The Scars of Middle School

14 Jun

I think I speak for the majority of the planet’s population (and possibly even some martians) when I say that middle school was an awkward, terrible place.

For those of you who don’t know, for most of the U.S’s (I feel like I punctuated that incorrectly) public education system, middle school is the transitional 2-4 year period between elementary/grade school and high school. For me, it was 3 years, and it was miserable.

I had the fortune of attending a small “choice school” of about 300 students, while most of the other kids in my area went to the larger regional middle school. This was fine, but it ill-prepared me for the vast halls of my current high school. And, as if I didn’t stand out enough already, I scored well enough on some test I took before I left to be placed in an *exclusive* gifted program. I was in a room with the same 25-odd people for every single class for 3 years, with the exception of “normal classes” like gym. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Most of them were awesome, don’t get me wrong, and we became fast friends. A few of them I’m still in contact with. But some of them will haunt me for the predominant part of my adult life. Having squeaked by on the gifted program entrance requirements, they had loud mouths and overinflated egos. Despite probably having been the middle of the stacks regarding popularity in elementary school, in our little band of freaks they were gods. I hated them.

I had this friend in 6th and 7th grade that I adored. She was the kind of smart that didn’t make a big deal of itself. She was kind, funny, and very approachable. She began as I did, convinced that the world was against her and the only way she could survive was by hating the popular people I previously mentioned. But she started to make friends with everyone. Basically, I got tired of always coming in second to those apes, and demanded rather childishly that she choose a side. She picked them, and I don’t blame her. Luckily, I had a group of sympathetic nerds by then (not to write them off, they were and are still very amazing), so I wasn’t alone, but our battle created a rift that split our friends in half. I still regret ever having brought the matter to light.

And then there were boys. I really don’t want to dredge this topic up, but I feel that it’s necessary for a well-rounded explanation of the middle school experience. Middle school is the time when you start realizing that there are not one but TWO genders that have ways infinitely different from your own. It’s said that boys mature emotionally 2 years after girls, and in my experience, that was true. So while the little girls were writing the lyrics to sappy love songs on their lockers and entwining their crush’s last name with theirs in their diary and losing their minds over some boy, the boys were sitting 2 rows away in Algebra, either blissfully unaware or petrified beyond belief. I would like to issue a formal statement of apology to the latter half. We didn’t know what we were doing. Blame biology!

Long story short, there were A LOT of 2-week middle school “flings” (I shudder to even call them relationships). I used to swear that a friend of mine was going to date every boy in the school before the year was over (she basically did, and continues prolifically to this day). I, a wallflower, spent most of my time wishing that someone would notice me. Why did I want that? I’m still not sure I’ll ever have the answer.

For those years, I owe an apology to my mother. She put up with a lot of crap from me (did I mention depressing poetry, which by the way is still on the internet…tempting, isn’t it?). I think there were a few years where the only interaction we had was an exchange of incoherent grunts in the morning.

I’m sorry to my siblings, who put up with my mood swings as much as my mother.

I’m sorry to that friend whom I hurt pretty badly. You deserved it, but I’m still sorry.

I’m sorry to that girl who took her own life in 8th grade. I used to play princesses with you in kindergarten. You were Belle.

I’m sorry to that boy I had a crush on (hate that word). I hope those years won’t scar our friendship forever.

I’m sorry for not realizing sooner the value of having a friend that can (or can’t) keep secrets. Damnit P. I trusted you.

Middle school was about discovering yourself, as corny as that sounds. Some did, spectacularly, announcing they were gay or bi or whatever they were in the mood for that day (not to write legitimate sexual orientations off as phases, but some went through a lot of phases that didn’t carry over into high school). I eventually stopped writing depressing poetry and hating the world in general. I really am happy now, world.

I think we were all so focused on finding a lunch table that we stopped considering the quality of the friendships we were making. There’s no eloquent way to say it, but it’s true. If I were to give my middle school self advice it would be that being alone can be a good thing. Not forever, but for a moment, it’s ok to look around and understand that the events of those few years don’t define who you are or who you’re going to be. Sappiness alert. Abort!

Did anyone else have an awkward and terrible middle school or middle school-equivalent experience? As you can probably tell, this one’s still recovering from hers.


9 Responses to “The Scars of Middle School”

  1. owlmusicfreak15 June 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    *somewhat smart

  2. owlmusicfreak15 June 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    I really love this post and considering I was right with you in that “choice school” though i hadn’t made it in to HG (perhaps due to the fact elementary school had been conflicted over whether i was completely batty or sort what smart), I totally understand what you felt. the last part about the quality of friendships is scary true. I really enjoy your blog it’s brilliantly written:)

    • Olivia June 19, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

      Thank you! It was an awkward time, none of my elementary school teachers thought I was smart either. I love yours as well and hope you post more in the future!!

  3. placesivegonepeopleivemet June 15, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    I don’t know why but I love this post a lot. Coming from the “larger regional middle school” I had a similar but different experience. Middle school sucked. I’ve blocked a lot of it out of my mind but remember the kid on the bus telling me to kill myself nearly every day and the girls that would gossip about me behind my back. Yeah it sucked.

    • Olivia June 15, 2013 at 9:40 am #

      That’s terrible!! Hopefully you left it all behind in high school..

      • placesivegonepeopleivemet June 15, 2013 at 9:49 am #

        Oh yeah! High school is so much better:) and besides now the kid smoked every day on his way to the alternative school the worst part though was his dad was one of my teachers that year and I never could say,anything!

  4. gudbyeboredom June 14, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    Middle school was actually good for me. I made some really good friends. High school was very different story. I had to move to a different part of the country, took me more than a year to learn the local language and a little more than that to make friends.

    • Olivia June 14, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

      Lucky you! Although not on the last part…:( You must be really good at languages to learn it in a year though! High school’s been ok for me so far, but I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop:)


  1. Hypocrisy At Its Finest (Or: Why I Can’t Keep a Journal) | Eye Have A Lot of Feelings - July 11, 2013

    […] I decided to modernize and chronicle my adventures in a word document. Keep in mind, this was middle school, the time where everyone “finds themselves” prior to the Second Great Awakening of high […]

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