A HORROR-ible night to remember, Part Two

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I was thirteen, so my only real knowledge about how to win a boy’s heart was from endlessly watching high school romantic comedies and reading Tigerbeat.

My plan went as follows:

  1. Look H-O-T-T! (required spelling in my journal)
  2. Dance with Jack.
  3. Sit back and watch Jack fall madly in love with me.
  4. Enjoy the rest of the night as Jack’s new girlfriend.

Best plan ever.

A few of us arrived at Sara*’s house a couple of hours early to help decorate her garage for the party. Pretty much everyone in the eighth-grade class was going to be there. I grew up in a small town, so my entire class consisted of about seventy kids. It was going to the best night of my life.

STEP ONE: Look H-O-T-T! like a dead, hot person?

After we placed the finishing touches on the impressively large garage we all went into costume mode. I had chosen to go as a saloon girl because it was the only thing left that was pretty and in my size. The girls Jack usually went out with had only two things in common. They were all thin and pretty. Most days I didn’t feel like I was either of those, but I determined to not let that change anything. This night was going to be different because I was going to look like a babe.

If you haven’t already guessed, I was a very anxious and shy person. While changing into my costumes, I started to think about the flaws in my plan. What if I get all dolled up and never even get noticed? At the same time, I didn’t want to be the center of attention. My plan practically required that a large group of thirteen year olds would stare at only me as I entered the party. The more I thought about it, the more I was freaked out.

No, I couldn’t go through with it. I just wanted to blend in, hide. So using some crappy Halloween makeup that one of my friends had brought for their costume, I covered up. Declaring to all my friends that I decided to become a scary version of my costume. I wasn’t ready to be the center of attention.

My friends Sara and Anna* promised to help me with my ultra brilliant plan. Part of me believes they were just sick of seeing me pine over Jack. I trusted that they would find a way to help.

Sara’s garage quickly filled up with the majority of my eighth-grade class.  We were all enjoying the large amount of junk food and dancing to awesome hits from early Destiny’s Child to Britney Spears. Eventually, a slow song hit and kids started to self-consciously pair up. Waiting for a boy to ask you to dance has all the same uneasiness as waiting to get picked for a team in P.E. I hated both situations equally. I was trying my best not to look like I cared by pretending to tie my shoe when I saw a pair of feet appear next to mine.

“Wanna dance?” Jack asked, his pure blue eyes focused on mine.

I smiled and shook my head, dumbfounded and unable to form words. I was back in business.

STEP TWO: Dance with Jack.

I placed my hands on his shoulders; he placed his lightly on my waist. My eyes darted back and forth from his face to my friend’s faces. They were all looking at me with gleaming mischievous smiles. I honestly started having a tiny panic attack, trying to awake from this obvious dream. No, this was real, really awkward. We were spaced too far apart unnaturally swaying to the beat of the song. Then I started to think of all the things my friends probably did to do to get Jack to dance with me. What if they had to like, pay him or something? Eventually, the worry swept away as we started to swing in unison. I relaxed a bit and starting to enjoy myself.   After the song, Jack wrapped his arms and patted me on the back.

“Thanks,” he said and walked away. I’ll take it! I thought to myself.

STEP THREE: Sit back and watch Jack fall madly in love with me someone else.

Sara and Anna* among my other friends dragged me upstairs into the kitchen for a recap. I replayed everything, leaving out little tidbits, like how he smelled of soap mixed with a splash of Brut’s cologne. We stayed up in the kitchen for awhile, discussing who had the best and worst costumes of the night. Breanna Morris* was trying to get attention as a “sexy” pirate. We had a debate on what Madison Miller* was even supposed to be.

Eventually, we went back down to the garage. Seal’s “Kissed by a Rose” (a junior high dance classic) was playing. I looked around the party for Jack, hoping maybe he would be waiting to ask me to dance, or better yet to be his girlfriend.

Everything was moving in slow motion when I saw them together. It was as if they were swaying under a big bright spotlight with a sign with the words “HEARTBREAK! BETRAYAL!” illuminating above them. It was Jack and Breanna. They were intertwined slowly rocking to the music. His hands were resting on her…BUTT!

I could feel it coming. First it was the stinging of the nose then heaviness filled my chest. My eyes were filling up and there was no way to stop it. It was the worst pain I had ever felt in all my thirteen years. I hid on the top of the garage steps trying not to think about what I just saw. It felt like my whole world, my whole dream world, was demolished. My friends tried to tell me he wasn’t worth it or that Breanna was not even pretty. All the usual lies that good friends tell you to make you feel better.

