Playing with the Pretty Girls

Today is September 1, 2010 … A great day to start writing again.
School is back in session for the Farish clan.  Three schools, three different start times, three different personalities all trying to reintegrate themselves back into the school mode.  For Abi and Skylar this isn’t too hard.  They are both returning students at two different high schools.  For Cydney, this year is full of changes.  My baby entered the seventh grade!  New school, new friends, new cliques, new lockers, 7 periods on three different floors, and one big tummy ache… for the mom.
The day of seventh grade orientation I awoke with a doozy of a headache, stomach ache, and all around bad attitude.  How was my baby going to transition from grade school security to junior high insecurity?  Was it just me?  I know what you are thinking, "She’s done this three other times already.  What’s the big deal?"  What is the big deal?  What is it that had me so tied up in knots that I couldn’t even think straight?  and the answer is … I do not know.  I don’t.  Other than to say that transistion is hard for Cydney.  This summer we saw friends come and go, alliences made, friendships broken.  It is a time of changes: bodies, hormones, personalities and clothes.  Who has all the ‘right stuff’, who is giggly enough or cute enough or tiny enough, who wears all the right clothes and is just sparkly enough to make it?  Who deserves to be picked on, left out, snubbed?  and by dip. who gets to make those decisions that will impact everyone else?  UGH!  I do not like junior high school. 
So now you are thinking, "Wow, she must have been a total jr high loser to be so insecure."  Having had a sister just one year older probably helped me to integrate into jr high a bit easier.  Being somewhat ‘blonde’ and oblivious probably didn’t hurt either.  I actually don’t remember too much about that time in my life.  Perhaps it’s a case of selective memory.  Or perhaps it goes back to having no expectations whatsoever due to what happened to me the Spring prior to entering Hillside Junior High School. 
I was in the sixth grade at Roslyn Heights Elementary, playing hopscotch during recess with Leslie, Jackie, Allison and my best friend Christine.  Our teachers, Miss Bonner and Mrs. Smith are standing in the shade of the awning watching us play when suddenly Mrs. Smith blurts out to me, "Why don’t you leave the pretty girls alone?"  WHAT?  Truly she did.  Mrs. Smith in that very instant suddenly alerted me to the fact that I was not good enough, pretty enough, or clever enough to play with this group of girls.  What was worse was that I never knew that I wasn’t a pretty girl too.  Or that pretty mattered.  There I stood, humiliated in front of my friends.  Embarrassed, hurt, confused and so ashamed to have been called out like that.  and then it dawns on me … I have no right to be here.  I SHOULD leave the pretty girls alone.  From that day forward I never played hopscotch with the pretty girls.  I never played on the playground again.  Nope, if I was that hideous, it was best to hide out in the bathroom stall during recess (preferably with a good book) than to ever be called out in front of anyone ever again.  I was safe and the pretty girls were safe from me.  Heck, everyone was safe from me.  and the very worst part of all … I never told my mom.  I never told anyone.  Why tell someone something that they likely already know?  I remember feeling humiliated for my mom for she was the one that had to been seen with, and claim, this hideous creature as her own.  My poor, poor family.  I already knew that I didn’t look like my sisters.  They all had the "Elggren look"  to look at them one could instantly see they were related. Not only to my parents, but to the whole Elggren side of the family.  The Elggren nose, the Elggren hairline, the Elggren smile, the Elggren height … I had none of this.  I was the odd-ball, black sheep, "are you a cousin?" kid in the family… it never bothered me until that fateful day.  Suddenly "unique" was not so special anymore.  I was the ugly kid.
(now while you are wiping the tears from your eyes I will say that pictures confirm that I in fact was not the ugly kid.  I was an average, gawky, girl in the sixth grade that was no better or worse than anyone else in the looks department… something I wish I had known then)
It is only natural to surmise that having undergone this traumatic experience in the Spring of my sixth grade year, the Fall of my seventh grade year would naturally be marred by history.  So then again, perhaps I was oblivious to a lot of the goings on in junior high school because being the ugly kid gave me free license to be the obnoxious kid too.  I changed my personality to be the person that suited any particular situation:  you need a class clown?  here I am.  You need a smart-aleck to talk back to the teacher?  Over here.  I had so many personalities and so many incarnations during my junior high years it’s amazing I wasn’t committed for having multiple personality disorder.  Luckily, sometime in those awkward, awful, insecure three years, I did manage to find myself.  Or at least become comfortable enough with who I was to finally drop the masks and accept myself as myself.  Ugly or beautiful I deserved to be in the same school with all the other kids.  and then it was on to high school.
None of my kids have ever been the ugly kid.  They are all smart, funny, witty, intelligent and absolutely adorable to boot.  So what’s to worry about?  Dustin, Skylar and Abi all survived junior high school.  Cydney will too… once she learnes to open her locker.
Truly?  For the love of God who in their right mind would ever in their life go through junior high school again?  Not me.  Ever.  Never.

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