The Invisible Sister Gets Her First Stalker

Standard

…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.

Standard

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’

Standard

…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.

blackjournal

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

My brief stint as a junior high mean girl

Standard

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)

jawbreaker-1

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.

tumblr_n1olm68vlT1r7n1y2o1_500

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.

tumblr_lby65zidhA1qekni2o1_400

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.

enhanced-buzz-18457-1367617269-12

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.

Monthly Blogging Break

Standard

 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.

Ex-boyfriend plus new crush equals disaster.

Standard

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.

200-39

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.