So, I’m not dead. But, I obviously have not updated in a long time. In order to make up for the lack of entries, I decided to dig deep into my humiliation pile and summon a gem (or some costume jewelry at best). So put on your wading boots, because we’re headed into the shit heap that was middle school.
However dumb middle school was, and however much more dumb the politics and dating were, I think we all have been emotionally scarred by it in some way. I recall desperately wanting to be part of the drama, the on- off romances, and to be gossiped about me in the corridors like the popular crowd. Unfortunately, that was not the case – I know, I was shocked too! Who wouldn’t want to befriend the gangly new girl with unshaven legs. I mean, it’s not as if the hair was off-putting.
In seriousness, the hair was not that bad since I hadn’t yet reached puberty. What I had on my legs was more like a delicate farm of baby hairs. Being as skinny as I was, I’m surprised nobody mistook it for lanugo (the bevy of hair that grows on fetuses and on anorexics).
[Do yourself a favor: Do NOT Google image search lanugo.]
Eventually, towards the end of the seventh grade year, I was finally allowed to shave my legs. But by then my geek status had solidified in a way no pink disposable razor could alter. I was still the girl who had walked around with hairy legs for most the year. Plus, to say that my legs were only thing holding me back socially would be a lie. I had a lot of personality flaws as well, I mean I was into inflatable furniture, and I thought Teletubbies and Beanie Babies were cool. Basically, years of exposure to Lisa Frank had strongly influenced my aesthetic taste. I was still very much a child. While the rest of the school had moved on to “macking” and “scamming” (slang for kissing), I was still at home watching Pepperann. To add to all of these elements, I also had developed a stutter. What? Why?! From w-w-where?!! It eventually went away, but only after it had thoroughly played a role in my social demise.
Meanwhile, at home, my parents were getting divorced. Dad had come out of the closet, and mom was not taking it so well (read: she went temporarily bat-shit insane). In an effort to distance myself from the emotional-storm of home life, I would obsess over boys. To give you an idea of how limited my perspective was, here is a diary excerpt from middle school (2/25/2000):
“Today we went to Holocaust Museum. Whoa! It was sad. Guess what? I decided that I don’t like Jake or Paul. Paul was just a crutch for Tom, and Jake is just a friend. So now I like no one.”
Note: We had spent all day at that museum, following a cross-curriculum thematic unit that lasted about three weeks, and all I had to say was, “Whoa!”
I eventually just spawned a crush on an imaginary person. No joke. I gave my journal a name, and pretended I was writing to this long lost boyfriend. It wasn’t that crazy, I knew he was imaginary –and could even provide some rational for the invention as it prevented me from wasting my affections on the boys at school — Still, isn’t that what TigerBeat is for?
Yeah, ok. I think it might be safe to file this under: You might need a shrink if…
So where am I going with all of this? To be honest, I am not sure. The more I write on this subject, the more I place myself in an emotional head space. While reading my diary, I realized I was reading the writing of a bubbly 13 year old girl who put a lot effort into suppressing all the negativity of home life by focusing positively on school life. And when school life got to heavy, she retreated into a safe space within herself, where it seemed perfectly logical to have a paper boyfriend. — I want to reach in and hug that girl, and tell her that everything turns out okay. I want to tell her that Mom finds happiness, and Dad finds acceptance, and most of all I want to tell her that she won’t always be alone.