[[Side Notes: Flashback to High School
As part of NEDA week this week, I’m going to do some entries on my experiences in high school.
I know that high school can be a very hard time for many girls and boys, as they are in the height of puberty, adjusting to academia and making new friends. I want to remind you that I did not have an eating disorder at this time, but signs of it were present and the main thing I want to discuss is the time it takes to adjust, show how things will pan out, and that high school can be one of the best experiences around! Everyone talks about college being the best four years of your life, but I think my senior year of high school rolls over every year of school I’ve had, no questions asked!
I went through several phases during high school. Some were good and some were bad…but all in all, a good time. Each year was unique in it’s own right, and stands out in how hard it is to grow up, become a woman and see the potential the world has.
I started my freshman year as a terrified 9th grader. Not only was it high school and I was with three years worth of older kids, but I was also not attending the school I was supposed to go to, so I had very few friends (my parents, god bless them, got me an inter-district transfer because this school was deemed better = less gangs and higher test scores) and was not happy about it. Most of my friends, including my best friend since kindergarten was not going to school with me and I didn’t know what was going to happen. Add in I had just started to go through puberty…so you can imagine the horror that erupted in my brain.
(This is actually from 8th grade, but I looked the same into 9th, minus the glasses, thank goodness…)
Although I did not have an eating disorder at the time, and truthfully had no idea what one was, there are signs of it’s lingering existence. Puberty was a huge hit for me, “You want me to become a woman? What the hell are you trip’n on? I sure as hell do not want to give up my “girls slim fit” jeans for…hips and boobs?! Say what?!” It was not an easy transition for me to say the least, and therein began the first phase of HS: Shame. I remember distinctly hating what was happening to my body. it was like it had betrayed me by growing up faster than I was ready and could adjust.
(Oh man…I never liked this photo…but alas…Freshman HS Yearbook Picture)
In came the clothing style change from my slim fit jeans and tops to the baggiest things I could get my parents to buy. Most of the time it consisted of baggy-ish jeans, t-shirts and Hawaiian shirts to cover the t-shirt. Yes, Hawaiian shirts… I can only imagine what people thought when they looked at me, and at the same time I thought my puka shell necklaces were oh so cool. The funny part was underneath it all, I was most disgusted with having boobs. No joke. To say I didn’t like them would be an understatement: I thought they were revolting. I wore the tightest sports bras I could find to keep myself as flat as possible, and was prone to excessive slouching to keep them from showing. In reality I had very little to even make having boobs my center of attention ,but non the less…it was hard times. And add getting braces and acne to the picture, I was a raging teenager of a mess!
By the time I got to my sophomore year things were much better, as I had made many friends and now had a core groups of people to hang out with. I had also joined the school’s cross country team, which made dealing with things a bit easier, as I had gained weight my freshman year since PE was a joke and most of the time we sat underneath a tree in the shade! I was excelling in my honors and AP classes and having a great time. Don’t let me steer you wrong though, as being a girl was still a big issue for me. I dressed like a tomboy and never presented an ounce of girliness to my lifestyle. I was in part, pretty ashamed to be a girl. I simply didn’t like the pressure and attention it brought with it. This picture of me going to Winter Formal that year was a push…it was the one time I really felt like a girl. The one time that year.
(Sophomore Year, Winter Formal)
Junior year was much of the same with my cross country and track team taking priority in school. I had trained had all summer, dedicated myself like I had nothing before and finally started to see improvements (I was one of the slowest and older girls on the team at the time, as many girls the two grades below me were state ranked; talk about a blow to my running ego). Unfortunately due to my clumsy self, all that dedication was killed off when I broke the middle toe on my left foot and was sentenced to two weeks on crutches and then almost two months wearing a hard shoe. Not the greatest thing for a runner.
(Junior Year Prom)
My running career shot out the door and I was devastated. I cried at the ER, thinking back to the first and my only race of the season where I smashed my old 3 mile personal record by minutes, settling at 23:08 (yeah, can you believe I used to run an average 7.30-7.45 mile? Now I’m lucky if I get under 8 min for one mile!…but I also don’t run 50-60 miles a week like I did back then…). But I gained something out of it all: a greater, stronger bond with my couch and teammates. This is where the second stage of high school started: courage and strength. I may have been deemed the team “gimp’ and couldn’t run a race, but I never missed a practice, meeting or race. I was up at the crack of dawn on the weekends with everyone and was the informant, as I always knew the schedule and who was running what or where. I took every split for every mile and became my coaches right hand woman. I started to become a leader that the varsity girls the grades below me looked up to and best friends with the lead boys for years to come.
I came back from that injury with vigor and was ready to start track season with a band, training hard to gain back my endurance. But disaster struck again when I caught strep throat early in the season, go figure right? I spent time out of school and running and missed most of the season, but still tried to participate where I could. On the other hand, it gave me extra time to concentrate on a love I never thought I had: Art History. Not wanting to take your typical drawing class I settled into AP Art History for the year and loved it. I may have had a textbook that weighed 12 lbs but I didn’t care because I loved it, which reflected on my AP score in the spring when I got a 5 along with the rest of my classmates as we scored the highest cumulative score for an AP class that year. It was an awesome experience and one I hoped I could pursue on the side in the future after high school and in college.
After the disaster which was my junior year, senior year started it was the best one ever…but we’ll leave that for tomorrow night.
Do you remember much of high school? Did you struggle at all with making friends or trying to fit in? ]]