Whenever I ask a little one what grade they are going into and they reply with “Seventh grade” I have to try really hard not to say “Run….run fast” but I must rather smile at them and lie by saying “Oh that’s wonderful. Good luck!” But really, in all honesty, good luck little ones. I pray for you.
This is me in the seventh grade.I was in a place called Lava Ridge Intermediate School. What the hell is “Intermediate school?” It’s this great place in Southern Utah where they stick 6th and 7th graders who are all trying to manage puberty. It’s as fun as it sounds.
I loved headbands, horizontal stripes and as you can tell had a great brace face. I loved going to the orthodontist and changing my colors in my braces, it was a very creative process for me at the time. I sang in the Dixie Childrens Choir and my favorite class was Art and PE. I was a bit of a Tomboy and had a love for Hot Topic and all things punk style. I was gathering a new music interest during that time, punk rock! Simple Plan had my heart and soul. I was starting to figure out that I fancied boys too. I had a great list of celebrity crushes who I was sure I was going to marry someday. You can see this great selection of men from the collage I created when I was twelve. Please take notice that Ryan Cabrera is taking a selfie with a flip phone, classic. During this year I also learned what many cuss words were, including the F word! Once I knew what that was and what it meant, I thought I had found an entire new meaning to life. I thought I was blossoming into such a badass.
This was the year where I met two of my very best friends, Conner and Candice! I’m still happy to say that they are still very near and dear to my heart to this day. No matter how long we may go without talking they will always be my girls. We met in math class and sat together in the first row to make sure we always had a good look at our math teacher who we all had the hots for. We were completely inseparable. I don’t remember note passing being an actual thing until this year but when you start writing and passing notes, you can’t stop.
As optimistic and funny as I like to be, there’s a serious part of my life during this time that I believe needs to be discussed in schools and homes much more than they are. I know I’m not the only one who has been through great pain with it as well. This was my first time that I ever had to deal with being bullied. I’ve been picked on before but it was never as serious as it was this year.
I never knew that I wore my pants high and never took notice until a group of girls liked to remind me every day in the hallways. I didn’t even know these girls and I was so confused as to why I had to be their victim. It didn’t stop in the hallways either, our second semester I was scared to death to find out that I had a keyboarding class with two of these girls who I remember would always make a comment walking by and how the teacher never noticed their sneers I will never know. These girls also would remind other friends of theirs in the class and they would remark “Oh my gosh they are high” and would start to chuckle in the corner. I can also remember a time a girl said “Oh my god. I have the same shirt as she does. Ew I’m never going wear that again.” It was my favorite bright pink shirt and I don’t think I wore it again after that comment. I wanted it all to stop but never knew how to make it stop without looking like a loser.
This year there was also a rumor going around that I was a lesbian. Which today I wouldn’t care because being a lesbian is not a bad thing! However, as a twelve year old who grew up in a conservative community I just couldn’t understand who would be saying such things about me. Did I look at girls funny? This was the first time I almost questioned my sexuality and it scared me because I liked boys. I was kind of tomboy though so I questioned if that did make me a lesbian. I didn’t understand sexuality so how could my other classmates? Sure, I was very friendly toward girls, I would even compliment girls because that’s just want I do. I didn’t even have my period yet, I wasn’t even considered a young woman yet, how could I ever be a lesbian!? At this point I was wondering if it was all going to end and when it would end.
During this time social media was on the rise and instant messaging was a favorite past time for all of my friends after school. This was when I first learned what cyber bullying was. This girl happened to be in an afterschool program I was and it made me really sad because I loved it so much but got to the point where I would dread going. I would have comments that I was ugly, I looked like a rat, and that I would never be as great of a singer as she was. I fought with my cyberbully for a good couple of months until I finally confronted my mother about it and when that didn’t stop I did something myself. I was at my breaking point with bullies and knew that if nobody else could help me I could only help myself. She was next to me and a friend and I starting talking about her….in front of her and then flipped around and said “How about you say those comments you make to me online TO MY FACE!” I hated to be rude because that’s not who I am but you know what happened? She stopped. After a good few months of being harassed online I faced my fear and confronted her.
I have never held a grudge against my bullies. I never knew what they may have been going through during that time in their lives to treat me that way. I believe that being a bully is just as much of an emotional issue as being bullied is. Today, I am on talking terms with the girls that used to bully me! They are beautiful and kind women. They are married, have careers, and most of them are great mothers today. I actually became pretty good friends with a couple of them in 9th grade.
I don’t know how I got through the seventh grade without being a complete asshole to everyone or go through a dark time in general. I’ve always been good about trying to keep a positive mind and spirit. This unfortunately is not always the case. A lot of kids go through far worse bullying then I could imagine, depression, and suicidal thoughts. There is further help to seek now than I ever knew about at that age and I encourage parents and schools to fight for kindness and help. Talk to kids about how to seek help with bullies, there so many different hotlines with people who have the best words to say. Here is a list of many hotlines! http://www.teenhealthandwellness.com/static/hotlines#Bullying
I recently watched a movie on Netflix called A Girl Like Her which I suggest everyone watch at any age. It’s about a girl being bullied and the bully herself. It was emotional on both ends and shows a lot of truth.
Always remember how important it is to spread kind words and encouragement toward our younger generations! It is so important that this age group understands puberty, bullies, and how to overcome these difficult years.
Spread kindness and remember that we rise by lifting others!
The Wonder Seeker.