Disclaimer: This is one of many stories of how I met my wife, substituting real names for fictional ones from the Fire Emblem series. If you happen to know who I’m talking about, I ask that you respect these stories and keep any comments or names to yourself. Thanks!
Previously, I talked about Elementary School and how things were so free spirited and innocent. It might have been just me, but I feel like the jump from 5th grade to 6th grade was pretty significant. Let’s take a moment to talk about Middle school.
You go from staying in one classroom to having class periods. Which thankfully, our middle school tries to help you transition by having 6th grade Math/Science and English/History being taught by the same teachers, respectively. You lose those desks where you could store all your stuff to having locks and lockers. You have to wear PE uniforms now (and with that, change in front of other kids). Recess is shorter and is now called snack break..
Middle school is a weird time for a lot of kids, myself included. Add to that the fact that my siblings and I spent the Summer before at my grandparent’s house under my aunt’s and grandparent’s care. My dad was in the hospital battling Meningitis and my mom stayed there with him. Even after he fully recovered and was discharged, we all stayed at my grandparent’s house as my parents made plans to remodel our home. It felt uneasy being away from my bed, my toys, and most of my things.
In addition, my cousin, whom is only 10 days older than me, entered our school system when we were in 5th grade, and we would be attending Middle school (and high school) together. For the most part, this was a good thing, but it spawned this inadvertent rivalry between us. You see, he also played the piano and violin, and probably did lots of things better than me. I’m sure our parents, aunts and uncles couldn’t help but compare. It was never anything that caused too much strife between us, but it was always looming, whether we liked it or not.
Also, I was pretty chubby. At some point in 5th grade, I took what my grandparents were saying too literally. They kept saying I was too skinny, that they could see my ribcage and that I should eat more. And eat more I did. To the point where I had set some random goal to be 100 pounds by the end of the year. To the point where I would be eating and I would think “I’m not hungry.. I don’t care! I need to eat more!” And yeah, I actually put on something like 20 pounds and hit my goal.
Combine all of this and try to imagine being me as I enter my first week of middle school. Kids are swearing like sailors. Kids are talking about vulgar things that don’t really make sense to me because I was pretty innocent. I wouldn’t say I was “hanging out with the wrong crowd”, but rather I was being influenced by the wrong crowd. By chance, I was put in classes that didn’t have many kids that went to the elementary school(s) that I didn’t go to. So, I didn’t have much comfort in familiar faces and people. And when you’re in sat in groups facing each other, you just talk. I got made fun of for being “fat”. My legs were still bald, so some kids would say I “shaved my legs”. Looking at my peers and the older kids, I suddenly felt the need to care about what I wore. Spiked hair, sagging pants, and if you wore shorts you wore ankle socks. For whatever reason, I deemed this as “cool”. Though I never asked my parents to buy me any of that stuff, I would look from afar and think how “uncool” I was. I would, however, try to compensate. I wore jeans as much as possible to hide my bare legs and my non-ankle socks. I purposefully wore larger shirts to hide my waistline. These kids that I sat around gave me the impression that you needed to be or to act tough. My shyness was escalated by thinking that asking questions or not knowing the correct answer was a sign of weakness.
Above all, the thing that stuck out the most in middle school was the public displays of affection. Though it usually meant nothing more than holding hands, hugging and walking each other to class, this concept of boyfriends, girlfriends and couples was intriguing. Slowly, my hormones churned and I began thinking that I wanted a special someone. I have to admit, it was interesting learning about who was “dating” who and how long it lasted. In fact, I recall a time when two boys liked a girl and it was settled by a fight to the death. And by fight to the death, I mean 1 on 1 basketball game. And that girl accepted the results of that game.
It wasn’t that rough of a time, but it was certainly very different. I managed my way through 6th grade, doing my best to be a good student and be “cool”. I entered 7th grade with a bit more confidence, having a better grasp of middle school. And then, almost as if out of the blue, I met Lissa