Truth or Dare: Middle School Complexities

3 Jul

middle school

I saw this today, and it made me laugh for multiple reasons. The obvious being how truly ugly people often look in middle school.  It’s a very awkward time, as everyone is walking around in this puberty laden body that is morphing between child and adult. One day your friends have flat chests and are wearing bras for no reason, and then a few weeks later they are proud of their triple A cups, and while there is only mild pubertal progress, they are undoubtedly convinced they are the next Pamela Anderson.

Middle school was particularly interesting where I grew up, not just because of the essential hell that is the years of puberty, but because in a small town everyone in middle school knows the names of everyone else, even when they act like they don’t.  Also, in middle school, and even high school, your memory works in a very odd way.  While you may never remember the name of a site of battle in the Revolutionary War listed on your 7th grade Social Studies test, you will forever remember the name of the girl whose bra fell off and into the floor as she waltzed down the hallway.  You might forget the capital of Uganda, but you will always remember that guy that as he sat across from you in 5th grade Science, picked his nose as if it was the job of a life time  with full benefits and a rocking 401K, maybe even the kind of dream job that lets you bring your dog to work. That’s how passionately his picked his nose, and that one completely useless, but embarrassing fact, will be forever burned into your memory in a way that special math formulas you can use to calculate the volume of a large swimming pool on the ACT will never scar to the sufficiency needed to please you, if you are an overachiever.

My most embarrassing moment happened in middle school.  It really wasn’t very dramatic.  I just fell out of my ugly clog while walking into the stinky middle school gym where we all had to sit before school started..  It was a shoe in style for reasons I will never understand, a weird brown suede shoe lined with some odd speckled ribbon. The fact that I wore those shoes should be the embarrassing part of the story. But it really isn’t that mortifying in retrospect, yet somehow all of the weird formulas that cook together to make middle school a near hell hole manage to make that moment in time more embarrassing than when a class full of nursing students walked in to see me in the throes of childbirth.  How falling in front of 11-14 year old kids who probably do not remember the event manages to overshadow nearly 18 people watching a child exit my lady-place will continue to perplex me until my last days.

But that’s just it.  That’s how middle school is.  Everyone is basically ugly and misshapen, yet somehow they are dramatically convinced that they either look really good or really bad with that opinion changing within their soul on a daily basis. And everything, EVERYTHING, is a big deal.

My first boy-girl party was in middle school.  It was for my friend’s birthday.  Everyone talked about it for weeks in preparation.  I remember picking out my outfit for quite a while before deciding on a black t-shirt with blue seams.  The best part:  The giant cartoonish flower splashed on the front with a large smiley face in the middle.  I also wore this despicable tasting lip gloss that made my lips itch, but I was very convinced that the extra amount of shine it produced made the itch worth it. I recall some awkward dancing, truth or dare, and lots of people being very sad when a Spin-the-Bottle center piece landed on someone they had no desire to smooch.

I think a crowning middle school moment that encompasses for both boys and girls is the moment that I became friends with my  current boyfriend, Austin.  He had just moved back to Corbin from Tennessee, and because I had transferred to our school system after he moved, we didn’t know each other at all.  But I thought he was cute.  So I thought I would introduce myself, which was a big step for me because I kind of had a strange sort of social anxiety at the time that meant I could talk on the phone with someone and be very social with people I knew,  but I was not always initially very vocal in person and certainly not at all if I was nervous.  With no idea of how to approach him and really no clue what to say when I did because I knew virtually nothing about him other than knowing a few of his friends, I pulled out the smoothest handful of lines a middle school girl could manage; and I topped  them off with a question they mutter more often than not.  I approached him at his locker on the opposite side of the building confidently and I smoothly said, “Hi.  My name is Amanda.  HAVE YOU BEEN TALKING ABOUT ME!??”

Austin looked back at me, in a kind but puzzled way, and said, “No?”

I’m pretty sure shortly afterward I walked off, but I guess it was worth it, because I love him more than Oxygen.

Overall, while I’ve made middle school sound like a real horror show, I had a great time.  There are times when I miss being that age, like today when I texted my friend Leslie about how awesome it would be if we could have slumber parties every night of summer and every weekend like we were middle school kids again, alternating which house we would go to as to not every make any of our parents too crazy to tolerate us.  I also miss going to the old movies in the Trademart Shopping Center in groups so large that we occupied up to four rows, and the unfortunate movie workers had to come tell us to shut up so frequently that they probably never accomplished making the $7 bags of popcorn they attempted to sell. In fact, I think there were several nights when a really feisty worker would finally just tell us that we all had to exit the building, and we did so feeling like total rebels. Was middle school fun?  Yes.  Do I miss being young and care free? Sure. Would I do it again? NOPE. Not even for a free lifetime supply of designer purses.



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