When the “love of your life” is just the worst…

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mostly because he is an a**hole.

Everything was changing.  It was like my body was a stranger that I had to awkwardly face every day.  When did I get boobs?  They seemingly grew overnight from an A cup to a C.  My thighs went from stick thin to curvy; I had to abandon my favorite pair of jeans after that.  The only thing that seemed to stick was the pudginess around my stomach that my Mom lovingly called “baby fat.”  She would constantly remind me that I would be stuck with that fat for a while.  It was part of a “Thomas Women” curse.   Apparently all of my changes were similar to my mother’s side.  “We are just built that way,” my mother pointed out. It seemed so unfair that some girls were lucky enough to have those boyish thin figures while my body couldn’t decide what it had.  I wasn’t classically curvy, not plus size, but not thin. I was completely average and at the time I thought it was the worst thing I could be.

 By the time I reached eighth grade I had gotten used to my chest size, my thighs, and my “baby fat.”  At that point, being invisible had its perks.  There was a still a small part of me that wanted every boy to notice me like they did Denise Dalton*.  The queen bee, who at one point a long time ago (We’re talking 5th grade), was my best friend.   Puberty had done her way too many favors, which apparently left the rest of the girls in my grade with nothing. There were girls who were even more awkward then I was (which is saying a hell of a lot.) Their bodies had betrayed them way worse than mine ever could. These girls would get noticed by boys too, but were ridiculed for their “imperfections.” I thought myself lucky, that I was practically invisible to that kind of public shaming.

 It was almost Spring of my eighth grade year and I was in a good place.  I had stop being so boy crazy due to recent events that proved that I was not equipped to handle a boyfriend.  Sure, I still had crushes.  My hormones proved to be stronger then my brain in these cases. Jack* had, of course, broken up with my good friend Jenny* and had moved on to several other girls.  His latest victim was Janet*, a newer classmate who had become an acquaintance to my small group of friends.  He had broken her heart and she was less than thrilled with it.

 Over their two-week courtship, Jack had done a lot of talking.  Spilling secrets to her about his previous girlfriends.  Janet in an act of revenge, held nothing back, telling every girl how Jack felt about her.  How April*, his first girlfriend, was a stuck up prude.  Or even how much Breanna Morris* wasn’t. They were all reasons why he eventually broke up with them.  Sometimes even for ridiculous reasons like, Kayla’s (the curvy seventh grader) hairy man arms.  The insults didn’t stop at just his girlfriends. He even went into reasons why he didn’t date certain girls.  Starting with his number one fan, me.

 It was bad news, when Janet came strolling by my table at lunch.  The look of concern had taken over her usual smile, like she was going to tell me that my dog had died. She sat down, unraveling a story that would change me forever.  She started with the fact that she thought I was one of prettiest and nicest girls at this school.  (I was one of the first to talk to her when she moved mid school year.) One day she had asked Jack why he had never went out with me, she of course, hearing the rumor that I was deeply in love with him. He replied with,  “I guess she is pretty, but she kind of has a beer belly.” It took a second for my brain to comprehend what was said.  A beer belly?  A BEER BELLY?  I knew what it meant, even though, at the ripe age of thirteen, my “baby fat” did not come from having one too many.

 After hearing those words, I was crushed.  My best friend Anna* went into a full rage. She knew how much I pictured Jack as a perfect specimen.  How, even though he had crushed by heart repeatedly, I had never given up on him. I had to practically pin her down from going over and clawing out his eyes in the middle of the lunchroom.  Janet hugged me and apologized, saying he was dead wrong about me.  She quickly left the table, continuing her campaign to killing Jack’s reputation.

 The rest of the day, I obsessed over those words.  I went from blaming him to even blaming myself for being so imperfect. Being comfortable with my body was no longer an option.  I knew that it was only a matter of time before the whole school saw me as “beer belly girl.”  After that I spent a good year and half trying my best to lose weight. Jack’s words echoing in my head with every sit-up I attempted.  During class, I would wrap a sweater around my stomach hoping that it would make it seem smaller.  I was still invisible, but no longer content with what I saw in the mirror.

