Middle School messed me up, but I'm okay now

Last night we took a ride on our Harley which let me tell you, on a night like last night there is nothing like it. As the passenger I really have nothing to do other than think and enjoy the ride. About halfway through the trip, I snapped to attention when I realized we were driving by the school where I attended seventh grade. 

Suddenly a rush of oh my God that was probably one of the worst years of my life came over me. There were so many things wrong with that year, I have been forever traumatized. Not that being an adolescent female wasn't tough enough, I had to add being quite possibly the biggest nerd to the mix. Deadly. 
Though I'm not one of those people that can remember every single day of my life, I have an uncanny way of remembering details of certain times and events. So remembering the purple short sleeve turtleneck tucked into the turquoise linen culottes (yeah, that's what they were called), the new brown penny loafers with the shiny pennies and my new tortoise shell eyeglasses - all carefully chosen for my opening day of middle school (junior high back then) is a piece of cake. 
Keep in mind that in grammar school I was also the ultimate nerd. I always wanted desperately to be cool; to be popular. I wanted to have a better figure, not inverted excuses for boobs; or legs that were so skinny those groovy black patent leather boots that looked awesome on Julie B. just kind of hung on me. 
I wanted to go steady with someone and wear their ID bracelet. I wanted to have long blonde hair like Debbie L. But no boys ever liked me and my mom always kept my hair cut in a short pixie. I completed 6th grade with a week at science camp with the class and had the ultimate horror of falling down during a hike and farting pretty damned loud. My nickname of "EG"(excessive gas) stuck like glue. 
So, starting seventh grade I had the highest of hopes that I would start fresh with new kids from other schools who hadn't above all else, heard the fart that my classmates said was the fart heard around the world. I never knew things could get worse, but they did. 
The first day I fell hopelessly in love with Sonny. I had never seen a boy any cuter and I was a smitten kitten. He was in my math class and on top of not understanding the first thing about Algebra, I spent the entire year staring at him, dreaming about him and wishing just once he would look at me the same way. Didn't happen.
The kids from grammar school still found ways to torture and bully me. The bigger problem was that they had new people to share their shit with. New people to make fun of me. And there were plenty of those that did it without their help. I had hoped so much that I would make new friends and still felt that desperation to be popular. Didn't happen. 
Being worried all the time about fitting in and day dreaming about Sonny took it's toll on my grades. A straight A student in grade school and I was barely passing any classes. Joining the local Jewish youth group on Thursday nights I thought for sure I would make some friends. At least in a religious setting kids would be nice. Didn't happen. The group of greasers at the school all happened to be Jewish. Kind of like the Jewish mafia only it was a bunch of 12 year old badass girls. 
Mad at me for one reason or another, Marlene G. tried to beat the shit out of me behind the temple one night. I found strength I didn't know I had and pushed her in the mud. She was wearing the new fringed suede jacket her boyfriend "Buzzy" had bought her. As she was getting up she looked at me with fire in her eyes and declared "now you fucker, now you die". I did not die. I am here to tell, I ran like hell. And by the way, who beats people up on sacred ground??
I was later beat up in a school bathroom by another greaser girl Debbie R. I lost my best friend Helene over a shoplifting incident as I was becoming rebellious and wanted to be noticed. And then the ultimate happened. Terri G and I found a purse someone left in class. We took the 12 bucks that was in it. I was screaming for attention. I got caught. I got suspended for 3 days. My mom was so pissed she hacked off my bangs which I was trying to grow out. But then the strangest thing occurred. 
My return to school was welcomed by all the greasers feeling bad for me and thinking I was cool. It was as if the bad kids were a sorority and I had completed the ultimate test of hell week. I didn't understand what was happening because I was still a nerd. And then suddenly seventh grade ended. The district boundaries changed and my new found greaser friends stayed at that school. I had to move to a new one that was mostly my favorite pals from grade school. I was again, alone.  
As we passed the school tonight and it faded into the distance, I thought about how maybe that was a great year for me. Because it traumatized me I changed forever. It made me realize that I would never, ever take any friends or future popularity for granted. As I got some boobs and managed to outgrow some of the nerdiness, any compliments I ever received were never expected and always genuinely appreciated. The friends I have made since that time I never took for granted. And to this day, my heart aches for kids who are bullied and made to feel like outcasts. 
Most of all, I think I learned that I could overcome just about anything.  And the most important thing I learned over everything else: if you fall down and you have to fart, hold it. 

Leave a comment