I am telling you now, dear boy, that junior high is fantastic and awful and amazing and embarrassing all rolled into two years.
I realize you’ll be a teenager soon so you already have all the answers, but please entertain me and read this from beginning to end.
Seeing as I don’t share the same anatomy as you, I won’t pretend to know how you are feeling as you transition from an old boy into a young man. But I do know how it feels to be a hormone-crazed girl and my best advice to you when dealing with such a species is: Be nice. Be respectful. Beware.
Over the past three months, there are a handful of girls who, much like me when I was their age, spent their summer days leading up to seventh grade obsessing over how they’ll look, who they’ll hang out with, and how they’ll manage to act casual yet intriguing in front of boys much like you.
The same girl you remember playing kickball with last May will show up in a week smelling nicer, looking older, laughing louder, and talking uncontrollably about crap you couldn’t care less about.
You are bound to feel confused and slightly annoyed by this behavior. Realize she may be second-guessing every decision she makes…so…
She will playfully punch you in the arm and tell you that you’re stupid while batting her eyelashes (which are longer than you remember) and you’re going to wonder, “What in the hell is she doing with her eyes? I don’t even know where I’m supposed to look.”
They’ll be crop tops, mini skirts, and little left to the imagination.
Whatever you do, don’t look down. Keep looking at girls in their eyes. In other words…always…
You will have feelings that are fueled by these alien females as well as constant razzing from your male peers. Do not engage in questionable behavior or hang out with the less-than-desirable crowd because you think it makes you seem cooler. I know I am slightly biased as your mom, but I can tell you with 100 percent certainty: You are cool enough as is.
Remember what is important to you. Continue to be a leader both inside and outside of the classroom.
No matter how much you or those around you change in terms of physical growth or behavioral tendencies, always remember what is important to you (yes, I repeated that on purpose). And when little miss sunshine comes prancing around the corner asking you to cut back on the things that make you the happiest in life so that you’ll have more time to spend with her…no matter how hot she is…
Written (with love) by Heidi Woodard
Love this post, Heidi. Great advice! I remember Jr High as also being a time where, as moral character was being formed, a very clear line developed between The Tormenters, The Tormented, and Those Who Intervened. Those Who Intervened, the select few who were brave enough to stand up for others and for what they, themselves believed, went the farthest in High School and beyond. It is so hard to stay true to yourself at that age, but nothing will serve you better in life than learning how to do just that.
By the way, I assume that fire you’re staring into so reverently was a ceremonial burning of your MC Hammer Pants collection to make room in your closet for your incoming wardrobe of Hypercolor t-shirts?
We were burning out school uniforms (REBELS!). I had enough common sense to keep my MC Hammer pants. After all, I’ve always considered myself 2 Legit 2 Quit.
I wish my mom had written this to me back then — not that I would have read it or heeded it.
What Shannon said,
“Those Who Intervened, the select few who were brave enough to stand up for others and for what they, themselves believed, went the farthest in High School and beyond.”
So true. Had I not been so busy being tormented, I hope I would have been brave enough to have intervened, though I doubt it.
The curves of Hildegard Gooding and scent of Loves’ Baby Soft took me down early, and hard.
Middle school was a proving ground of sorts, and I proved I would not come into my own for another 30 years,
Loves’ Baby Soft!! Bahahaha! Worn by middle school girls of yore and strippers today.
Simply stated: well done, Heidi. You have great insight.
I have stuff to say…not always sure it’s true “insight” 🙂 but I appreciate you saying so!