School Memories – Part 2

30 Aug

Junior high was a horrendous experience. I am so so so so sooooo glad that my daughter didn’t have the same experiences that I did. I am betting that is because she has such a marvelous outlook on life. So happy all the time. She was always a happy girl. Me? Not so much. I’m not sure where I picked up my skepticism. But I never had that belief outpouring of positiveness that she does. I was always watching and waiting for the other shoe to drop. That’s kind of my take on growing up. I was waiting for it all to blow up.

Happy go-lucky...that's my girl!

I hate using the word hate, but I really, really, really hated junior high. I can’t stress enough, how much I disliked it. If there is one thing that I have learned about myself in my life’s journey so far, it is that I look to others for my sense of worth. I am getting better at that, at finding who I am in me rather than in others, but it is very slow going. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’m not sure who I am. So as a middle schooler in the late 70’s who was a little bit different, I didn’t fit in. The cliques started developing in 5th grade and continued full force in junior high.

I was always different because I could do stuff other kids couldn’t. I could play guitar, and I started playing other instruments as well. And when I was in junior high I used to go to high school for band. I was always ahead and always good. And that was enough for people not to like me. That, and I was incredibly quiet, terrified really, so I didn’t say much to people. I later learned that in high school the other kids thought I was stuck up. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. Painfully shy, with no self esteem. And I looked to the other kids for my sense of self and couldn’t find it. I just always felt like the outcast. So it is hard to find good things in my box of school memories related to junior high. I remember one time in 8th grade one of the popular girls said she loved my handwriting. That was probably the highlight of those three years.

Now, high school was a different story. At the time I didn’t realize it, but looking back at it now, I really enjoyed high school. Or maybe I just really enjoy looking back at it now. With that perspective of time. I was still shy, and quiet, and kept mostly to myself, but loved music. Loved it. That was my passion in high school. I had some fantastic teachers as well. My freshman year English teacher, my band director, my AP English teacher. My Adv. Algebra teacher – he was funny, and I had a few friends in that class who would talk to me. But my favorite thing about that time period was being “the chick bass player.” That kids from other schools knew me. Well, not “knew me” but knew of “that chick bass player.” I got a big kick out of that. And that was my persona back then. That was me. I’ve missed that terribly.

That was a time when I thought I knew who I was. When I probably felt my most complete. High school and then college. I felt pretty good about college too. I struggled a bit with a major, who doesn’t, right? I went to school as a biology major and switched to commercial art. A big change. I’d never imagined myself an artist. I still don’t really, although I have made good use of my degree. I worked as a graphic designer for many many years. Still use my skills on an almost daily basis at my “day job” too. So I think I made a good choice in the end. But neither of those majors was what I wanted to do. And even now, in my mid 40’s I’m not sure what it is I want to do. There were so many things I thought about…envisioned myself doing, but in looking at other people to define who I was, I didn’t do any of those things I envisioned. I bought in to other people’s expectations and lived up to those instead. I missed being me.

That’s part of my journey, part of the reason I started Blanket Statements. I’m trying to find me. I’m trying to figure out who I am. And figure out what it is I am here to do. And I hope that perhaps I can help one other person realize that it’s ok to be who you think you are. You don’t have to live up to other people’s expectations. You can live your own life. The way you always wanted. I saw a magazine article today while waiting for my son’s MRI. It said, ” You’re never too old to be what you always wanted to be.” I thought I was too old. But maybe I’m not. I’ll figure it out.

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