About Me

I am a proud wife and mother, and a born again Christian. I work from home as a writer while taking care of Miss N, our six-year-old, Miss M, our four-year-old and Miss C, our newest bundle of joy. Life is crazy but so much fun!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ninth Grade - Learning About the Cruelty of Teens

I'm participating in a project called Mommy's Piggy Tales, which gives women like me the chance to record their youth in 15 blog posts. It's been a lot of fun and has helped me remember how important the seemingly unimportant things in life were when I was young. If you want to read the others, you will find them here: Birth story, preschool, first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, seventh grade, and eight grade. To participate in the project, click the button at the bottom of this post.

As we sponged off after our PE class run in the basement classroom, since our school’s newly built building had no gym or showers, everyone was scrambling to make themselves look beautiful again after the hard workout. A couple of girls were looking at a list written in a notebook. All of the seniors were working on their Senior Books and filling out the “most likely to succeed,” “first to get married,” etc., lists from their class. These girls, which were not in my circle of friends, were creating one of their own for my class. I sauntered over to get a look and try to be “cool” like them. As most would in my situation, I searched the list for my name. When I found it, my heart sunk to my toes.

There, about midway down on the list, was my name next to “most nerdy.”

I choked back the sobs as I finished getting dressed. I was NOT going to let them see me cry.

We went to English class next. Mrs. Fulbright was our teacher. She noticed something wasn’t quite right and simply asked me if I was OK. I started to sob. I was humiliated, not only by what was written, but also by the fact that I was crying in front of my classmates. I can’t remember why it meant so much to me, but Mrs. Fulbright simply placed a box of Kleenex on my desk, and continued teaching the class. I guess it made such an impact on me because she left me my dignity, instead of making a big deal out of my tears. From that day on, Mrs. Fulbright was one of my favorite teachers. Eventually she left to move elsewhere, but every time she came back to our church to visit, she always sought me out and told me how pretty I looked. Coming from a beautiful, classy woman, this compliment meant even more to me. She may never know how much her support meant to me, but it was something I will never forget.
(Another homemade dress from my mom. She was a very tallented seamstress. I loved this one and the fact that I had curves ;) )
Later, the girl (who’s name I cannot remember, she was only in our class for a portion of the year), told me, “I’m sorry, we didn’t mean for you to see that.” The apology was almost as painful as what was written. Not, “we shouldn’t have written that,” but “we didn’t want you to see it.”

I learned then how cruel teenagers could be. That same year I got what I thought was my first compliment from a boy. We were in choir, and he looked at me and said, “You look like a million bucks.” As my heart started to glow a little, he finished by saying, “All green and wrinkled up.” Again, my heart sunk.

On a lighter note, ninth grade was a time I probably gave my parents the scare of their lives. The summer before ninth grade I got my first pair of contact lenses. It was a good change, eliminating the non-cool bulky glasses that I had since about third grade. Every year our high school started with a retreat. It was a two or three day camp session with preaching and Bible study. While at retreat, I dropped my contact lens. When I found it, it was torn. I was crushed.

I called my mom on the camp’s pay phone. It took multiple tries to get a hold of her, and I never let the answering machine pick up because then I wouldn’t get my precious quarter back from the phone. Being before the days of cell phones, I had to wait until they were home. When I finally got an answer, I responded in tears, stating, “The worst thing that could ever happen to a girl happened to me.” I can only imagine what horrible things she was thinking on the other end of the phone. Then I blurted out, “I dropped my contact on the ground, and when I found it and picked it up, it tore!” I was in tears. I honestly thought they were going to be so mad at me! I think the way that I told them about it must have softened their anger a little. After all, I hadn’t been abused or hurt, so obviously a contact lens wasn’t that important. Looking back, it warms my heart to think that I thought of that as the “worst thing that could ever happen to a girl.” What a safe childhood I had.
This is the Christmas of my ninth grade year. What am I so excited about? I got a letterman's jacket for Christmas. Funny - I lettered in English, so maybe I was the "most nerdy" in the class. Regardless, it was the only thing I truly wanted, and the one thing I was sure I wouldn't get with a price tag of between $100 and $200 at the time. I did not realize at the time how much they sacrificed for me and my brother to have a nice childhood.
A new session with Janna will be starting soon, so check out the project using the link below.


Janna said...

I love this post. It's so human and honest from painful memories to a woman with wisdom and parents who consistently work to give their children the best.

I'm really enjoying getting to know you better through this project. Even though we've been friends it helps me learn all over again what makes you tick.

Pepper said...

It's hard not being part of the popular crowd and seeing it in writing is even worse! Your teacher probably did the best thing she could and I love that you were able to see her even after she left. Maybe she saw a little bit of herself in you or just really understood what you were going through.

Amy@ MomsToolbox said...

Your words put me right there with you, seeing those mean kids and feeling your pain... or at least a part of it.
How brave you are to be honest and share... and to remind us all to raise compassionate children of our own.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Wow..what we all made it through at different times in our life...and we still live to tell it. Sometimes I wonder what happened to all the mean girls...I am sure at sometime in their life it came back to them...so sad.