I recently had to write a paper for a class where I had to use particular sociological theorists and apply their theories to my life. One of the theories in particular really stuck out. It speaks about keeping a "file" in order to truly study society and how you need to know the individual. I have been writing a "file" or journal for over 20 years. At one time I wrote every day. The details of certain periods of my life are forever preserved.....for better or worse. That time period was high school.
I started junior high school at a disadvantage.
In the summer between seventh and eighth grade, I had lost my brother in a very tragic motorcycle accident 1,000 feet from the house I grew up in. My brother was an extremely popular, energetic and positive person. Everyone knew him and most of them loved him. Since I was pretty young when it happened and it was the first funeral I had ever been to, it was quite surreal for me. One of my teachers who was close to my brother when he died kept saying "I'm so sorry for your loss" I didn't really know what he was talking about. I kept expecting my brother to walk into his bedroom where I would be laying on his bed watching his little black and white television and say:
"Oh come on.....there's a basketball game on....go downstairs and watch T.V!"
I was probably in denial for the first few years afterwards.
When the school year started ,people either avoided me or tried to be friends with me just because they wanted to somehow feel closer to him. I know that because they never even talked to me before. I didn't know who my real friends were until years later. One day in the cafeteria, a tough girl pointed at me and said:
"That's the girl whose brother is dead!"
And she laughed. A few people that I thought were my friends, stopped talking to me completely once they found out.
I always dressed older than my age and developed a full figure quickly. I walked with my books over my chest. Like a lot of teenagers, I just wanted to grow up. Two years later, one day, my English teacher announced in front of the whole class that I dressed "sleazy." I was mortified. A bunch of the kids laughed but most of the girls in my class looked horrified. The teacher used to give out a ridiculous punishment called "Big Blues"......a paragraph stating how you will never ever do ____ again. You had to write over and over again.
I used to have to write them all the time for no apparent reason.
One day while hanging out by the cafeteria with my friend Kay, whose sister knew my brother. Kay was recalling the time that her parents went away and my brother and his friends decided to jump their fence and go for a swim in their in-ground pool. Kay was friends with Cassandra whose brother had recently died. Her brother was in his 20's and none of us really knew him. She became enraged when overhearing us talk about my brother. She said:
"Shut the fu*k up!" I am tired of hearing about him. He's dead......get over it!"
I calmly stood up and punched her in the face. Both of us were taken to the principal's office and in separate offices we explained what happened. Being that she was clearly still grieving her brother and I had issues with what she yelled at me...... they gave us both a week of detention separately.
Kay was a very flirtatious girl and a lot of boys liked her. Kay was used to getting what she wanted. What she wanted was a boy that was in my social studies class. She knew that I was friendly with him and she asked me to tell him that she liked him. I did. He said "I like someone else though......YOU!" I was completely shocked. I was very shy and didn't date in high school. The idea of this boy liking me made me nervous. That weekend Kay invited me to sleep over her house. I knew she had an ulterior motive but I didn't want it to get in the way of our friendship. I was nervous that she was going to ask me what he said about her. Sure enough it was one of the first things. Sitting on her perfect bed in her perfect room twirling her perfect hair she asked" So what did he say" I said "Oh I don't know.....I don't know if he heard me." She hammered me for details. I just wanted her to get over him and stop obsessing. I blurted out "He said he likes me!" She said "Oh!" and tried to fake a smile.
That Monday in school, it seemed like the whole school was against me. Kay had a lot of friends. She must've told all of them that I said the boy liked me.Several of them yelled "Slut!" at me as I walked by. 'What had I done that made me a slut?' I wondered. 'I never even kissed a boy!' I approached one of her friends when she was alone and said "What's going on?" She said" Well there is a rumor going around that you went home with that boy and fooled around with him!" I said "What? That's a lie!" All day I heard "slut" "tramp" "'ho" being yelled at me. You name it...... her friends called me it! As I was walking to my gym class, I was suddenly surrounded by Kay and all of her attack dogs. They pushed me, threw my books, and pulled my hair. I just kept yelling "It's a lie!" I ran into the art class nearby where I knew that boy was, I pulled him out and said "You need to straighten this out right now!" He had no idea what was going on. I asked him in front of the gang of witches "Did you and I EVER fool around?"
"No" he shouted.
I asked "Have I ever been to your house?"
He yelled "No, never!"
Several months later, Kay and her attack dogs wanted to make it up to me by kicking the crap out of a girl they hated. This girl was the daughter of a teacher. Her mother was my teacher. My teacher did not give me the 3rd part of my test because I had a fight with her daughter. The daughter overheard me say that "I want to kill her for failing me when I have a B+ average!" It was just a reaction to receiving my failing grade. I looked at the other students tests. I clearly did not receive the 3rd part of the test. When I got home from school that day, my mother told me that the principal called and wanted to see me in the office the next day with my mother. We went. I explained my side and the whole matter was dropped except that I never forgot about it. It bothered me for years. As far as I knew, this had never happened to anyone else with that teacher. It was all because I disagreed with her daughter!
(article to be continued.....stay tuned!)