As I said in my last post, I’ve decided to write a series of posts (probably like three or so) just telling you guys my story. The reasons behind why I’m doing this, what it’s going to be like, what you can expect, etc. can all be found in this little introduction post in case you want to take a look at it. Alright, here we go!
First off, I just wanted to clarify something. My real name isn’t Alice. It’s just a pseudonym I came up with after naming my blog. I have thought about putting my real identity on here, but if I do, it is definitely not going to be anytime soon. That’s usually why I’m so vague when it comes to talking about people (“my cousin,” “my boyfriend,” etc.) instead of actually saying their names. If I mention someone a lot, I’ll just start giving out pseudonyms as well.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way….
I’ve come to realize that middle school (or at the very least the middle school I attended) has a way of sifting people. Going in, I remember being very excited. After all, that’s what all fifth graders look forward to, right? Being one of the big kids. A school where you get your own locker, you can actually walk down the hallway without being in a straight line, and join school sports and clubs. It’s exciting!
At orientation, I proudly walked into my new school with my group of best friends by my side, signed up for band (for some reason being in band is cool when you start sixth grade….not so much after), and found my name in the long list of sixth graders that would tell me what “team” I was going to be on. Team 1. Just to clarify, the teams were basically made up of the group of teachers you were going to have. If you had team one, you would have one set of teachers, and if you had team two, you would have the other.
I happily walked over to where my other friends were looking for their names and asked which team they got. Team 2. Team 2. Team 2. Team 2. As my friends all squealed in delight at the prospect of being together, it suddenly hit me that I was about to start middle school with absolutely no one.
The first day came, and I found my spot in homeroom. I think that’s when it really occurred to me how difficult this year was about to be. Three small elementary schools fed into the middle school, and as I looked around the classroom at people finding their old friends, I found that I didn’t recognize anyone from my old school. As the day went by, it was only more of the same. People sitting next to their old friends and meeting new ones while I sat in my little desk, too afraid and upset to say anything.
Now, let me also say, most of the girls looked a lot different than they had in elementary school. Apparently, their moms had taken the previous summer to teach them about things like makeup, hair, and clothes while my mom….well….had not. So while the other girls were covering up their insecurities with foundation, Aeropostale, mascara, and straighteners, I was still wearing the same elementary school clothes, unruly hair, makeup-less face, and glasses that had somehow been okay the previous year.
I’m sure you can probably guess where this is going….
That’s right! A few weeks later, I began to notice the newly formed group of popular girls (somehow they were in all of my classes with me….go figure) staring at me and laughing. Eight hours of this all day, every day with no friends around to comfort you, shockingly enough, does not do wonders for the ‘ole self-esteem. Unfortunately, it took months before the teachers began to notice it, but by that time it was too late.
Any and all the self-esteem and self-respect I once had for myself was long gone. I found myself taking the long way to classes everyday just to avoid everyone else, I kept my head down in the hallways, and I started doing terribly in band as I was afraid to make a mistake since that would cause unwanted attention to myself. Towards the end of the year, the teachers decided that it would be best to switch up my classes.
They told me not to tell anyone why I was switching classes since that would probably just make things worse, so I didn’t. Without those girls around me all the time, I actually started to enjoy middle school. I started making new friends, and the next two years I was relieved to find out I had classes with some of my old friends. Our old group of friends became stronger than ever, and I felt safe….but the fear and hurt was still there.
See, while switching classes and gaining back friends helped me enjoy school more, it didn’t take away the deep rooted pain that the year left behind. It just masked it, and I carried it with me as I left middle school behind and started high school….