite a pair. I actually caught some of the girls going through my clothes picking out items and mocking them. I was hurt by what they were doing, but that was the first time I got really, really angry.
Something happened over the summer between my 8th and 9th grade. I think I got mad enough after the ballet incident, that I didn’t care anymore, I was going to be me, and the rest could SHOVE IT. I still wasn’t super outgoing, but I was less afraid. The big bully who had been tormenting me since elementary tried to slam my hand in my locker for the gazillionth time and I caught the door without even looking. As he passed by I gave him my biggest, drop dead right this instant you pathetic piece of meat glare, and from then on things got better, not great, but better.
Junior high was not fun and I still carry some of the baggage around. I recently saw some of my schoolmates at a high-school reunion. Not surprisingly some of the geeks grew up to be wildly successful and the popular people, well, they look a little used up. One of my classmates is the bassist for Foo Fighters and the other is on a popular reality show. And me, I work at a really big software company, I’m married to a really cool buy and my son lights up my world every day. So there popular people….Thppp!