Tales Of An 8th Grade Nothing

I’m still going through those old journals and marking memories I think I could do a much better job of writing about now. About the same age as the last post in this event:

August 13, 1988
Today me and Jessica played (mostly talked) together. She showed me her room and clothes and I showed her mine.

Not much there, per say, but Jessica turned out to be the next major frienemy after Emily (mentioned in an earlier post) I ever had. She was definitely influential in making me realize what was “cool” and the importance of the “in crowd”. Hanging out with her made me feel like there was a chance that I could be cool. I mean, there is no way SHE would hang out with ME if it was going to ruin her rep, right?

Anyway, I won’t get into all that teenage silliness, but what I really remember about that specific day was Jessica’s hair. We were over at her house talking and looking at clothes, sort of a first time experience for me. My BFF Susan and I never really spent time looking at each other’s clothes. I mean, we were doing stuff, who cares about what clothes we were wearing?! (The end of innocence.)

Back to Jessica’s hair. She had a new perm (this was the late 80’s, after all – the time of perms and big bangs) and the whole time I was over she was spraying water on it out of a spray bottle and scrunching it up with her hands. I was completely intrigued by this process and it was the spark that eventually lead to my decision to get my own naturally thick, thick, I’ll say it again, thick hair cut, permed and fully “banged” up.

It was that event, quickly skimmed over in my journal, as well as a particular day at school, while in homeroom, when I looked around and realized I was the ONLY girl that did not have either bangs OR a perm. No wonder I wasn’t in the “in” crowd. I didn’t look anything like them! It was the first time that I recognized that the things making me different were keeping me out of the group I wanted to be in (or so I thought). So, off to the beauty parlor I went that weekend to get my hair did. And, boy, did I:

See, I think it is good to look back, cringe, and realize that now that Clara is here, it won’t be that long before some of these memories might help me understand her world a little better. Before she’s screaming at me as she slams the door to her room, “Don’t you remember what it was like to be a TEENAGER!!!”

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P.S. Don’t you love the fact that I left the rubber bands on my braces in for this picture? I do. I really do. I wasn’t intending to smile that big. What 8th grader looks that ridiculously happy to be an 8th grader? It was the photographer. He suggested with a big, stupid grin of his own that I say “Men”. Don’t ever, as an adult man, tell an 8th grade girl to talk about MEN of all things! I was so embarrassed all I could do was laugh out loud and he takes the picture. Great. Just great. I’m sure someone must have uttered “nice bands” as the flash went off.

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