Recently I’ve come in contact with old friends from the past–my long ago and really awkward past—junior high.
When you leave a place before you see the full growth and maturity of individuals, they stay in your mind as goofy kids forever. You have gone on, grown breasts, had lasix surgery, changed your name (by marriage), and made a life, but those you leave behind are still caricatures portrayed in the school yearbook: the fun one, the nerdy one, the popular one, the one who could burp The Star Spangled Banner, the one who was allergic to everything.
Junior high is painful for most kids. Awkward growth spurts, beginning acne, haircut mishaps, and just wanting to fit in, makes for a boatload of preteen angst and nail biting. I’ve always wondered if the kids that were deemed “popular” ever suffered from the same maladies or were immune because of their position on the junior high food chain.
In junior high pretty much all the teachers scared me. I believe that’s why I’ve suffered memory loss from that time. I can picture some of them, but can’t remember even one of their names. This phenomenon is in direct correlation to my endeavor to be invisible during class. It apparently worked. And since I wasn’t really there, I can’t remember much.
Meeting these individuals now after all these years is a bit cathartic as well. Seeing the cheerleader, bookworm, class clown, etc, in grown up bodies, with grown up jobs and families is a big equalizer. Everyone has flaws. Receding hairlines, weight issues, botox addiction, ugly children, whatever. Back then it was hard to see the flaws in others—just in myself.
Now that I’ve matured and grown up, I now see flaws in everyone else and find that I’ve become nearly perfect. Isn’t the circle of life strange?