In my world, middle school was still called junior high. Seventh and eighth grade. A time of self-absorption and individuation for most people, and definitely for me. I began to see myself as an individual and not just my parents’ child. I had feelings and thoughts of my own and was sure I deserved experiences of my own too.
There were good things — I had very good friends in Mary, Laura, Sam, and Jon, and there were difficult things too. If I remember correctly, my mom spent at least part of my eighth grade year in the psychiatric ward of a hospital in Little Rock. That might’ve been ninth grade, though. I’m not completely sure.
These are the years without a lot of concrete memories. I remember favorite people and teachers, but not a lot of events. I remember feeling pretty awkward and uncertain in my body. I was tall — had always been tall — but others were beginning to catch up. I wore mostly homemade clothes, which did not help my feelings of being different.
In subsequent years, I’ve learned that everyone felt as awkward and out of it as I did. A few years later, the movie The Breakfast Club came out and we all talked about who belonged in which category: the princess, the athlete, the brain, the basket case, or the criminal. We were quick to assign others to the princess, athlete and brain category and it was pretty obvious who the criminal/rebels were.