This will be a short story, because it was with my husband, Ben, of course….. Just kidding.
In middle school I was horrifically unpopular. Middle school-aged kids are the fucking worst. They are so mean. I tried to fit in, but the harder I tried, the more I was picked on. Which I now see was because I tried WAY too hard. Nowadays, I get along great with pretty much all people. But when you’re in middle school, no one cares if you’re witty or if you’re a virtual encyclopedia of useless pop culture knowledge. All they care about is if you have new Adidas, Jnco’s and a huge, white binder. The kind with the clear plastic that you can slip pictures of Usher that you ripped out of Tiger Beat into. My mom didn’t see why I needed one of those like EVERY-FUCKING-ONE ELSE, and bought me a 99 cent blue floppy binder-ish thingy that was the bane of my existence. I carried that awful thing all year with papers overflowing and spewing out the sides. Thankfully I talked her into getting me a fancy, white binder like everyone else for eighth grade, but instead of pictures of Usher, I had pictures of the oldest kid from Home Improvement. You know, the one no one thought was cool because he was totally overshadowed by JTT? Yeah, that guy. Thankfully this whore-bitch on the school bus did me a huge favor and pulled the picture out of my binder and threw it out the window when I wasn’t looking. I was pretty devastated, and to this day I am still so pissed about that.
Factoring in that, for fear of hurting peoples feelings, I would accept hand-me-downs from anyone (even my grandma [no, I’m not joking]) and the fact that with puberty came not only boobies, but also my strange velociraptor posture (boobs out, butt out, arms curled up safely at my sides), I was doomed. And as if I wasn’t doing a good enough job of being freaking awkward on my own, I am convinced that my mom was deliberately sabotaging my efforts at being cool, as well. She wouldn’t let me wear dark red lipstick like Gwen Stefani because, in her opinion, I was too pale. And when I asked if I could wear my hair in a loopy bun with the two strips of hair hanging on either side of my face like everyone else my age, she said “Is it supposed to be so messy? I don’t think so. But I’ll do your hair like mine, if you want?” If I am incapable of telling my grandma that I don’t want her hand-me-down shoes because the teacher has the same ones in red, you can be sure as shit that I couldn’t say no to my mom, for fear that she would be offended. It was only one day of mom hair. That’s not so bad, right? So I reluctantly agreed to let my mom put my hair in an Elaine from Seinfeld style pouf with a big, ugly barrette to complete the look. Imagine my horror when I showed up at school the next day looking like a home-school reject, only to discover it was picture day! I got to relive that amazingly humiliating day every time I looked at my student body card that year. Ahhh, memories.
Because of the constant bullying that only got worse as time went on, and a series of problems at home that even I can’t put a positive enough spin on to make it funny, I ended up dropping out of school in the eighth grade. Fast forwarding past all the sad and painful stuff, I re-enrolled in school about halfway into the second quarter of my freshman year of high school. At lunch on my first day I walked with my tray of food into the cafeteria, looked around and decided to make it easy on myself and I sat with the Special-Ed kids. To this day, I have a special place in my heart for the kids in Special-Ed. They make awesome friends. They don’t give a shit about your hair or shoes, they just want to tell you about their Cocker Spaniels and give you odd compliments like telling you your shirt looks jazzy.
About three seconds after I sat down, a table full of popular kids waved me over. At first I was nervous because I didn’t know what their intentions were. Did they want me to sit with them, or did they want to steal my metaphoric picture of the oldest kid from Home Improvement out of my metaphoric binder and throw it out of the metaphoric window? To my surprise, it was the former, not the latter. The next day a popular boy saved me a seat on the bus. This was completely confusing to me, but I took to being popular like a duck to water. By my sophomore year, I was very well accepted by my peers (especially the boys) and, with the exception of a few catty bitches with big foreheads who grew up to look like a freaky, tranny Skeletor, I got along with pretty much everyone.
One downside to my new-found popularity, was that apparently during my year of being a dropout, everyone my age turned into total hoe-bags. Ok, not all of them, but I was shocked when my friends would talk about having sex. Like, with boys. I now realize that some of them were lying to get attention, but here I was, 15 years old and I hadn’t even come close to kissing a boy. The thought of kissing one of the popular boys who were giving me so much attention totally freaked me out. What If I messed it up? I felt like I was way behind everyone else, experience-wise. But fear not! For I devised a brilliant plan to remedy this. The solution? Youth group, of course!
I went to a youth group that met up in the middle of nowhere in the country. I’m talkin’ dirt roads and nothing around for miles. At this youth group there were all kinds of fun things to do. There were always activities planned. There was a trampoline. There was a tree house. And there were boys. I met this one shy kid who was my age, pudgy, pubescent, and good enough! When everyone was distracted by my friend’s band playing a new song that they wrote, I grabbed that kid by his not-nearly-masculine-enough hand, and we snuck off to the tree house. That’s where the magic happened. Turns out kissing isn’t all that hard. We managed to sneak back into the crowd without anyone realizing we had left. This guy turned out to be a real asset to me. A few months later we snuck off to try other things that were also my idea, but our absence was noticed this time and it resulted in a really embarrassing lecture from one of the youth leaders about abstinence. She assumed that we had snuck off to do it, but that wasn’t the case at all. I had decided to sneak off with him because I had recently gone on a walk in the woods with a boy from school that I liked and he kept trying to get me to touch his penis through his pants, but I couldn’t stop giggling so he asked me to stop because I was weirding him out. I just wanted to sneak away from youth group for a few minutes because I was curious to know what his pee-pee looked like, which he was more than happy to demonstrate. I’m hoping because he was still in the chubby, awkward phase of puberty, that he just hadn’t quite finished developing because even though it was the first penis I had ever seen, I knew it was really small. Though fascinating, nonetheless.
In conclusion and in summary,
- You can only achieve popularity when you stop trying so damn hard to fit in (also, boobs and eyeliner help).
- High school sucks, but not nearly as much as middle school.
- And finally, send your kids to youth group so they can learn about God and what a penis looks like.
Me, in 6th grade at outdoor school.
My 15th birthday.
Last day of school, freshman year.