1. The morning after a sleepover.
I relished sleepovers. Fact is, I still do. But something I never relished was what ensued the morning after. If I was put in the guest room alone, which I usually was, then I’d typically wake up around 8:30am to the sound of bagels being eaten and voices too far away to make out. By this time I would be utterly famished, drooling and rolling around in bed, waiting for someone to get me. Who knew if my buddy was even up yet? I wasn’t going to take those chances. If I did emerge from the guest room, into the kitchen, and it turned out buddy was still sleeping, then I’d run the risk of having to make awkward conversation, uncomfortable food demands, and an awkward encounter with her hot older brother. So I’d stay frozen in this tense state in a strange room and an even stranger bed for at least two hours—to date, the longest two hours of my life.
2. Being pantsed.
As an 8-year-old during recess, I can’t even begin to describe the anxiety I had over getting pantsed. By the end of recess it was not uncommon for my hands to have lost all feeling, clenched as they so tightly were for 45 minutes to the waistband of my pants.
If someone tries to pants me now, i will take enormous pleasure in reporting it as sexual assault. So, who’s gonna pants me now, huh??!! Yeah, that’s what I thought.
3. Mid-day gym period where we’re forced to swim.
As it happens, 25-year-olds with full-time jobs aren’t required to strip mid-day, change into a one-piece and play Marco Polo in a pee-infested pool. Which works out quite nicely for me, as it eliminates the stress that comes with a mid-day public pube showing.
4. Getting a bad report card.
Here’s a fun game to play if you’re 8 years old and want to have the stress level of a 70-year-old man mid-stroke: Intercept your report card and delay your parents seeing the D you may or may not have gotten in Chem. Knowing at the back of your mind that your parents will inevitably get their hands on it, your stress level will be at an all-time high for the two days spent hiding it in your jewelry box.
5. A murderer living in your closet.
It’s just less plausible now. What kind of murderer wants to kill a 25-year-old lazy girl with the lungs of Woody Harrelson? Now, an 8-year-old with bangs and swollen nipples? Grade-A murder material.
6. Having to sing a French song in front of your entire middle school.
Was anyone else subjected to this cruelty? Of literally being forced to sing a verse of “Champs Elysée” ALONE and in front of the ENTIRE middle school, despite having shown no singing ability whatsoever? I’m pretty sure I intentionally broke a rib to get out of that one. Also, I consider this to be proof #45899 that middle school French teachers are conspiring against the egos of 8-year-old girls.
7. Not being allowed to urinate.
Only in the twisted institution of private middle schools could a teacher have the power to prevent you from urinating and the urge to enforce such power. I will never forgive Mr. Schlessinger for not letting me go pee on on our school field trip to Chinatown and forcing me to, in stead, pee my pants on the school bus back, at the ripe age of 13. NEVER.
8. The entire school finding out that you got your period.
Damnit, why did 5th grade have to be so weird? Not only was that the year that I was prematurely visited by The Crimson Flow, but it was also the year I grew a total of 7 inches. A real, legitimate fear was the boys finding out that I got my period. Why 11-year-old boys cared to know about this and what they planned to do with such information I’ll never know.
9. Trying out for any sports team.
I never even wanted to be on the school basketball team, but for reasons unknown there was so much goddamn pressure to do it. There is a certain spot in my lower abdomen area that’s reserved for the fear and anxiety of trying out for the 7th grade basketball team. I can still feel the fiery pit of hell in my stomach that would emerge as soon as I was called up for a running layup. Goddamn layups; goddamn dribbling—I wasn’t cut out for these absurdities!
10. Being tricked into watching Psycho.
One time when I was 9 I showed up at my friend’s house and was all, “Whatchya guys watchinnn?” They told me it was called On The Run, but as soon as Vera Miles entered the motel, I knew. i may have been on the autism spectrum, but I knew a shower murder scene when I saw one. But as soon as I figured out it was Psycho, it was too late. One “friend” had me pinned down to the chair while the other “friend” was holding my eyelids open. So…yeah. That doesn’t happen anymore.
11. Being vagina punched.
You’re saying you WEREN’T punched in the vagina as a 9-year-old? Weird. One second Billy would scream “vagina punch!!!” in my face and the next thing I knew his fist would make contact with my pubic bone. That was some fucking scary shit.
12. Random shots and strep tests.
Obviously the necessity of strep tests and shots haven’t gone away, but at least now we’re given due warning. As a child i’d be sitting down, leisurely, on the doctor’s table when all of a sudden a large hand would attempt to choke me with a wooden stick, and forcibly too. Would a simple warning have killed you?
13. Are You Afraid Of The Dark?
The second that menacing bonfire would appear on my screen, my mind would be instantly flooded with rapists and robbers. And for what? One episode of Salute Your Shorts?
14. Being kidnapped in a grocery store.
Kidnapping was another huge fear of mine, probably #3 on my list—after daddy long legs but before moths and midgets. And I don’t know why but in my head, the scenario in which I was kidnapped always took place at a grocery store. I still fear being kidnapped, but now I have genius get-away plans. Like pretending I don’t speak English, can’t understand the kidnapper, and so will (hopefully) be rendered useless and let go. Or contorting my face into a really ugly, pug-like shape.