My brief stint as a junior high mean girl

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In junior high I was always looking to improve my status.  Of course, my incredible shy demeanor did not help me whatsoever.  I had made some resolutions at the start of eighth grade.  I was determined to change how everyone saw me.  My list was everything you would typically expect out of a thirteen-year-old girl.

  1. Change my look (to be the hottest girl in my grade.)
  2. Get a boyfriend (one boy in particular)
  3. Become popular (become friends with the highest ranked social clique)

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My aspirations were pretty shallow, but I wanted them more than anything. After a disastrous couple of months in the boy department, I was ready to tackle other parts of my list. It was November and I was still reeling from Jack* leaving me broken-hearted at the Halloween dance. I had given up on him…for the time being. Every morning my best friend Anna and I would be in the eighth-grade girl’s bathroom applying all the makeup my parents never let me leave the house in. A bunch of girls in our class were huddled looking at one of the stalls. Someone had written something pretty vulgar about the eighth-grade class. While we didn’t have evidence, we could only assume it was the handy work of a few rotten seventh-graders.

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As the bell rang, I started to think that this was my opportunity to make a name for myself. No longer would I be Anna’s* best friend or my brother’s little sister. I had to get revenge. Using a brown eyeliner pencil I stole from my mom’s makeup drawer, I wrote, “For a good time, give a 7th grader a quarter.” I felt a rush, but still played it safe by using something easily washable. It was a proud moment for me when the other girls applauded my efforts. This single act of spontaneous rebellion quickly escalated into a full on war with the seventh-grade girls.

Eventually, more girls joined in when some of the comments became more personal. Anna and I became known as local badasses and the go-to people in the battle against our younger foes. I had sparked a revolution and the attention was intoxicating. I never wanted it to end. So every day I would come up with a new clever comeback finally taking the war to the other side. I would be excused to go to the restroom in class only to use the time defacing the walls with negative comments. By the end of the week, both bathrooms were covered in lewd remarks. The school had to repaint the walls, and the principal was looking for the culprits. My shy reserved self started showing back up as I became more and more nervous of getting caught.

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I wasn’t built to be criminal badass. The looming presence of certain punishment was too much for this awkward girl. Anna reassured me that they wouldn’t punish us that bad because so many girls had participated in it. I wanted to believe her, but I was too much of a paranoid mess to be completely free from guilt.

It only took a couple of days before someone cracked and named Anna and I the ringleaders of the whole operation. My parents honestly had a hard time believing that I could do such a thing. I think a part of them was actually kind of impressed, but they were mostly disappointed. My punishment was Saturday detention that ended up being exactly like The Breakfast Club. No seriously, but a story for another time.

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Being a mean girl was never in the cards for me. I don’t like girl on girl crime, but when I was thirteen it was programmed in my head as the easiest way to hurt someone. We give these words too much power. I think back to junior high and think about all the times I used horrible words to describe a girl I didn’t like. I cringe at the thought now, but I know I grew up not knowing any different. In a perfect world, girls would have stopped calling each other sluts and whores long before I was in junior high. They would stop using each other’s “faults” as a way to get ahead or make themselves feel better. I hope that one day we can get there. That all girls will realize the power their words have.

The Walking Dead Review: Episode 507 “Crossed”

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Outright Geekery

Beware of Spoilers. If you haven’t watched Sunday’s episode what are you waiting for? I demand that you go watch now! (Don’t forget to come back!)

The Walking Dead Season 5

Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead finally brings us back into the current timeline of the group. The last few episodes were very character driven and brought some light on some our favorite character’s pasts, but its nice to be in the present again.

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Why I am still not sold on this whole “parent” thing.

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When I was fifteen I wanted four kids, a beautiful stay at home husband, and to be a world-class chef (or novelist, or editor for Entertainment Weekly). I figured it would happen when I was old, you know, like twenty-four. I got into my twenties, and my timetable seemed to be coming too quickly. I decided I liked the freedom of no children when my friends started to settle down and have them. There was even a time where I decided that maybe kids were not for me. I ended up getting married at twenty-four. My husband and I were on the same page about waiting to have kids. So we decided on a five-year plan. Five years to finish school, go on crazy trips, and enjoy a childfree existence.

Now at the age twenty-eight, I have one year left and am still having doubts of being a parent. Part of me feels ready, but I feel like it is a constant struggle in deciding. Some days I wake up and go, ” We can do this! I feel like a child would not be that screwed up in this environment.” Other days I question if I can properly take care of myself let alone a baby. Here are three reasons that still plague my decision to have children.

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This concern is one that scares me the most. I am that type of person that looks at all the negative outcomes of a situation before attempting it. It is the same procedure I go through when doing something “daring”, like flying on a commercial flight. What if I hold the baby wrong and screw up its neck? I heard that’s a thing that can happen. What if I don’t know when they are sick? What if I am that parent that forgets the child on top of their car or in a shopping cart? People try to reassure me that most parents don’t know what they are doing. You can’t fool me with your “modest” act people! You are just trying to get us non-child folks to join your parent cult!

