There can be something very nostalgic about finding your childhood diary. You know the one, the one where you pined over your fourth grade crush named Brad. My fourth grade diary was a fuzzy pink one with the power girls printed on it, the flimsy lock broken off because I lost the key. But I'm not writing this because of Brad, I'm writing this because of middle school me. Since I was a little girl, I wrote occasionally in my diary, diaries, I should say. In middle school, I had a lot of them because it was a release for me. Middle school, like for nearly everyone was a tough time. I didn't have a lot of friends and I was really struggling to be happy. I was bullied by those who I thought were my friends. In hindsight, I should have just left them. But when you're twelve years old, all you want is to be liked. I guess why I'm writing this is because I know better now. At least, I think that I do.
1) One of the diary entires I found made me feel terrible actually. There is no date but I know it's circa seventh grade because I got this originally as a travel diary for Cape Cod, but instead of writing about the ocean I used it for reasons that I don't remember why. I honestly have no recollection of writing this at all, but I wanted to share it to show how body image impacts us when we are still developing. You might not think that girls who are eleven have body issues but they do, and so do girls who are younger. Our society is so messed up if a little girl with baby fat thinks that she needs to lose weight to look like the girl on the cover of her J-14 magazine.
"Why do I feel not skinny enough? Everyone says that I am but I still feel like I'm fat. I'm not pretty enough. No amount of makeup will make me as pretty as the girls at school. No amount of prescriptions/washing will make my face clear."
I know better now. I know that beauty is not measured by what you see on the scale but what is inside you. But to be honest, I wish it was as easy as saying just that. I love my body, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that some days I look at myself in the mirror and wished that my arms were skinner and my thighs smaller. And those girls who I wanted to look like? The ones who were mean and cruel? Honestly, no amount of makeup can make them prettier. Yes, they looked pretty. But their hearts were anything but. And how you treat people, that is a sign of how beautiful you are. Not how expensive your mascara is.
2) "I hate school. Especially lunch. I feel like they don't want me to sit, but I guess sitting, not talking, and listening to their conversations is better than sitting alone in the bathroom. And besides, you hear a lot when everyone thinks you're invisible."
This brought back a lot of hard memories for me. Honestly, middle school was the worst. And I know how easy it is to just tell someone that it will get better, but when you're twelve, those few years feel like a life time. But it is so true. High school was not much better for me, I barely had any friends. But then I got to college and it was what I was finally waiting for. After years of feeling invisible, I felt like I was seen. I made some of my best friends in just a week. In high school and middle school, your friends are your friends most of the time because it's convenient. You are around each other so often that it just makes sense. But then you get to college, and you have to search for people. And finding someone who actually gets and understands you is so much better than being friends with someone because you sat together all those years because of the alphabetical seating chart. I used to care so much about what people thought of me, and now I could care less. I only care about the opinions of those closest to me. That random girl's opinion of how I look today? Honestly could care less about her and what she thinks because she is irrelevant. In the end, almost everyone around you is. You only remember and care about what those closest to you said. And if they're closest to you, chances are they could care less about what you're wearing today. And if they do care, they're only pointing it out because they love you.
Also, it is okay to be alone every once in a while. Why did I force myself to be around those who I didn't even like? Honestly I have no clue. It would have been better for me to be alone reading a book in the library than hear some of the things I overheard at that middle school lunch table of horrors. It's okay to not fit the mold. Which my high school cross country coach once told me. "You just don't fit the mold." I don't remember him too fondly, but just because people think you're supposed to act one way doesn't mean you should. Sometimes you just don't fit into a group and that is okay. Because eventually you will.
I guess what my point is that by looking back and reading those entries taught me a lot about myself. I can't erase how I felt back then, but it was nice looking back at those times (well I wouldn't say nice, but...) and realizing that my life is pretty good now. I am happy. And younger me just wanted to be that, and it took time but I got there eventually.