STEP FOUR: Enjoy the rest of the night as Jack’s girlfriend ALONE.

I couldn’t help but stare at them. They looked so happy. It should have been me, I kept telling myself. Word got around fast that Breanna was the one who asked him out. Of course she had a plan too.  It was something that I would have never been able to do. She probably knew that.  We had history.

The night went by, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the party, except me. My friends did their best to cheer me up. I even danced with a couple of boys who I had crushes on before Jack. It wasn’t enough; I was still too devastated.

The sight of my Dad’s gold Pontiac was a welcome relief. I told him about everything on the way home. My dad’s advice was that Breanna was probably a “rebound” from his breakup with April. I looked at my dad with curious eyes.

“What’s a rebound?” I asked. My dad just shook his head and laughed as we continued home.

*Names have been changed because I like looking at baby name websites.

Monthly Blogging Break

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 We all need to love ourselves a little more.

Reliving my past moments from the good to the REALLY bad has given me a lot of perceptive.   From what you can tell from my last few posts I had it a little rough in junior high. Have you ever wanted to go back to tell your younger self that things will get better? That junior high is tiny little dot on your life’s timeline? There are so many things I have learned from writing about my childhood.

I was am deathly afraid of rejection. I had low self-esteem and horrible social anxiety. I had a group of friends that accepted me, but I always had that fear that they would stop being my friends at any moment. I was known as the “goofy one” in my group of friends. The girl who tripped over speed bumps more than once (completely sober I might add). The girl who had trouble forming sentences around the male gender and authority figures. That girl who had such a problem with being the center of attention she refused to walk into a crowded room alone.

I was put into a category early on in my life, and it was hard to get out. I was never taken seriously and was ashamed of being that weird girl. I spent most of the time just being a follower, trying to stay under the radar. I felt like if I said what I was feeling, my friends wouldn’t accept me. I went along with everyone else’s ideas because it was easier. The problem was the only time I really felt like myself was when I was by myself. My bedroom as a teenager was truly my salvation. I could be whatever I wanted free of judgment. I would spend hours singing in the mirror, writing songs, and practicing my Oscar acceptance speeches. In my bedroom, I went through many style phases. There was the witchy goth chick liked someone out of The Craft. Oh, and the time I pretended to be the next Jennifer Lopez (post-Selena, pre-Gigli). My all time favorite was the punk rock emo girl who listened to way too much Yellowcard.

My bedroom is where I found my passion for writing in all forms, my scary movie obsession, and love of indie rock. The real me was left in my room while I went off pretending to be whatever I thought my friends wanted. It took me awhile to embrace who I really wanted to be.

As I get older it gets a lot easier to not care what others think. I stopped censoring my personality. I found at least one person that accepts everything about me because I accept everything about him. I try to embrace my goofy side while exploring my many other sides. I am not afraid to say that I still sing in front of the mirror. That I love to watch cheesy made for TV movies because they almost always have happy endings. That I am endlessly working on a zombie novel that I may never finish. It took me twenty-eight years, but I am finally showing people who I really am.

A HORROR-ible night to remember…

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Sometimes I miss being so incredibly naive and hopeful like I was when I was thirteen. Watching too many romantic teen comedies gave me a false sense of how things worked in the real world. Like that one night or one party could change my luck. The luck I was looking for the boy of my dreams to notice me. Not just notice me but fall in love with me. Like I said, I was naive.

It was October and my friend Sara announced she was going to have a Halloween party at her house. If my life were a movie, it would have been Sixteen Candles. Jack* would have been my Jake Ryan. Most days I felt just as invisible to the whole world as Molly Ringwald did. I only wish that the boy would notice me.

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For the past month, I had been pretty bummed about the Jack situation. I felt like he didn’t notice me and if he did it was because I was that “weird girl” in his science class. He had been dating April*. She was pretty and nice which was a rare combination in junior high. I never had a problem with her until I saw her sitting on Jack’s lap one night.

Anna* and I decided to get some fresh air one night during the high school basketball game when we noticed them and another couple practically making out on the swings. It scared me. I wrote in my journal that night declaring that I was “afraid to grow up in a world of sex” and that Jack “made me sick!” (Lisa Frank Journal).

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After that, I tried to accept the fact that Jack was too advanced for me, and I should just let our love go.

Ok, I let it go for about a week. I kept writing about how I wanted to find a new boy to make Jack jealous, but it never happened. My second plan was to make April unpopular, but I didn’t know how to manipulate an entire eighth class into hating one of the prettiest girls in school. Eventually, I gave into the idea that maybe they were meant to be. I overestimated the seriousness of a typical preteen relationship.