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Sometimes I forget kids are kids. I try to have adult conversations with them. Trying to relate to some kids is really unbearable. More recently I have gotten a little better at this. I have two nephews under the age of four, and we get along just fine. They are pretty awesome, most of the time. I feel like they have helped change my view from “never having kids” to “ok, maybe if they are as cool as them.” My husband and I have already come to the conclusion that we will probably love our nephews more than our own children. The truth hurts, future children of mine. With other children though, I just don’t know what they want from me. I feel like kids are constantly staring at me because they can smell the fear and doubt that I have.

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I still feel like kids can be creepy. For example, some of the scariest movie moments for me involve old-timey children ghosts or possessed ones looking to murder you in your sleep. They are on par with killer clowns in the freaky factor. With my luck, I would be that parent with a kid whose cats go missing a lot. My fear of children may be based on fictional characters from movies and TV, but real kids are just as creepy. Do me a favor and Google “creepy things kids say.” I will wait. I apologize now if you already have a “creepy” kid of your own.

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I am closing in on my last year before my five-year plan “expires”, and it makes me nervous. I know that my concerns of having a child are at least semi-normal. Right, RIGHT?? One thing I can say is that the older I get, the more I think I can do this. In the end, I know that one day I will probably be a good mom and with any luck, the kid will be pretty awesome too.

This is me, trying to rant, about stuff…

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I want to punch this lady in her old lady face.

That was my thought yesterday when I went to go see Interstellar with my husband. We try to go to the movies on weekday afternoons because the theater is usually less crowded. It is the best odds to not get stuck sitting next to some jackass that doesn’t have good movie etiquette. It is one of my biggest pet peeves which doesn’t often mix well with my love of going to the movies.

I always think of those “silence your cellphone reminders” as being such a sad thing. Why? To me, it should be common sense that when you go into a dark room with a bunch of strangers that you would automatically know to do this!

Other things you should know:

  • That you are not the only person paying to see this movie.
  • That I didn’t pay ten dollars to hear you say, “that wasn’t funny” every two seconds in a comedy.  I didn’t sign up for your running commentary.  P.S. IT WAS REALLY FUNNY!!
  • I also didn’t pay to hear your kid tell you everything that is going to happen before it happens in the movie because they “read the book.” I am all for kids reading more, but I don’t need to hear about it while trying to enjoy the last Harry Potter film.

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  • I definitely didn’t sign up for getting my space invaded and almost hit in the face when you forgot that someone was sitting next to you while you played “keep away” with your friend’s cellphone.

All true stories, all reasons why I try to avoid weekend showings. Why do people have to be reminded to be decent human beings?

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Monday mornings/afternoons are the perfect time to get the full movie experience, without the large crowds. Normally on these days I only have to share the theater with a few random couples or the occasional small group. People who are possibly just like me and annoyed by large crowds. At worst, I will have to deal with the random person that decides to sit practically next to me in an empty theater. Which is just creepy to me, but as long as there are quiet, I could care less. Yesterday was not my usual Monday crowd.

Every time there are more than six people in the theater, I have a mini panic attack. Only because I know it will be just my luck to get stuck sitting near the most annoying person imaginable. Yesterday it was an older woman, possibly in her late 50’s, who decided to sit a couple seats away from me.

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It started with her lack of patience for the movie to start when the screen went black for a solid two minutes. She thought it would be hilarious to keep saying “Now for Interstellar!” Getting louder every time she said it. “NOW FOR INTERSTELLAR!!”  She ended up saying it about ten times.  Ten times too many.  Then when the previews started she would remark “oooh that looks good!” or “Not for me…” after each one.

I hoped that overpaying for the booming sounds of IMAX would drown her out when the film started. Luckily, for the most part it did. Except for the occasionally quiet sad parts, which resulted in her crying extremely loud. Or when they would show impressive shots of different planets she would gasp uncontrollably. As if she had just came to the realization that there was more in the vast universe than Earth. I guess the movie struck a cord with her, but the whole theater didn’t need to know about it.

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Frankly, I wanted to punch this lady in the face or wished she was marooned on one those planets she was so loudly swooning over.

The best part of movies, for me, is getting sucked into the plot and forgetting about the daily grind of life. It is kind of hard to do that when people can’t control their cellphones, kids, or their own mouths. In the end, the old woman didn’t annoy me enough to move (THANKS IMAX!), but it did however annoy me enough to write this rant.

So please if you are one of these people, stay at home and wait to rent movies.  Please, for the sake of humanity or at least my sanity.

So, yeah, rant over.

Anyone else have any bad movie-going experiences they want to share?

A Skeptical Third Grader’s Date with A Deadly Tree Frog

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It was slimy; my finger grazed its’ back as it tried to leap away. When my finger tingled I knew it was only the beginning of the end.