 Those words festered into my mind and I still haven’t been able to completely wipe them out. They sometimes return to taunt me whenever I eat something unhealthy or if my jeans have become a bit too tight.  Even after so much time, the whole situation changed how I looked at my body.  It confirmed the bad things I thought about myself, because I knew I wasn’t the only one who noticed them.  I think back and see this moment as the day that created my low-self esteem and it is hard to get rid of.  I spent half my life striving to be perfect, only to realize that I have wasted a lot of time caring about what others thought.

 It shouldn’t be a surprise that I finally gave up on Jack.  I thought I loved him, but he continually crushed my heart. Now as a grown woman, I look back and have learned a valuable lesson.  I shouldn’t let anyone make me feel like I am not good enough.  I shouldn’t waste my time on a “dream guy” who doesn’t think of me as his “dream girl”.  A guy who doesn’t even care about the consequences of his actions. Who doesn’t care about hurting the only girl who thought he was perfect.

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*Names have been changed because the real names don’t matter.

The Invisible Sister Gets Her First Stalker

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…and awkwardly deals with it. 

At the age of thirteen, I was convinced that I wasn’t pretty and that was the only reason boys didn’t like me. Obsessing over the fact that I wasn’t as skinny as the more popular girls or that my mom didn’t let me wear as much make up. Junior high can be hell when you live to impress your peers. It wasn’t until a mysterious high school freshman took notice of me that I realized that the boys in my grade might take my complete awkwardness into consideration.

Going to a K-12 school is an interesting experience. It is a strange environment that produces situations like third graders passing through a busy hallway, designated for high school seniors, on their way to recess. The section of the building reserved for junior high students was a little more secluded. Most of the older kids were strangers to me. My brother and his friends were all juniors, but they mostly ignored me if I passed them in the hallway. My brother was more popular than I was. So much, that most of the high school barely knew I existed. One day, during volleyball practice, I noticed two older boys hanging around. One of them, a boy with dark eyes and blonde buzz cut, kept staring at me. Him and his friend kept whispering back and forth, occasionally pointing at me and the other girls. My mind directly went to the fact that I wasn’t very athletic and he was probably trying to figure out how I made the team. They were certainly mocking me and I their presence distracted me. Eventually they left and I quickly forgot about them as I tried to focus on not sucking at volleyball.

“Tim Stockton* just winked at you!” Cas* giggled. It was a couple of days later and we were in the library doing research for history class. At the same time, a class of freshmen students was studying in the same area. That day, I learned that the mysterious boy’s name was Tim Stockton from my friend who just about everyone in our small school. I had caught him staring again and was trying my best to ignore it. My friend Cas noticed and decided to make fun of me for it. “He must totally like you!” she chuckled, as I tried to cover her mouth. She was not following the strict rules of the library, practically shouting for all to hear. Cas was dead wrong. There was no way that Tim liked me. Even if he did, I wasn’t so sure that I liked him. I barely knew who the kid was.

After school, Tim and his friend Bobby were back spectating the eighth grade girl’s volleyball practice. Every time I briefly glanced over at his direction, he greeted me with a wide, goofy smile. It made my stomach turn. Ok, maybe he did have a crush on me OR he was playing some sort of joke. I was just some random homely looking girl that he wanted to pull a prank on. Yeah, that seemed more reasonable. After practice, Cas and I waited in front of the school for our parents when Tim and Bobby walked by. “I just wanted to tell you, you are the most gorgeous girl I have ever seen!” Tim shouted in front of half my volleyball team. My face turned bright red. This amount of attention was too much. Instead of ignoring it, I giggled. I couldn’t stop giggling and couldn’t form a response back. The only thing I could think to do was turn around and face the brick wall I had been leaning on. Both the guys chuckled as they walked past. I stood frozen there for what seemed like hours before my dad’s car pulled up to save me. Cas and the rest of girls couldn’t hold in their laughter. I hopped into my dad’s car quickly realizing that if my parents let me, I would never go to school again.

