Ask anyone about their Middle School experience and the responses are varied. You’ll hear words like fun, weird, crazy, painful, brutal, or in my case, forgettable. In my day and district, Middle School was referred to as Junior High. It was nestled between grades K-6 and the big show of grades 9-12. For the most part, the pubescent years were for lack of a better term – a shit show. You were not really a kid anymore and you were looked down upon by district upper class men. It was the most awkward time of my life.
As a girl, I felt like an Amazonian giant looming in the halls of Junior High in grades 7 and 8. Having a huge growth spurt in grade 6, I was inches taller than my peers (even the males) but it might as well have been 25 feet taller. I felt like Godzilla walking into a classroom. I sprouted acne that resembled craters on the moon’s surface, and suddenly I had boobs that seemed to occupy their own zip code.
While I had friends and interests, I had no interest in interacting with adults. I was seemingly embarrassed to speak. As a result I had flushed those two years out of my memory. I wanted no recollection of feeling like a sideshow act rather than the good girl human that I was. I would disappear by turning to music in my bedroom learning lyrics from album liner notes and practiced my dance lessons from dancing school in my basement.
I often tell my Jake and Jules that I may not have survived those years if social media was alive. Those years were raw and painful. Seeing others posts about what I perceived as perfect may have impacted me far worse than it did. Our young kids today are subject to missiles of perfection being launched into their souls by countless videos, texts, and the infamous Tik Toks and Reels. Don’t get me started on the targeted texts hurled into their laps like cherry bombs sent to destroy their self esteem. I can’t take watching this happen now so I’m thinking I would have really taken a dive in the 1970s.
If you’ve been following my tales here, you’ll remember that Jake works in our district’s middle school as a monitor. He absolutely loves his job and what he does there every single day. He is part of an amazing community of teachers, staff, and of course the students. This is the same school that he attended in grades 6, 7, and 8 and the same school I attended. This afternoon Jake sent me a link to a video that the staff and faculty created for the year‘s final presentation. It was titled “This Is Me“. It was a choreographed and lip-sync number synced to the song of the same title from the movie “The Greatest Showman. It depicts Circus sideshow participants who were labeled “freaks” by society. It is a very emotional piece talking about staying true to your values and remembering who you really are. If you ever have a chance to listen to the lyrics of this song, I highly recommend it. This faculty production brought me to tears. It touched my heart in that it reminds kids and quite frankly everyone who watches it, to stay true to who you really are. Do not let anyone try to change you into something you are not or some thing you don’t believe in. Be brave, be fearless, and stay a warrior who fights for who you would like to be. Social media will try to change that and get you to follow a path of perfection. Please remember that perfection is fleeting. What you consider perfect and someone else considers perfect is diabolically different. Who you truly are though is something unique to you and only you. A huge thank you to the JFK Faculty for loving their student body and each other enough to create this production. I am proud to know many of you and your talents. My son, with his own differences, is lucky to work with such talented and compassionate teams.
To our younger set of kids bringing up the rear and following in our footsteps – I urge you to look within yourselves before comparing yourselves to others. Stand tall and always rise above what others think of you – or worse, what you think they think of you. Say to yourself…I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be…this is me.
3 thoughts on “This is Me”
This brought me to my knees. Not sure how social media would have impacted me but pretty sure not in a positive way.
Great advice, stay true to yourself. These are the “shaping years”. XXOO
I just watched the video, then came across your post. Tears! xoxo
Thank you 🙏