Middle School Blues?

6 Jun

                            

 Summer has arrived. Picnics and pool parties have started. Kids are out of school. Kids are driving me nuts out of school. X Girl just completed her second year of middle school and I was a bit shocked to realize that she has one year left of middle school until…high school. I don’t even know how this has happened. It seems like she started middle school yesterday. And man, was I nervous about the whole starting middle school thing.

I hated middle school. Let me say that again. I. HATED. MIDDLE. SCHOOL. The braces. The acne. The hormones. The awkwardness. The classmates. I was a very awkward middle schooler. And unfortunately, there were some that enjoyed picking on my awkwardness. As if gingerly stepping through this uncomfortable time wasn’t bad enough, I had these asshats not only confirming my faults but also making sure that I was continually tortured for said faults for 3 years. To make matters worse, I lived in a more affluent, upper middle class area but was not affluent. You know the story…single, working her ass off mother. Latch key kid, blah, blah, blah. We could not afford all the coolest and best clothes. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t lacking. My mom worked very hard to provide for me. But the extra cool clothes were not in my closet. And I paid for that.

Enter The Mean Girl.

Regina George? Naw. Lauren* was worse. There was no Burn Book. Lauren had no problem pulling me into her little torture chamber of ridicule and letting me know exactly what she thought of me. I was ugly. I was stupid. I was a loser. 3 years of hell. Daily. This girl craved fresh meat and my name was dripping off her teeth. She jollied others to join her. She was the worst of the worst. She was a bully. To this moment, some of her most horrible comments are ringing through my ears. And those comments had a lasting impression on me. And not for the good. I have carried some of these comments as badges of shame and it took a long time to move on from the impression they made on me.

Having grown and moved on from these scars of the past, I have been busy raising children. I have worked so hard for them to see themselves as the beautiful people they are. I have worked hard to raise them up and for their self esteem to rise above any negative comments made by those who try to tear them down. But, just as important, is to treat everyone with respect. To NEVER tear down anyone else. Treat everyone as you wish to be treated. Never judge. No bullying. Not only do I want them to have the self esteem I never had but I also want to make sure they never treat someone as I was treated.

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with X Girl and her BFF. They were sitting at the island watching me make dinner. We started talking about middle school politics. We talked about bullies. I told them a bit about my bully. There was talk about one friend and how she has been different this year. Not as nice. And the girls were bothered by this. I reminded them that this person may be going through her own difficult time that they are not aware of and you can never judge someone until you walk in their shoes. And of course, my statement hit me like a ton of bricks.

Lauren was horrible to me. But, was this a symptom of something greater in her own life? As an adult, should I make concessions for such things? Am I willing to forgive? Can I put the past behind me? Can I move on from something that I have carried for so long? Do I write her a FB message (so maybe I’ve checked out her page once.), reminding her of the hell she put me through at such an impressionable age and demand she own up to what she did to me and apologize? Or, do I accept the fact that we were both kids in an unsure, unstable and unpredictable time of our lives?

X Girl has enjoyed middle school. Aside from a few eye rolls and tears, she has grown into herself with dignity and grace. I’m proud of the young woman she is becoming. She takes most things with a grain of salt and let’s life’s little disputes roll off her back. I have much to learn from my baby girl.

 

*Name has been changed simply because I don’t want to get sued.

 

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