Monday, April 14, 2008

I Wonder What I Was Like In Sixth Grade...

One word for you: DORK. That pretty much sums it up. There is no other word that better describes me as a sixth grader. I was gawky, awkward, wore glasses, and liked school. I was doomed to never be part of the popular crowd before that game even started. My sixth grade school picture tells the whole story. In this picture, I sport shoulder-length, permed hair that is moussed. I have medium-sized bangs as I never could manage to make my bangs as sky-high as the trend required. I have on big gold earrings, coke-bottle glasses, and blue eyeshadow. Sixth grade was the first year I was allowed to wear any make-up and eye shadow was the only thing I was allowed to wear. My mother had to be with me with I applied it and it was done with a very light hand (nevertheless, you can see BLUE on my eyelids very distinctly as BLUE is insanely bright and wrong, wrong, wrong!). My outfit consists of a black mock turtleneck and a cream colored zip-up sweatshirt thing. I cannot for sure identify this top as a specific brand, but I am guessing it is either B.U.M. Equipment or something Guess brand. Clearly, I was a victim of the 1980's. Wow.

I am smiling in this picture, unaware of just how painful the next few years will be. As an awkward kid who had few friends, I was just entering the transitional years of junior high school. Sixth grade was the first year that all of our town's elementary schools came together and within a month, all of the cliques that would prevail for the next seven years would be created. The girls with the best bangs and the cutest Liz Claiborne purses would be the most popular and the boys who could play basketball best and ace the President's Challenge in gym class would reign supreme. Everyone wore Eastland shoes and rolled the cuffs of their jeans.

Entering sixth grade was like being thrown to the wolves in a way. I came out of fifth grade with good grades and expectations that sixth grade would be similar in a lot of ways. Having to change classes, have a locker, and deal with these new social pressures was not something I was expecting. It did not help at all that I was shy, smart, and a teacher's pet. I did not know any other way to be, so by the time I realized that I was doing everything wrong, I was already too behind the popularity curve to fix it. So, I stayed the way I was. I tried hard, played sports, and wore the right clothes, but I just never really fit in.

Obviously, I began sixth grade very naive. As an example, sixth grade was the year I found out about Santa Claus. A teacher of mine asked us to write an essay about how we found out the truth about Santa Claus and I was so confused as to what she was talking about. When I realized what she meant, I burst out in tears. I had to lie and say it was about something else entirely and then my Mom spent an entire evening trying to make things better. I am still mad at that teacher for assuming we were all "wise" to the truth. But? Hi, I was naive.

Sixth grade was a big year of change for me. I may never have been cool or figured out how to Aqua Net my bangs into submission well enough for the popular crowd to approve, but I think that was the year that I truly started to grow up.


MSO Rin said...

Your Santa trauma made me so sad! How awful for a teacher to be the one to dissillusion you, especially as you were such a good student. The bangs and the eye shadow can't hold a candle to that.

Actually, you shouldn't hold a candle to junior-high/middle-school bangs. They'll catch fire for sure.

glove said...

I do wonder. I had tried to block the traumatic years from my memory. Now I'm going to have to go fishing and find them again. Hmmm. . . (watery dream sequence beings . . .)

super jane said...

i still can't believe that you weren't part of the popular crowd. i would've bet a million bucks you were on the other side of that coin.