The next few days, I saw Tim everywhere, he would smile or say something about how gorgeous I was. My reaction would always be turning bright red. From my response, Tim must have thought I liked the attention. In reality, I hated it. I just wanted it to stop. If it wasn’t Tim turning me bright red, my friends would, by poking fun at how I was too shy to talk to boys. Like they were any better. Eventually I got so sick of all of it that I avoided him, bracing every corner of the school as if I was stealthy ninja trying not be detected. When that didn’t work, I would just completely pretend like he wasn’t there. At times I felt bad, but at the same, it seemed like he enjoyed embarrassing me.

Over time, Tim Stockton was no longer a problem. I gladly returned to being that invisible girl that boys seemed to ignore. My friends never got why I didn’t just accept his praise because, to them, it could have lead to more.  Well, frankly, I didn’t want to be the girlfriend of a guy who gets off tormented girls into liking him.  I never really knew why he stopped seeking me out. Maybe he finally got the message that I didn’t like him.  Maybe he found some other girl to stalk. Or, Maybe he found out that I was the little sister of a very large and intimidating junior guy with angry issues.

Finally saying “Hi” to my brother in the crowded hallway, while Tim watched nearby, was a great plan.

The Junior High Relationship That Stood The Test Of…One Day.

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If I could go back and slap myself in the eighth grade, I would, like more than once.

The second half of my eighth grade year started with me swearing off boys, especially ones named Jack*. I was a new me and I had pulled a Felicity to prove it. My once long thick hair was now cut to a simple bob. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to style it and half the time it looked like I was wearing some sort of helmet. Nonetheless, I felt pretty accomplished with my new look. I knew I had changed my feelings for Jack when one of my close friends, Jenny* started dating him after winter break.

It was new territory for me, finally not being jealous of one of Jack’s girlfriends. It made me feel like I had gotten over him. Once Jack and Jenny got together, I started to realize there were other boys at my school. The ones that I had been ignoring for months because I was preoccupied with being the president of Jack’s fan club. One in particular, Mike* had always hung around my group of friends because he had a similar undying crush on Dina*.

Dina was my next-door neighbor and on/off best friend. Our friendship could be rocky at times, but it was usually petty stuff that was quickly resolved within a day or two. One famously stupid fight was during a sleepover at my house years earlier. I had just discovered the greatness of No Doubt and was obsessed with listening to Tragic Kingdom over and over again. She found this boring (I don’t blame her) and quickly went back to her house. Sleep-OVER. I can’t even remember what she wanted to do, but it clearly wasn’t listening to the same CD on constant repeat. Dina wasn’t really interested in Mike’s funny charm and overall cuteness.

I started to have a crush on him soon after he started messaging me on AOL Instant Messenger (yup, you read that right). Before texting, AIMing, was made perfectly to chat with cute classmates and even total strangers. If there was one invention I loved more as an awkward pre-teen, it was AIM. I wasn’t my awkward stammering self around boys because I could actually think before I typed. They weren’t faced with my cheeks turning a bright shade of red in an attempt to make dreaded eye contact with them.  It was awesome, and my online persona was way more confident than the real me. One afternoon, Mike seemed to be typing in a more flirtatious manner. He talked about my “pretty eyes” and how he loved my new haircut. At the end of the conversation he asked me to be his girlfriend. Stunned, I quickly said yes. It was a dream come true or so I thought.

The next day at school, all my friends were excited to finally see me with a boyfriend. It had literally been years since I had one and it was quite possible that I knew even less about boys that I did in the sixth grade. At lunch, things got hard when people demanded that we do the same things that all couples do after eating. The typical couple embraced each other, with the boyfriend usually standing awkwardly behind the girlfriend holding on to her hips.

Not wanting to break some sort of junior high tradition, Mike and I cuddled for the most painful ten minutes ever. I could feel his warm breath near my ear, as he tried to carry on conversation. I stared straight ahead, panicked, as my friends observed us in our unnatural habitat. Who thought of this way of showing that you were boyfriend and girlfriend? What happened to good old holding hands? I felt trapped and actually couldn’t wait to go to history class after lunch. It was tough to say, but I still wasn’t ready for the pressures of having a boyfriend.