A couple of days before the Halloween party the rumor broke out that Jack and April broke up. At the time, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. It was fate, I thought. That day I came up with a fool-proof plan to win Jack’s heart.

First things first, I needed a killer costume. Being only thirteen I had never dressed “sexy” for Halloween, but this year was going to be different. My idea of sexy was, of course, wearing tons of makeup and looking girly. I just wanted to look different, look prettier. I begged my parents to drive me the twenty minutes to the city to buy the best costume I could find. The costume store had been raided, but I ended up finding a red “saloon girl” dress. The day of the party I got self-conscious of trying to intentionally look pretty. I panicked and ended up changing my costume to “zombie saloon girl”.

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The second part of the plan was a bit flawed. I would ask Jack to dance and not just Jack, but other boys. I was going to make Jack jealous. I thought if he saw other boys taking an interest then he would be interested. I never took into consideration that other girls would be coming up with fool-proof plans.

Come Saturday night, someone was going to be Jack’s girlfriend. It just wasn’t me.

To be continued…

*Names have been changed because I don’t want to be sued for defamation. ☺

Ex-boyfriend plus new crush equals disaster.

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The first time I saw Jack* was pure magic. Our school never had any luck getting cute new boys, but with him, we hit the jackpot. He was everything I never knew I wanted in a boy. His “pure blue” eyes and curly brown hair overtook everything else that was perfect about him. I thought he was flawless because his short, muscular frame looked far less awkward than all the other boys in my grade. Before Jack, I never knew what “love at first sight” meant. The minute I saw him our life together flashed before my eyes. Our epic love would last forever. Unfortunately, he was the fresh meat in a tank of hungry preteen female sharks. I had no chance. 200-29

I didn’t know what to do about Jack. I couldn’t get him out of my head. I wanted him to be my boyfriend. I never wanted anything more, but I couldn’t even make eye contact with the guy. I got red every time he even considered looking my way. I was the “weird girl” because of the multiple times he would catch me staring at the back of his head during science class. I tried to play it off as if I was “zoning out” when really I was trying to Jedi mind trick him into loving me. The worst part about science class was the presence of someone from my past, Trevor*. Yes, my first real boyfriend, Trevor, was my first obstacle in getting Jack. They quickly became friends, which was the worst news for me. Trevor acted weird around me ever since we broke up in sixth grade. I felt as though our break up was amicable, but apparently Trevor had seen it differently. I was so worried about the things that he was telling Jack about me. Cause you know he was. Or I was just paranoid. Nothing is more awkward than my elementary ex-boyfriend catching me admiring the back of his best friend’s head. Oh wait.

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My assigned seat was next to Trevor, who sat right behind Jack. One day in particular I caught Trevor’s eyes burrowing holes into the right side of my head. It took a while to realize because my eyes were busy as usual valuing the curves of Jack’s impeccable earlobes. (Yup. His ears were beautiful.) The sight of Jack’s head moving in my direction broke my gaze. Everything seemed to be in slow motion. I glanced over at Trevor to see him staring with a devilish grin. I looked quickly back at Jack, who looked slightly nervous. I quickly shifted my eyes towards my desk in embarrassment.

“She was totally staring at the back of your head. For like ten minutes straight, dude! She must like you!” Trevor exclaimed, so loud the rest of the class heard. Giggles, then, full-blown laughter erupted in the room. Jack’s face turned a light shade of red as he turned towards the front of the classroom. I sat staring ahead, trying to pretend the whole class wasn’t laughing at me. After class, I barely made it the bathroom before breaking down into tears. I sat in the bathroom, waiting, hoping that no one notice I wasn’t in the lunchroom. My best friends Anna* and Cas* found me, trying to reassure me that Trevor must be still in love with me. “It was the only responsible explanation” they explained. Maybe it was a good thing, I thought to myself. Now, Jack would know that I was interested, and it would only be a matter of time before we would be a couple.

Boy was I wrong.

The Lisa Frank Journal

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I was the girl keeping a journal on every thing in her life whether it was vital or not. Today I was trying to re-read my first official journal, a four inch Lisa frank notepad, from the first part of eight grade.

Beyond the many spelling errors was the narrative of awkward preteen angst.  Filled with dramatic retellings of mean parents and recounting typical days of junior high life. Though the fifty pages or so mostly consisted of wondering when a boy named Jack* was going to notice me. I might have been a slight stalker. I wrote about his many girlfriends that school year (he had A LOT). About how much I hated them and thought they were not right for him (obviously, I was). Pages and pages of my thirteen-year-old self, writing about how I was too good for him. Only to discuss all the reasons why we were soul mates in the next entry.

