Thursday, June 01, 2006

The beginning of the Up-side (Part 3: 9th Grade)

Freshman year, 1992.

After two years of whining and complaining to my mom about how awful it was being in junior high and how snobby and mean-spirited the girls could be and two years of my mom reassuring me that in high school I would finally find people with whom I could fit in, after two years of waiting for that horrible right of passage to be over, I entered the ninth grade.

This was the year they decided to go high-tech and put digital photos on our ID’s. It made us all look like we had run around with black Sharpies in our noses right before pictures were taken.

And you know what? My mom was right. Sure, there were still those mean girls trying to rule the roost and be self-important, but for every one of them, there were 15 kids that didn’t care about them at all. I hung out with kids who went to the same church as me. I met kids in my honors classes that cared about academics as much as I did. I joined clubs and met people with similar interests. I played basketball and ran track and made friends with people who even had the same schedule as me. I finally did find a niche that I fit into and people who not only accepted me for me, but were also a lot like me.

Midway through my ninth grade year, I met Ryan. A girlfriend of mine was actually the one interested in him, so I perpetuated typical freshman behavior and ran over and let him know oh-so-subtly (like a Mack truck) that my friend liked him. It turns out, he didn’t so much care for my friend as he did talking to me. Looking back, maybe this wasn’t such a great “friend” move on my part, but I continued to talk to him and we got to know each other over the next few weeks. He was a junior to my freshman, a self-assured 16 year old to my innocent and meek 14. (Yeah, at 14, innocent still fit.) At first blush, I wasn’t so into him being that he had this long hair that had earned him the nickname, “Jesus.” But in getting to know him, it became part of who he was – the boy who would soon hold the title of “my first boyfriend”. After those first few weeks, we were inseparable.

And that’s it. To sum up, freshman year was a time for me to realize that just because you’re different (me = the poster child for different) doesn’t mean you’re going to be alone the rest of your life. Oh, and that boys, specifically one boy, really rocked.