My days as a school-loving, teacher's pet were over.
Junior high was upon me, and the only thing I could think about was: boys.
How I wish I had a do-over.
There were other things going on in my life, of course. I was still playing the flute and piano. I was on the cheerleading squad, which was lots of fun. I was a pom pon girl for the marching band. I also really enjoyed being on the volleyball team. I think I made about 2 weeks of junior high basketball practice before I realized my basketball career was going no further. I did like playing, and I mentioned before that I had adequate enough skills. I just never developed the mind of a player - never had that sense of where I needed to be and when and never had the confidence to take charge. This was kind of a bummer realization.
I got to visit Worlds of Fun in Kansas City for the first time, which was exciting. Our cheerleading sponsor, who my friend Erin's mom, took a few of the cheerleaders (along with some others) for a cheer camp.
The Unicorn Club continued on for a little while in the 7th grade. (My 12th birthday cake had a rainbow and unicorn on it.) We asked a 6th grader, Lori, to join the club. She became one of my best friends and remained so throughout highschool. I sort of hate that we had a "club," and I feel terrible if anyone ever felt left out. I'm sure they could care less about our silly club, but I think about these things, nonetheless.
I went to my first school dance. We had a lip sync contest. 3 of my girlfriends and I performed I Think We're Alone Now. (I loved Tiffany and Debbie Gibson.) I remember "holdin' onto one another's hand" during our "act," and then shimmying down to the floor to "tumble to the ground and then you say..." We also had a freeze dance contest, and I won.
My main boyfriend this year was Brent. We were kind of "on and off" from 6th-8th grade. We had our first kiss in the 7th grade. It was very "planned" (almost like a "1, 2, 3, go!") - behind Galena School. (We had been writing notes in class like this - Him: "Have you thought about it?" Me: "No, have you?" Him: "Yes. Do you want to?" Me: "I don't care.") It wasn't very impressive. (The experience - not him.) One of the times we stopped "going together," one of his friends came up to me at a ballgame and said, "Brent broke up with you." I rolled my eyes and said, "I broke up with him a long time ago."
Our biggest change at home this year included the renovations we made on our house. My mom's brother, Tom, and his wife came to stay with us while Tom, a carpenter, helped Dad build another bathroom at the back of our big living room. Before that, we only had one bathroom for our family of 6 (complete with a bright blue toilet, sink, and tub) - which was fine but maybe not for my brother and dad, amidst 4 women. That was really exciting, getting to pick out new fixtures, carpet, and wallpaper. We also had a shower in our house for the first time.
A big addition to my life was joining the youth group at my new church. My brother had been attending this church with some of his friends. This church would remain a large part of my life until graduation. I loved our youth group leaders, Tim and Marcia, and it was fun to be around the kids in the group.
I was completely enamored with one of the seniors - Russ. I know he just thought I was a kid, which felt tragic to me. He always smiled at me, though, in the hall, called me "Jen" (which no one else did at the time) and also called me "Ugly," which actually made my day. My experiences at my church and youth group honestly weren't all about boys. Sunday School and Sunday Night Church, followed by hanging out at Tim and Marcia's house were great experiences for me, and my faith and relationship with God was an immeasurable part of my life. Thank goodness I had that during this time of angst and self-absorption.
with my youngest sister Tracy on one of the trips we took to St. Louis that year
The rest of 7th grade was full of friend drama and feeling like I was in love with one boy after the next. I'm sure that I cried all of the time and was an emotional wreck.
I think this is best supported by a few excerpts from my diary:
I kind of like junior high. All of my teachers are okay. Everything would be great if it wasn't for my brother and Erin. Everytime I pass Matt in the hall, he scowls at me and says something mean. I guess he's embarrassed that I'm his sister, but I don't know why. And Erin. She's supposed to be one of my best friends, but I often wonder. (Present thoughts: Matt, you have some explaining to do.)
My parents are treating me like a baby. They won't let me stay home alone and at the hotel in St. Louis wouldn't let me leave the room without them. (Uh, I'll tell you who is NOT going to walk around in a St. Louis hotel alone - my 12 year old! Thanks, Mom & Dad.)
I feel awful sometimes. I feel like I'm a total nobody...I made a list of my faults and how to improve them. I think what I need is to stop being so quiet. (At least I had a take-charge attitude!)
My sister Cary, who is 9 years old, acts all like a crybaby lately. I love her, but she's really getting on my nerves. I'm trying to keep my cool about it. (Ha! Sorry, Sister!)
This summer's so boring. Well, not that bad. But I do wish something fun would happen. (Um, yeah, I'm still sort of like that.)
I'm sick of my parents expecting me to get as good of grades as Matt. They don't understand I'm not as smart as him and that I don't care about school. But tell that to them, and they practically ground me. (Oh, why didn't I listen?)
I've had it with boys. I don't like anyone now, and I've decided not to, either. It's too stupid.
I don't think I'm going to trust people anymore. You can be nice to someone, and they can talk behind your back.
Ooo. I'm cringing. I definitely want a do-over.