Jack wasn’t my first infatuation. I had many, starting in fourth grade when I was fascinated with a boy named Taylor*. Our love never was because my selfish parents decided to move us out of the city to a small town twenty minutes away. Before Jack, the worst heartbreak I suffered was from Luke* the summer before seventh grade. Looking back now I realize that Luke was just a slight infatuation. Jack, on the other hand, was a borderline obsession. At the time I thought I couldn’t live without him.

When I was younger I always related better to fictional characters than real people. (Let’s be honest, I still do.) I pictured myself finding my soul mate from just a glance and after seeing Jack’s “pure blue” eyes, (which I mention A LOT in the journal) I knew we were meant to be.

Like I wrote in previous posts, I was incredibly reclusive. Trying to get a boy to like me while being cripplingly shy is pretty horrific.   Which makes for some unbearable, but entertaining moments. So, the next couple of weeks I will be recounting some of my most awkward stories centered on the boy who broke my heart countless times, without even really trying.

*Names have been changed because I like mystery.

Bathing Suits and Lady Parts…

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I practically invented the “crotch shot” when I was twelve.

It was summer, the same summer that Anna* and I spent chasing Luke*. That day we were going to the river because Anna had called and said she wanted to go swimming and watch the older kids jump off the bridge. It wasn’t the highest jump and if planned right the middle of the river could be pretty deep. I always went along with Anna’s ideas because they were always better than mine. While Anna rode her bike to my house, I changed into my two-piece bathing suit.

My parents would not let me have a bikini. Frankly I didn’t want one. I had a hard time adjusting to my “womanly” changes. That past year I went from a training bra to a B cup. I also still had some baby chub around my stomach that made me feel fat. I didn’t want a one piece because I wasn’t a little kid anymore. At the time only old woman and little kids had one pieces.   So instead I got a tankini with matching “boy short” style bottoms. The top part fit me ok. The bottoms however were strangely cut. They fit snug on my waist when they were dry, but the minute I got them wet they sagged similar to a wet diaper. The worst part was that they didn’t fit in the lady parts. The shorts were extremely loose in that area. Which made me question if there was something wrong with my body. Yes, I questioned if my vagina was supposed to be bigger. Just another thing wrong with me, I thought. At the time I didn’t comprehend that the design of the clothing could be flawed. I also figured it would better to be loose than too tight. I didn’t quite know the term camel toe, but I knew it was something to be avoided.

I was all dressed with nowhere to go because Anna changed her mind. She decided that going to the river sounded lame. (Later I concluded that her parents probably told her that she couldn’t go to the river without an adult). Instead we watched some TV trying to think of something better to do. Riding our bikes past Luke’s was out of the question because he wasn’t home that day. Since we already had our bathing suits on we decided to go play in the sprinklers in my front yard. We played for a while, stopping every time a car would pass, just in case it was the older boys from up the street. We didn’t want them to see us playing in sprinklers like little kids, of course. Eventually we just sat around on some towels talking about boys and stuff that we could do tomorrow. I had forgotten about my ill fitting bathing suit as I sat cross-legged in the grass listening to Anna’s idea about riding our bikes to the store to get popsicles. I noticed Anna kept looking down when finally she said why.

“Oh my god, I can see your VAGINA!” Anna said busting into her booming laugh.

I couldn’t say anything. It actually took me a couple of moments to process what she had said. When I realized my best friend had just seen my lady parts, I wanted to die. My face rapidly grew warmer as I wrapped one of the towels around my waist. Even though it was put away, Anna couldn’t stop chuckling at me. I covered my eyes with my hands and felt like disappearing to any place other than my front yard. After moments of awkwardly listening to Anna straining to regain some composure, I joined in. It was the only thing I could do. I really wanted to run into my house and cry, but I was still kind of frozen from the mortification.

“THAT WAS THE BEST MOMENT…EVER!” Anna screamed. I honestly had a hard time trying to figure out why it was the best. In my head I was screaming, “THIS IS THE MOST EMBARRASSING THING EVER.” I wanted Anna to think I was cooler than I actually was, so I went along with it.

Lucky for me, Anna never told anyone about seeing my lady parts. That is a great part of having a best friend. They will laugh at you at your most embarrassing moments because they expect you to do the same. They will keep your embarrassing stories to themselves, unless those stories will benefit them while playing a drunken game of I never.

*Names have been changed because I wrote so.

