7th grade was a defining moment for me.
At 12-13, all kids shift gears (so to speak) and move into a whole new realm of learning. At this age, one begins to connect the ‘dots’ of life. You no longer just learn things – all of the sudden – you KNOW things. The lights go on and you begin to look around with a new level of understanding.
Sometimes what you ‘know’ and what you ‘see’ – don’t match up too well…
This describes my feelings as I walked onto the campus of Jr High School – decked out in my jeans. (We could wear pants now which took self expression to a whole new level) The maze of classrooms and sea of students was mesmerizing.
At this time, Janice Joplin was blaring on the radio and the war in Vietnam was raging over seas. Young people needed grounding and direction amidst the turmoil. I wasn’t going to find it here, something in me knew that.
Adding up the consequences of my short life, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t special. (I never was good at math) Life’s equation gave me the impression that others were more loved, cared for and … pretty. This school was more affluent and the differences were glaring. But, it wasn’t about money – it was about being accepted – or even noticed. I felt invisible.
As a ‘late bloomer’ I slipped under the radar for boys. (In retrospect, this was God’s protection) I didn’t really want a boyfriend – I just wanted to be accepted. The moral crowd was a mixture of accomplishment and possessions. I didn’t have either one. My faith gave me a desire to be good – it seemed to be in the fiber of my being. I wanted to please my parents and be popular. In short, I wanted to be Marsha Brady!!
I remember the day, I decided on Plan B and joined forces with the ‘cool’ crowd. These kids were accepting and wanted me. I thought, “Why not?”. No one else was asking … So, I took a deep breath and said ‘yes’ to their ways. I didn’t want the cigarette (required symbol of ‘coolness’) but took it with gusto. Almost like an initiation, I accepted their creed of ethics: cursing, complaining about parents, avoiding school books and Carol King music. (A pretty harmless gang)
My parents separated again and Mom’s sister came to live with us while her husband served in Vietnam. She was a divine distraction and Mom’s closest friend. We laughed and played together, cooked and enjoyed the life we shared together. Her smile made it fun to come home.
Girl Scouts were no longer ‘cool’ and I missed them. My aunt Jimmie Kay (on Dad’s side) had observed my artwork and provided private lessons for me! This was a highlight in my world of survival.
But, ‘bad company corrupts’ and evil does not stand still. I had attached myself to a young girl that was ‘trouble’ for me. Her socialite mom was working and we had access to the house, food, entertainment and any ‘friends’ we could conjure up. I thank the Lord we lived in such protection – no Internet, Cable TV, cell phones – Oh, the trouble we could have found! However, I did learn to lie and cheat and tune out my mother …
I was fading fast and wanted OUT of this imitation rebellion. So close to the ‘wild side’, I had received a fast education in sin. I heard stories that shock me to this day from kids who didn’t value their bodies or lives. It made me sad, but I had to keep a poker face to stay with my ‘cool’ friends.
God used this time to teach me how it feels to be lost and alone. Although my outside was tough, inside I was hurting and I could not go on this way. Deep down I wanted to help others and be liked. I wanted to wake up from this bad dream.
The ‘alarm’ sounded once school was out. Summer had brought, yet another MOVE. This one was a welcomed relief! I had a chance at a fresh start – the answer to my heart’s cry.
*The moral of this story is – when you see a young girl in rebellion, she may be hoping to be rescued!
I’m continuing my life story with Mommy’s Piggy Tales.