♥Letter 2 in a series of love letters to my friends.♥
Dear Middle School FRIENDS,
Most of you I’m proud to say I’m still friends with today. The transition from an awkward adolescent to a hyper teen was made possible because of you. There isn’t a day that passes where I don’t think of you. You taught me what it felt like to be included. During this time, I left the guarded gates of Catholic School and ventured into the scary unknown of public education. I wasn’t the only one. There were quite a few of us who were making the middle school jump to the brave new world of regular clothes and secular teachers. Gone were the Friday masses, Holy Days of obligation, and small class sizes.
I don’t know if you know this but two truly defining moments happened to me during this time. The first was the day my parents divorced. I went to school because I knew you would all support me. Our Principal gave me a prayer card with the Serenity Prayer written on it and I kept it near my heart every single day. That was until my Grandmother passed. That day I gave her the prayer card to hold for eternity.
The second moment was different. The second moment was when I realized that not everyone was going to like me. The idea that I could possibly get into a fight with another girl scared me so much at the time. Every day I would run home from school through the alley. That was until one girl stepped up and said “She’s alright. Leave her alone”. That was all it took to make it end. She doesn’t know that I remember that moment. I bet she doesn’t know how much it meant to me. I’ve tried to pass it on throughout my life. It’s funny. We don’t always know if we impacted someone. We probably have done something that helped somebody at some point in our life. At least I hope that I have.
The endless trips for fluorescent clothes, acid washed jeans, and gummy bracelets were a testament to us discovering our identity. Hair height kept us on the edge of fashion. Apple hairspray and Vervé perfume created the scented cloud of innocence around us. We went through puberty together in all its glory. It was beautiful, painful, and unfortunately necessary. My dad’s handshake upon learning I had become a woman was no match for the days I spent crying because I was no longer a little girl. How quickly our activities went from Saturday morning cartoons to Friday night mall trips.
We supported each other with bus rides to the mall, Chinese tea cookies, and Farmer’s iced tea. Long nights hiding in the dug outs taught me about freedom. Watching “R” rated movies without parental permission taught me about bending rules. First kisses after the JV game taught me about boys. Thank you for calling me when I needed to talk. More importantly thank you for teaching me how to call time and temperature on call waiting so my mom wouldn’t hear the phone ring. Remember getting home and seeing messages waiting for you on the answering machine? Nothing will compare to that feeling of knowing someone wanted to talk to you.
Thank you for not loving the same member of NKOTB as me. Going to our first concert was magic, even though we didn’t eat that day and we waited in line for hours. I’ll never forget seeing a band performing live for the first time. Today I still get the same thrill. Thank you for sharing your mixtapes with me. Some of you were so much better at hitting record when the DJ started introducing the song. The love songs we taped became the soundtrack to our teenage hearts. They defined each crush we had and blissfully filled our minds with ways to mimic our idols.
I’m sorry we threw our dissected frogs out the window during biology class. I didn’t know what it meant to love animals so much. I do now. That was always one of my biggest regrets. On most days, our rebellion was clearly evident during these years. Our teachers never stood a chance. We needed to make those days interesting. We were not only learning math, geography, and history. We were learning about pushing the limits of authority and testing our newly discovered confidence. You didn’t know how scared I was sometimes of getting in trouble but I wanted to be a part of the chaos. I think that’s how I still live my life sometimes.
When I walked down the hall with my head down, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to say hello. I did it because I didn’t know how yet. I’m sorry for the hello’s I didn’t say and I’m sorry for the people I didn’t get to know. For every single note we passed (and I still have them all) my heart is full because it meant you were in my life.
Thank you for helping me grow.