Summertime Sister Girlfriends, Part Two

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Round Trampoline

After Anna’s idea of jumping on Luke’s trampoline it was hard to separate us from Luke’s side the rest of the summer.   We would all ride our bikes around the neighborhood, go swimming in the river, and of course jump on the Luke’s trampoline. Anna and I thought our three-way relationship was golden. Never really wondering how Luke felt about the arrangement. Never really questioning whether he saw us as his girlfriends or even if he liked one of us over the other. I mean yes, sometimes I caught myself wondering if he actually liked us at all. It was brief thoughts. I would remind myself that he would be stupid not to like us both. At the time I thought everything was so black and white, so easy. We were too young to have sexual tension. There was no hand holding or kissing. We were like three best friends. Two of which were continually planning to one day wed the third, but it was innocent.

One day in July, we all decided to go see a Titanic together. I had been dying to see it because of obvious “LEO” reasons. It was our first real date with Luke and unfortunately my dad was the only free parent to drive us. We agreed to meet at my house at 5:00 pm. At 4:45 there was a knock at my front door. It was Luke, early. After a moment of freaking out, I let him in. Until that day, Anna and I had followed our “no hanging out alone with Luke” rule. I was too nervous to remember my own name, let alone the rules to our friendship. Luke had never been inside of my house before, so I showed him around. Since we had some time before my dad or Anna would be there, we sat and listened to music on my bed. It was going pretty well. I was actually carrying on a conversation with the boy of my dreams without Anna as my safety net. He started to tease me about my large stuffed animal collection, which somehow turned into a wrestling match. It was mostly innocent.

My dad had a hard time deciphering the situation when he walked in on me sitting on top of Luke, his hands pinned to his chest. Surprisingly he didn’t freak out; he nervously asked if we were ready to go. A couple of minutes later, Anna rang the doorbell and our date officially started.

I never told Anna about my alone time with Luke. I did however get a talking to by my parents about being alone with boys in my room. At the time, I didn’t understand it. I mean, yes, if we had been alone any longer maybe Luke would have tried to kiss me. My intentions, however, were strictly innocent. I honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything with a boy until was I in eighth grade. Even then it made me extremely nervous to think about. After our date, things slowed down in our three-way relationship.

It was a week before school started when things were getting weird. I hadn’t seen Luke or Anna in almost two weeks. Every time I tried to call Anna she said she was doing something with her parents or she was grounded for some stupid reason. She was always the one that would call Luke, so there was no way I was going to do it without her. One day I decided to ride my bike to her house. I figured if she didn’t want to hang out she could tell me why in person. As a rode past Luke’s house, my heart sank. There was Anna, her long blonde hair bouncing in the air on Luke’s trampoline. They were both jumping and laughing, without me. I froze and just stared. I didn’t understand why they hadn’t called me. I didn’t understand why she was breaking our rule. I didn’t understand anything at that point. As I stood there wishing I could be anywhere else, Anna caught my gaze. I peddled as fast I could as tears ran down my face. No one called. No one followed me. I was alone.

That Friday, my brother was starting in the first football game of the season. Friday night football games in my small town were pretty much the only thing on the social calendar. I knew that Anna and probably Luke would be there, along with the rest of the town. My parents dragged me to see my brother. My mother reminded me that it would be good to see some of my other friends. Friends that I had neglected to see the whole summer. Luckily when I reached my small group of friends, Anna was nowhere to be found. They were all chattering about who changed the most over the summer and who was dating who. I wasn’t really listening until I heard, “Did you hear? Anna and Luke are like together, TOGETHER. Can you believe it? Random.” Knowing that information didn’t hurt as much as seeing them together on the trampoline earlier that week. The last couple of days I tried to make sense of the whole situation.  I realized then, they didn’t want me around because they wanted a real two-way relationship (as real as a seventh grade relationship could get). It became all too real when I saw them across the stands, holding hands while talking to a group of Luke’s friends. Anna didn’t talk to me that night.

In the end their “relationship” lasted less than a month. Anna never apologized for breaking the rule, but we became friends again anyway. As for Luke, well, after the whole situation my affections grew smaller for him. I moved on by finding new unrequited crushes (some more heartbreakingly awkward). Every once and a while he would nod my way and I would remember the summer we all had together. But junior high was a cruel place that separated the awkward kids from the cool kids. Eventually Anna and I became invisible to cool kids like Luke. Sometimes I wondered what would have happened if our three-way relationship would have worked out. Would he have acknowledged us at school? Or was it doomed from the start? All I know is that we would always have the creaky sound of Luke’s trampoline.