Growing Up is Hard

Growing Up is Hard
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Junior high school (now called middle school) is an awkward time for about 98% of the general population. Feelings of sexual arousal are coming into play. The body is changing in ways that are anything but graceful. Nothing is small potatoes; everything is a big deal.

I was a chubby child. Despite the fact that I couldn’t even get a whole hamburger down, I had a layer of fat that just wouldn’t go away. Because of this, I, of course, was a chubby preteen and teen. In my eyes, it was much worse. I was fat. There wasn’t any doubt about it as far as I was concerned.

The way I saw it, my only redeeming quality was that I had nice eyes. They were those soulful brown Bambie eyes. (I guess they still are if you go by what Hubby says.) How did I know this? I actually got compliments from both boys and girls about how great my eyes looked.

As a young girl in junior high school, the art of flirting was being learned. I used my eyes every chance I could get. Mind you, I didn’t bat them, looking silly. Instead, I was always looking at everyone head on, looking him or her straight in the eye. I didn’t see any definite signs that it was working until I was in the eighth grade though.

At the beginning of that school year, I noticed a change in how I was being treated by the other kids. They were asking me what I thought on the serious subjects of being a teenager. ‘How do you like the design I made on the cover for my math book?’ ‘Do I look okay in this dress?’ ‘Do you think he’s cute?’ ‘Do you think she’ll talk to me?’

Yes, I guess you could say I had become somewhat popular despite the fat I carried around on my short body.

I wasn’t popular the way some of the girls were who already had boyfriends. However, I really didn’t want that yet anyway. I was weird. I liked the age that I was and I didn’t want to rush anything. I loved having friends of both genders. Having just girlfriends sounded incredibly boring to me. Even on the street where I lived, I was hanging out with both girls and boys close to my age, playing games like touch football and dodge ball.

The number of kids who were limiting their social life by gender, except for the one boyfriend or girlfriend, mystified me. Boys would just hang out with boys and the same thing was happening with the girls. These same kids were so eager to grow up so fast. They couldn’t wait until they could drive. They were itching to be old enough to be out on their own. Yet, their circles of friends clearly indicated that they weren’t ready to embrace the world as a whole. This didn’t make any sense to me. It doesn’t to this day either.

My early days of becoming a teenager were filled with unexpected happiness, drenched with sadness, and a variety of self-exploration. I was delighted in actually knowing what I wanted for my birthday instead of assuming I must wanted whatever anyone else was saying them wanted. I found myself crying for others who expressed horrors of abuse in their homes. Learning how to understand what I could and could not do for both others and myself were often difficult and bewildering.

I’ve heard different people say that their teenage years were their worst years. In many ways, I can appreciate their perceptions. However, as grueling and perplexing as those years were, I would go through them again if I had the change.

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4 Replies to “Growing Up is Hard”

  1. I was more of the quiet shy type in school. I didn’t date. In fact, I pointedly said that I wouldn’t date until I got into college, because I saw too many of my girlfriends “fall in love” with someone new each week and it seemed pointless to me. That meant I didn’t learn a lot of the flirting techniques. I’m more of a direct person, when I get past the shy aspect 🙂

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    1. Hi Aleta

      I never understood that ‘falling in love’ either. Even in junior high school, this was a common phenomenon. When I got into high school I dated but I refused to ‘go steady’, another idiotic notion. I do, however, think I truly loved the last boy I dated in high school, although I never said anything about it until many years later. I loved my years of being a teenager. I found them exciting and fun.

      Thank you for finding the time to stop by and give me your thoughts on this post. I know that Gregory takes up a good part of your time.

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  2. I wouldn’t change any of my middle school years either, even though my mother was severely bipolar. All of the experiences we have shape us into the person we later become. To change those experiences would be to become a different person.

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    1. I agree with you completely, Jeri.

      I had moderately progressive parents. They didn’t have objections to the music, hair, dress, or politics of my generation. All they required of me was be honest, courteous, and make the most out of myself. Yes, I was lucky.

      I’m glad you found time to visit my blog and put in a comment. From the posts I’ve read at your blog, I can only assumed that your days are filled with writing and multiple reviews.

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