Middle school was by far my most unpleasant time in my educational career. For non-Americans, middle school consists of 6th-8th grade which you take between the ages of about 11-14. If you had to hang out with gangs of 11-14-year-olds, wouldn’t you be miserable too?
I started to get fat around 4th or 5th grade and remember weighing 160 pounds sometime during my middle school years. At the time that was a completely devastating number for me, which is beyond ironic now since it’s my goal weight.
One of my more wretched middle school memories occurred in the morning before school started. All students had to wait in the school gym until 10 minutes before the first bell, so we’d all congregate in the bleachers. At least two or three times while I was waiting for the bell to just ring already, a boy would come up to me and say something like “My friend really likes you.”
Now, if I was a hot chick or an athlete, I might have bought this. But even as naive as I was as a kid, I knew better. Their friend did not like me. No, they wanted to make fun of their friend by going up to the fat girl in school and saying he liked me. Oh wow, that’s so hilarious! The fat girl thinks you like her! Those adolescent comedians, where do they get this grade-A material? Who knew they were capable of anything but fart jokes?
I’m not sure how they wanted me to react, but I just ignored them and secretly seethed about it. I typically just ignored anyone who made fun of me. That seemed like a good, non-violent and socially acceptable idea at the time, but in retrospect I wish I’d stuck up for myself either by verbally smarting off to these assholes or by introducing their faces to the sidewalk. You shouldn’t let people treat you like trash and so frequently in my youth I let people treat me like they were the garbage collector.
Shit like that really sticks with you too. I distinctly remember walking across the school courtyard freshman year of high school and hearing two boys behind me say “Doesn’t PastaQueen have the biggest ass you’ve ever seen?” I’m sure they thought nothing of it and wouldn’t recall it if I saw them again, but their careless comments hurt enough that I still remember them today.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ve ever said or done anything that hurt someone so badly they still remember it. I hope not, but who knows? Here’s an open apology right now: If I ever said anything malicious that hurt you, I’m sorry. I know how it feels.