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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Worthy of Posting Again (IMO)

Hello, all! We, er, B has been busy all weekend doing work around the house that I can't wait to post about (yay for progress!), so I haven't had so much a spare second to write since, well, as Rach would say I've been living it soooooo I found one of my fav posts to repost. And, with V-day a mere two weeks away, I thought it was worthy of reposting.

Take a walk with me back in the late 90s. Let's hold hands as we revisit 8th grade...

Originally posted on February 3, 2009.
A Valentine Tale to Warm Your Heart

This is me circa 1998 before 8th grade formal. We're at o'Charleys. And, yes, I did have my sideburns curled into tight, spiraly ringlets (who didn't) and I did dance with a boy for the first time at that dance. And it was very, very awkward.

After my ridiculously healthy lunch of raisin bran, chex mix, and a bowl of fresh blueberries, I am now contentedly blogging and watching The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants II. Naturally, I have already read all four books. But that is no surprise to you, since you already know about my adoration of YA lit.

Speaking of YA lit, I recently came across Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume. It's a compilation of essays by some amazing women writers describing how the Era of Blume affected them growing up. Now, I certainly didn't rely on Judy for everything (I had a pretty involved mom who kept me in the know), but I loved and still love the controversial Judy Blume. While Summer Sisters is my standard re-readable beach text, I could totally relate to the awkwardness of many of the middle-school-aged-characters, and have had many a cringe-worthy moment paging through my own journal entries from that pubescent period in my own life.

Awkward is describing that time in my life mildly. Just thinking about being 12 and 13 again sends my gag reflexes retching. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I was a total nerd, content reading The Babysitter's Club long after my own age passed that of it's All-American characters. My friends and I would sit, phone in hand, anticipating our first call, after having passed out our own BBC fliers throughout the neighborhood.

Furthermore, I was happy in my naivety that Santa Class actually existed when I was 13, and believed that if I prayed hard enough I might never have to endure my first period or have to ask my mom to buy me a bra. Double cringe. I remember my mom giving me a copy of Are You There God, It's Me Margaret and my cheeks flushing when I read its content. I immediately decided I would NOT read it. My prayer was more like, Are you there God? DON'T EVER LET ME GROW UP! I wanted to stay a little kid forever and I NEVER wanted boys to so much as notice me.

Socially, I was a middle school Quasimodo. I transferred my 7th grade year to a school whose hierarchy of those-who-are-popular and those-who-are-not had been established way before I made my way onto the scene. Moreover, the division of popular girls wore Tommy Girl perfume and sported the latest Nike Air Maxx on their feet, and I wore K-Mart knock-offs and tapered jeans that barely reached my ankles. (Praise be to God the year long, bootcut jeans were invented.) I distinctly remember sitting in class and a boy asking me if I was waiting for a flood. The nerve.

And then there was the Year of the Candygram, which will forever be a pivotal point in my adolescence. You see, every year around Valentine's Day, the student council (which I, of course, was on) would sell Candy Grams for $1. Candy = oversized lip lollipops Gram = personalized message that included a lot of LYLASs, BFFs, and TTYLs. I bought like $20 worth of them - which was actually a lot of my babysitting money that I earned from my rather successful club that included mainly me. My theory was this: if I send Candy Grams to all of the popular kids, I will then earn their friendship and become popular myself. Because, when you're a second class citizen at 14, this is all you desire.

To make a long story short, utter devastation followed when I received a fraction of the Candy Grams that I sent out, mostly from my nerdy comrades. To top things off, the same day we received these special treats was the same day as the Sports Banquet. (I played volleyball. My towering height had to be good for something.). While I sat at a table with my parents and the parents of a fellow player, everyone else sat at a table with their friends. I was the only kid at a table full of adults, further exemplifying just how big of an outcast I was. Or at least that's how it appeared to me when I was 14. And the whole massacre of a day doesn't end there.

I won the award for Most Improved Player. My coach prefaced my introduction by telling the entire audience that I would get so nervous before each game that I would have to go the bathroom multiple times before I would hit the court. Ahhhhhhh! Can you even believe that?! Blood is rushing to my face as I type.

It was from that night on that my sole goal in life was leaving my nerdiness behind to pursue a career worthy of popularity...

I would become a cheerleader.

As pathetic as it sounds, I devoted the rest of 8th grade, and much of 9th grade to trying out, and eventually making, the cheerleading squad at my high school. I left a promising volleyball career with potential scholarships, for a backhandspring I would never perform without a spot and the attention I so desperately craved from the popular girls. This would go on to be a slumber party topic I would broach frequently when I made it into their ranks (along with, WHY DIDN'T YOU SEND ME A CANDYGRAM IN 8th GRADE?!) And, after I conquered my own insecurities along with realizing the shallow lives that many "popular" people lead, I made a sincere effort to be friends with everyone from that point forward - popular or not.

Now you know the rest of the story.

And thank you for listening to the cathartic rehashing of my unabashedy awful middle school years.


Mommy Webb said...

Are You There God? and The Babysitters Club were two of my absolute favorite books OF ALL TIME! I must confess that me and my friends were a little obsessed with starting that time of the month and how it would all happen. Haha. Oh, and my favorite in TBC was Claudia:).

Anonymous said...

Love this post. And oh how so many of us can relate. Summer of my forever favorites. Here's hoping our boys don't have to go through some of those middle school experiences, right?

michelle said...

This story sounds so familiar!! It made me cringe reading it because it pretty much was the course of events for me too! Actually, exactly. =)

Anonymous said...

LOVE it!! I have a little something for you over at my place. Hope your having a great day! XOXO

katherinebee said...

I feel like I'm reading my middle school diary!!