Right before last period, I had made a decision. The thought of having to participate in the rituals mirrored from the more popular crowd was not going to work for me. I couldn’t stand telling Mike to his face, so instead, begged my friend Cas* to deliver the bad news. She was a pretty frank person, she quickly told poor Mike that we were over. It seemed brutal, as she recounted the disappointment in his face during after-school volleyball practice. Our love lasted less than one day. It took awhile for me to even look Mike in the eyes after that. Eventually, we both moved on.

For months, all I wanted was a boyfriend. I flooded my journal with dreams and desires of finding the right guy, but in the end I wasn’t ready. Of course, I didn’t really learn my lesson from this and moved on to other crushes. Even returning to the worst one I could ever have because no matter what he did to hurt me, Jack was my end game. Yup, I was that stupid.

The end of the year, the start of ‘THE BLACK PAGES’

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…sounds ominous…but it really isn’t.

A lot of things had happened in the months after the Halloween dance. After getting saturday detention for being the “ring leaders” of the bathroom war, Anna* and I were seen as resident badasses. It was the furthest from the truth in my case, but I loved the newfound attention that the ‘bad girl’ status gave me. Towards the end of November I once again became obsessed with becoming Jack’s* girlfriend. So obsessed that Anna and I resorted to three-way calling him nightly.

I was, of course, to chicken to talk to him. Anna would call and ask him about his thoughts on me, while I listened intensely with the mute button on. Mostly our little calls backfired because he would say something slightly hurtful like how he thought I was strange and hyper. He followed up, in his slightly raspy voice, that he did think I was sort of pretty.  All I got from the conversation was, OMG! JACK THINKS I AM PRETTY! I dropped the ‘sort of’ in my head because…I was stupid.   I was oblivious to the fact that he was just trying to be nice. Nope, I thought he loved me.

I was getting tired of waiting for Jack to ask me out. I wasn’t just being naive about his feelings, but there was actually a steady rumor going around that he was finally going to ask me. After months of unrequited torture it was going to happen. I filled my journal with all the possibilities of us as a junior high power couple. How, with Jack on my arm, everyone would know who I was. Not really thinking that given his past track record, our relationship probably wouldn’t last more than a couple of weeks. I convinced myself that we were meant to be.

One night, I had finally had enough waiting. During another one of our three-way calls, Anna demanded to know why Jack hadn’t ‘popped the question’. He mumbled something about how he had to focus on his upcoming wrestling season and that he wasn’t going to go out with anyone. The disappointment hit me right in my heart, but it quickly went away because I was the glass half full type girl. Jack said he wasn’t going to go out with anyone, meaning I would just wait for him.  I mean wrestling season was only a couple months long and I could wait. Instead of being mad, I respected his focus on athletics. It only made me obsess over him more. That was until I learned about Kayla.

Within the month Jack had started going out with Kayla, a peppy seventh grader with the body of a tenth grader. So much for wrestling season, I thought to myself. Not only had Jack bypassed me, but apparently he had bypassed the rest of the eighth grade girls and moved on to the younger ones. I started to grasp the reality of my situation. Jack never wanted to go out with me and he probably felt sorry for me. I was over it. The school wasn’t.

The rumors of my obsession with him spread around until it was full public knowledge. So quickly I went from badass ring leader to crazy stalker girl. I kept my head up in public, but honestly it was hard to avoid my feelings in my quiet bedroom. I resorted to spewing all my feelings in what was left of my Lisa Frank Journal.

After so many blows a girl has to do something to keep what is left of her dignity. On New Year’s Eve, I vowed that I was over being treated the way Jack treated me. I had new goals and better yet, I had a new journal. The spiral bound black pages would help me get over my heartbreak and into the new millennium.

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*Names have been changed because….just because, who cares?

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.

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.

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. ☺