Monday, October 17, 2011

So What Did Happen?

I haven't talked about it much, but I'm still doing the NaBloPoMo and writing daily. 

Today's prompt is: What happened between middle school and high school?

Well, the short answer is a whole lot of nothing.


At the end of 8th grade my family moved yet again.  We moved to a small burb outside of Milwaukee.  I came with expectations. 

I moved to a little city from a big one.  My middle school had been 7th through 9th grade.  In the new town middle school was 6th through 8th. 

It didn't matter much to me at the time. 

I had been in a big-ish city.  My middle school had lots of kids in it.  It ran like a high school  We had regular lockers with locks on them.  We moved class rooms every hour and had a home room.  We had a newspaper and a football team and a pool.  We had study halls and more than one cafeteria and so on.  I wasn't afraid of high school.  I figured it would be just like middle school. 

Only better.

I was guessing because it was a small town, it would be easier to make friends and fit in.  I learned it's actually the opposite.  The bigger the better.  Small towns seem to have things all set from early on, like preschool and it's hard to break into that set up. 

But what happened in between?  What happened in that summer between 8th grade and high school freshman?

Well, nothing.

I unpacked my room.  I swam in the pool in my back yard.  I listened to the radio and read a zillion library books.  I wrote letters to my "old" friends and whined about missing them and being lonely.  I got a killer tan.  I bleached my hair. 

Besides my own family that summer, I didn't talk to many people.  The occasional stranger but pretty much, it was just me, music and books and memories that summer.

It was long sunny summer days of solitude by the pool.

In a way, it was the summer without friends.

I didn't see or hear from my "old" friends.  Back in prehistoric times, before cell phones or Internet, you didn't just call long distance without reason.  I wrote but at that age none of us were really letter writers.

Somehow in the new town, I never really grasped how to make friends and fit in.  I mean, by the end of high school I had a few friends, a couple of groups that would tolerate me tagging along to things, but I never clicked.  I never was part of any of the groups at school. 

In a way, it's great.  At the time, I never really realized how left out I was, now looking back I can see it clearly.  It's amazing the perspective Facebook can give you.  I look back at high school classmates, the photos from those days and I see now what I never saw then.  I saw how deep their relationships were and how out of the circle I was.  I see the photos now, the memories of all the good times, that I didn't even know were happening. 

I could sit back now and wallow and grieve that I was never part of the group, always left out of the parties and the fun, but why?  The high school memories I do have are good.  I could have made different choices back then and gotten to know people better and inserted myself into their already made groups better, but I didn't.  And that's OK.  It turned out fine.

I think it now.  About my current life.  I could do a much better job of being in different social groups and getting to know more people and building those memories and taking those pictures for the future, or I can be content. 

I am content.  There are very few times when I realize that "everyone" has been to "so and so's" house for treats and fun and I've never been.  Or "everyone" has been to this place or that or made that special connection with this person or that one, but it's silly in a way.

I don't need popularity to feel OK about me.  Yeah, sometimes the slights sting, but they are almost never intentional and it's almost always directly related to the person I am. 

I care about people and love them deeply, but I'm not a social wonder.  I have trouble being the listener, asking the good questions, offering the right invitations and hosting the right events.  I have trouble mustering up the care that I don't do those things.  That level of social responsibility doesn't come naturally to me. 

I "forget" that when you start getting initiated into a new social group-like a mommy circle or whatever, that you are supposed to do a certain amount of I called you now it's your turn to call me.  You planned the last get together so now it's my turn to plan one. 

In a way, perhaps born totally out of laziness, my life just sort of happens to me--at least this kind of stuff that seems like small stuff to me---just sort of happens.  People with grace call me and say, hey do you wanna xyz and I say sure and participate.  If after the 2nd or 3rd time the calls to come do something stop coming, I just assume they are busy like I am and don't worry about it or give it another thought, sometime later,like months or years later it dawns on me that perhaps it was just my turn to be the caller or planner or whatever it was.

It's a funny thing about me.  I was fine alone.  I still am quite OK with days on end of being by myself with quiet and solitude.  I'm fine in a group too.  i like people.  I enjoy them.  I enjoy doing things with them.  But reality is, either one is good for me.  In fact, I think I need a balance of both.

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