The years between 11 and 20… this will definitely need to be a two-parter. At least. I mean, we’re talking middle school, high school and the first part of college.
Let’s just tackle that middle school madness for a minute. Think late seventies. That would be when we took fashion cues from the Love Boat and whatever made it to Central Texas from the disco scene. There were those skinny little gold belts, sheer or shiny fabrics, and really odd shoes.
I, of course, was your classic slightly pudgy tomboy who had a really hard time caring about that stuff. Except for when I cared about that stuff. Which was mostly when someone pointed out that I looked like I didn’t care. Because, well, early adolescent brains just work that way.
So instead of trying to fit in with the fashions that suited the tall, thin girls, I opted for the carpenter pants and overalls (long and short) that came out in all the primary colors and white. We won’t go into the details of why white pants become problematic for young women of this age group. Suffice it to say, even Judy Blume can’t prepare you for the unpredictability that comes with all that “becoming a woman” business.
Quintessential Me Moments…
- Telling a coach who was particularly rude to some of my friends and I who weren’t able to something (run a certain pace, probably) that no, I didn’t have to respect her if she wasn’t able to earn my respect.
- Choosing to write my notes in science backwards just to provoke my teacher (and then reading them to her to prove that I was paying attention).
- Sitting in my pre-algebra class totally bewildered by the negative side of the number lines.
- Being involved in everything possible at school – from sports to student council to Spanish club – specifically so I wouldn’t have to be home in time to do chores or babysit.
If I could whisper in my own ear from here…
There will always be mean girls (and women). Stay the course, keep standing up for yourself and others. There will also be women ready to mentor you, just like Coach K. Stay the course, keep looking for them, keep learning from them. All of this will make you a better mentor, advocate and mom.