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.

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.

First kisses with sixth grade boys…

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When I was young I wasn’t very popular with the boys. My incredible shyness did not help matters, even as I got into my late teens. Yet there was a point in school where I seemed to be the “bees knees”.

I peaked in elementary school.

It was the summer before sixth grade when I first starting getting phone calls from a couple of boys in my class. I had no clue why, but it was a nice confidence boost to my 12-year-old ego. We would have innocent conversations of how our summers were and how excited, but not excited we were to start school. Most of them were brief in length and ended with the question “Would you be my girlfriend?”. A question I would deflect because the thought still terrified me. What did it mean to be someone’s girlfriend? I had no clue and didn’t plan on finding out. I would nicely state each time that I would have to think about.

Throughout the school year the two boys would persistently call me and by spring break I had a mini fan club that doubled in size. One time in particular all four boys called me from one their houses and fought over who could talk to me. Or I should say fought over who gets to listen to me breath because once again I was fucking shy. Still the small convo between long pauses of awkward silences was interesting. Again the conversations would always end up about who I was going to pick to be my boyfriend. The truth is that I never said yes to them before because I think I liked the feeling of being wanted. Another part of me believed that it was just some big joke that they came up with when they were bored one day. Let’s be honest, these boys would have had to be masterminds to plan a eight month old plan to trick some girl just for fun. Or completely bored psychopaths. I think I was giving these preteen boys too much credit.

Eventually I realized I liked the attention from one of the boys more than the others, Trevor*. After asking again I finally said yes to being his girlfriend. The other boys gave up easily and moved on except for Trevor’s best friend Bryan*. Bryan had been the first one who liked me or at least made it known. To be honest he had been asking me out regularly since the fourth grade. His level of awkwardness went beyond mine with his orangish red hair and freckle spotted skin. I always thought of Chuckie from Rugrats when I looked at him and not a potential boyfriend. One day during spring break Trevor, Bryan and a couple of the ex-members of my fan club decided to come over to my house. My parents were at work and my brother was off doing who knows what with his friends. (I look back now and wonder how bad my dad would have freaked out at the thought of his baby alone with four boys.)

The five of us sitting on my couch was even more awkward then the phone conversations. I could tell some of the boys were bored as they watched Trevor and I hold hands. Finally one of the two other boys(whose name I can’t remember) jokingly suggested that Trevor and I should kiss. My stomach jumped and I felt sick to think about the pressure of having our first kiss in front of an audience. To make it worse Bryan (who was still “in love” with me) looked horrified at the thought. He started to leave the room saying he didn’t want to see it when the other boys held him down. They thought it would be hilarious to force him to watch.(WORST FRIENDS EVER, right?) Under the pressure of the small group, Trevor and I reluctantly shared our first kiss. Trevor’s lips were soft and tightly pursed together. As if he was keeping something in his mouth from coming out. I mimicked this because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. So many questions raced through my head. Should it be this long? Where do my my hands go? Why does anyone like this? On top these thoughts, I swear I could hear Bryan’s heart break. It wasn’t my proudest moment. Luckily for him it was brief and quite frankly the beginning of the end of my “relationship” with Trevor, we broke up within a couple of weeks.

As a very innocent twelve year old, the pecks on the lips every so often were way too advanced for me. Even holding hands turned my stomach into knots just thinking about it. Trevor would be a lot of firsts for me (more on this later), but the kiss will be something I will never forget. It made me realize that having a boyfriend was not all it was cracked up to be. Not to mention, it will forever be a unbearably awkward moment in my history.
*Names have been changed, not that these two now grown men would be reading this lady’s blog. If for some reason they did, WHAT’S UP, guys? Catch you at the reunion?