Thought Catalog
May 21, 2012

5 Life Lessons I Learned In Middle School

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Middle school was a tumultuous time for me, defined by a lot of parent fights, friend fights, and plastic hair accessories. If you offered me a million dollars and a life’s supply of burritos, I wouldn’t do it again — I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have the stamina to survive it twice, and I’m definitely sure I wouldn’t be able to stomach listening to all that Smash Mouth a second time. All this being said, the train wreck that was middle school taught me a lot of lessons that I’ve carried on with me into my semi-adult life. They are:

1. You can’t make someone fall in love with you.

I was head-over-heels in like with the same blonde-haired, blue-eyed vision all throughout middle school. He dominated my every waking thought and was the absolute star of the Backstreet Boy diary I kept underneath my bed. Unfortunately for me, he was always on-again off-again with my arch-enemy, this totally bitchy girl who used to slip hate-notes into my locker and throw my stuff away in the dumpster. I was forever trying to find new ways to drag my prince away from this Juicy-sweatpant-wearing, evil step queen; unfortunately, though, it was all for naught. Fortunately, however, ten years later, I’m in a wonderfully adult relationship with a guy who I didn’t even have to bribe with spaghetti straps and Fun Dip in order to fall in love with me. He did it all on his own. Sometimes being grown up really is all it’s cracked up to be.

2. You might not be as hot and/or stylish as you think.

When I was 12-years-old, I genuinely thought I was a good-looking, fashionable contribution to society. I now look back on this sentiment with horror and self-disdain. What made me think I was God’s gift to my tiny private school??? I mean, I had poorly-straightened, mud-colored hair, a huge stye on my eye for like a year and a half, and constant visible aftermath of the 19-ish oral surgeries I underwent as a preteen. I wore glittery T-shirts that made brash statements like “Don’t hate me cuz I’m beautiful, hate me cuz your boyfriend thinks so” and platform mary janes that legitimately made me look like a clown. Anyway, this is all to say that I’m deeply and truly concerned about being in my 30’s and hating my current 22-year-old self. What am I doing now that is, unbeknownst to me, totally unforgiveable? What is my modern-day equivalent of fluorescent-colored butterfly clips and “99% angel” keychains???? The fear keeps me up at night.

3. You’re not as sneaky as you think you are.

Somewhere between the time my 7th grade science teacher caught me creating gel-pen body art during class and the time my mom caught me discussing the merits of The Eminem Show on the phone past my bedtime, it became painfully clear to me that I am not a sly person. I’m much better at being blatant than I am at being subtle, which is why I now tend to do things like eat with my hands like a bear and drop it low in inappropriate places. We can’t all be blessed with poise and grace.

4. Physical activity will always suck.

As a doe-eyed 12-year-old, I may not have yet understood the horrors of disease, abuse, and death; I did, however, fully relate to the terrible fate that was pulling on a pair of locker-room-smelling gym shorts and being forced out to the P.E. field like cattle. My phys-ed teachers totally hated me, and frankly, I don’t blame them — I played with my hair during capture the flag, shamelessly got myself tagged out within the first 30 seconds of dodgeball, and walked a 22-minute-mile while my peers were running a seven-minute one. Ten years later, I go to the gym out of my own free will, and while I don’t hate it, I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that I love it. I feel very little for the gym; on the scale of things I’m passionate about, I would put it right above lasagna and right below Coldplay.

5. Girls will, unfortunately, be girls.

I won’t even go into all the girl sh-t that went down during my formative years; it pains me to remember it and if you’re looking for petty content, you can just turn on Bravo. I’ll simply say this: girls are the worst. They just are. I don’t care if that’s not a feminist thing to say, and I definitely don’t care if it’s a stereotype. I learned in middle school that when it comes to girls, you gotta find the good ones, stick to them like they are the air you breathe, protect them like they’re your first-born children, and never, ever let them believe they’re fat. Case closed. TC mark

image – rolfekolbe

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