As I head towards my 30th birthday I've decided to look back and recall the major events of each decade of my life. I've chosen to break the second decade into 3 parts, as each part is significant and vastly different. You can read about the first decade here.
Now.. onto the second decade, ages 10-14. Oh, and please forgive the weird white space around some of the scanned photos. I'm super tired and way too lazy to figure that out right now :)
I was in 5th grade at the start of my second decade and basically just like most other 5th grade girls. I liked to talk on the phone and listen to music. I was a tad boy crazy. My dad used to say around this time that I should have written a book to help him keep track of who my current best friend was and which boy I liked since it was always changing. I guess I wanted to keep my options open. 5th grade was a brutal time for "boyfriend/girlfriend" relationships. Which, in our lives at the time, meant someone asked you to "go around" (what the hell does this mean, seriously?) and you would say yes (unless it was someone that you wouldn't be caught dead "going around" with). Then, after roughly a week of avoiding each other completely because you wouldn't know what to do with one another one of you would publicly "dump" the other one.
When we weren't fighting, this girl and I were inseparable. Some of my best memories come from my friendship with her.
My core group of friends in 5th and 6th grade. We were SO close, the 4 of us.
See? I liked to talk on the phone. A LOT.
I used to play basketball because my dad used to coach a local team. I was on his team so I got to actually play despite the fact that I was terrible. It was around this time that things began to get rough between my dad and me. He was a huge fan of having me actually understand WHY my math problems were solved the way they were (you should actually know this, by the way - when I was a teacher I used to totally make my kids tell me why something made sense instead of just having them memorize the steps). Anyway, I hated that with a passion. I would be up with him for hours fighting over homework. My dad and I are very similar. We like to fight when we're mad rather than walk away and neither one of us is wiling to be wrong so we both would just argue for hours and hours until I would lose because I was the kid. I can now appreciate what my dad was trying to do for my education, but in the moment it made me strongly dislike doing my homework with him.
Creating a halloween costume with my brother.
Still so innocent and loving the holidays!
Sixth grade got a little better for me. I was heavily involved in Junior Theater and had a great group of friends both within the theater program and at school. As I entered Jr. High I was unaware that I was about to enter the most tumultuous two years of my entire life. What a nightmare Jr. High was! Is it that awful for everyone? I was so lost. In seventh grade, I wasn't sure which crowd to even associate with because I may as well have had multiple personality disorder. Was I a well behaved scholarly type? Or did I wear my jeans two sizes to big with a crop top that bared so much stomach that it broke the school dress code and black lipstick and make out with boys in the hallway? OR, did I don a flannel shirt and cry when Kurt Cobain died? I think I may have dappled in each of those roles until, in 8th grade I finally settled into the middle one, sadly. Either of the other would have been preferable (especially for my parents) but nope, I went the saggy jeans, black lipstick route.
The early years of SCJT (Santa Clara Jr. Theater - now called the Roberta Jones Junior Theater after the amazing woman who ran the program for years.)
In the play "Oliver" - see that boy to my left? First kiss, he was. Ahh... to be in 7th grade again...
These were my BEST BEST junior theater friends. They were all older than me and I felt so amazingly cool being able to hang out with them. They also deeply cared and looked out for me. Especially regarding my crazy boyfriend choices early on. Good looking out, girls.
And... onto the unfortunate photos of me (barely) dressed in black lipstick. Oh, and the Jennifer Aniston haircut from "Friends" way back in the day? Love it. This was my best friend in 8th grade. We lived across the street from each other and hung out every. single. day.
Oh, with the black lipstick.
Oh, with the horrendous tie? And black lipstick. Just... awesome. I think my mom may have been making fun of me in this picture. Mom?
Jr. High brought some newfound independence. I had a best friend who lived across the street from me and we would take the bus to and from school together. I also used to take the bus to Junior Theater. All of this freedom gave me the ability to make some poor choices. The first poor choice being getting involved in my first real relationship. I would say he was my first love. I was 13 and he was in a much tougher crowd than I was. I started smoking cigarettes with him and experimented with drinking some (this was VERY minimal - and by the way, I'm not proud of any of this, but it does make up my history, so here it is). He was constantly being sent to and from The Bill Wilson Center (a program for children who were always getting into trouble and it was either there or jail). Once, while he was there he asked me to go into his house and retrieve some of his paraphernalia from his bedroom so his mother wouldn't find it. I did and I got caught. I was cuffed and read my rights before his mother dropped the breaking and entering charges on me in exchange for my agreeing to stay away from him (for my benefit, by the way, she didn't blame me for any of this). I'm sorry to say that I did not stay away from him for several more months. It wasn't until he called me from juvenile hall release because he had used a blow gun to shoot a child in the leg that I completely severed ties with him. It took me a long time to realize what a bad direction my life had taken. In the course of 8 months or so I had smoked, drank, ran away from home and been arrested before I decided enough was enough. I wasn't going to date someone who injured children for fun. At that point I made a drastic change.
I have no photos with that kid because I was a definite burn-every-piece-of-evidence-that-person-ever-lived type of break-up-er. I had a flair for the dramatics, what can I say?
I was lucky to have several core friends from both Junior Theater and school stick by me through all of that drama and see me through to the other side. I clung to them as I needed them to help me through the loss of my first love. I worked at mending the relationship with my parents that had been damaged, particularly the one with my father. I swore off smoking and drinking and breaking any rules. From there on I was "the good girl". This is not to say I was perfect, but it was a step in the right direction.
I ended Jr. High on a high note. I had made decent grades (except in P.E., of all courses) and I had good friends to celebrate with. My graduation was perfect. I felt amazing that day. My hair and nails were done and I had a pretty blue dress. My best friends and I had a blast dancing the night away to our favorite music at the Graduation dance. The boy crazy little girl in me still existed though and that night I fell hard for my second love. The boy that I would date for the next 4 years.
More awesome Jr. High friends. Those girls have all become amazing women, so clearly I was on the right path by surrounding myself with truly good people, despite my choice in boys.
8th grade graduation day with the bestie!
You'll learn more about him in Part 2. High school and the first two years of college deserve their own posts. Stay tuned!