I was always one of those kids that took warnings to heart. When I was five I got lost in a supermarket, and my parents had always taught me not to talk to strangers. When an older man asked if I needed help, I screamed, “YOU’RE A STRANGER!!!” remembering everything my parents had warned me about. I ended up safe and only an aisle away from my dad the whole time, but nonetheless, I had always been paranoid.

In third grade, I was scrawny and shy, an obvious candidate for a tag along. My new best friend Celeste was magnificent and exciting. During recess, I would follow her every move. I admired Celeste’s independent and carefree attitude.   We would spend most of our recesses making up songs to sing, thinking that we would be the next “TLC” if only we could find a good enough third member. Other parts of our recess were spent escaping the grips of one of the Wilson twins, who had made it his mission to make one of us his girlfriend. He had orangish red hair, and his face was covered in freckles. He ran with his arms straight to his side, as if he had no elbows to bend them.   During class, I would count down the minutes before I could go outside and have my freedom.

My third-grade teacher Mrs. Crabtree was a robust old woman, who never taught us anything fun. Some days she would let us play heads up seven up, but most days it just be boring educational lessons.   We had been learning about amphibians in our science unit. One day as a special treat, Mrs. Crabtree brought in a tree frog to be our class pet for a week. I thought the frog was amazing; it was black and green, with dots of red on its back. The movements of his throat as it took a breath made me giggle.   We talked about him for most of the day.

“Can we touch it? Pleeeaaaseee” the whole class begged.

“Sorry kids, this frog is poisonous, so none of you are allowed to touch him.” Mrs. Crabtree said.

I don’t remember if she ever said that we could die if we were to touch this frog, but when she said the word poison, I automatically assumed as much. Celeste did the opposite; she took that warning as a challenge. From that day forward she became determined to touch that frog, even if it was deadly. Our recesses became filled with trying to find a way to get to the frog without Mrs. Crabtree being around.

Celeste came up with the idea of getting inside the building during recess when most of the teachers were in their lounge. Though I didn’t think it was a good idea, I didn’t want Celeste to think I was scared, so I went along with it. The only problem was getting into the building; kids were not allowed to roam the halls during recess. We had to get our hands on some bathroom passes from the recess aides, and they would never let us go together.

Then I remembered that I had accidently kept a pass from one of the aides a couple of weeks ago, I waited too long to give it back. Now it just sat in my desk, waiting to be discovered by my teacher. Who would no doubt accuse me of stealing and send me to the principal’s office, where I would be then banished from the school forever. See, paranoid. With access to an extra pass, we were sure that our plan would be a success.

On the day of our not so organized plan, my stomach was in knots. I wanted just to go back to pretending that we were “TLC” and being chased by overly freckled boys, but it was too late, I was in too deep. Celeste and I went into the building at separate times and met by the bathrooms. The halls by our classroom, usually filled with chatter were now eerily quiet. We peaked into the classroom door window to make sure Mrs. Crabtree was not inside. Man how I wished she was inside.

When we made in, Celeste pulled out a game changer.

“Ashley, I dare you to touch that frog for ten seconds, or I will tell everyone that you want to marry Ryan K.!!” Celeste said.

“What? I thought you wanted to touch it?” I asked. This was not a part of the plan.

“I changed my mind, don’t be a wuss!” Celeste demanded.

This is what I got for being a sidekick; I had to do all the hard work, and I had to taste the food to make sure it wasn’t poisoned for the queen. At first I hesitated, but I didn’t want my whole class to know that I was wanted to marry Ryan K. I pulled the lid off the class aquarium, reached down into my impending doom. The frog’s back was slimy as my finger grazed it back. It tried to escape, but I had it pinned it between my fingers and the glass of the aquarium.

“One…Two…Threeee…Foouuurrr…”   Celeste whispered.

A lot went through my head during those extremely long ten seconds. First was how mad my parents were going to be when I died of some tree frog disease that my teacher had warned us about. Second was that my big brother was probably going to take over my room the minute I croaked. Pun intended. Third was the fact that Celeste was taking a really long time to count to ten. Finally, when she did get to ten, I released the frog. My finger tingled; its starting, I thought. In a matter of days, maybe even hours, I’d be a goner.

In the coming weeks, I grew more and more paranoid. Thinking that Mrs. Crabtree would somehow lift my fingerprint off the frog’s back in an attempt to see what children had not listened to her request.

When my guilt had become too much for me, I confronted my parents with the news of my upcoming bad fortune. Only for them to chuckle and reassure me that Mrs. Crabtree was just trying to make sure the frog was safe. I wasn’t going to die! I eventually forgot about the tree frog and the whole mess about dying.

I learned two lessons in Mrs. Crabtree’s third-grade class. The first was that teachers sometimes lie. The second was that I was not that bright at the age of nine.