29 July 2010

High School



I don't actually have a lot to say on this topic. It''s just that I have Olivia's orientation tonight at Oakland Catholic, so... the idea of "high school" is on my mind. She is being flippant about this particular event - not as interested in the school tour, language selection and uniform "fashion show" as she has been in her sports boot camp, her honors testing and, of course, her first shawdowing day at the school way back during 8th grade. The only thing that concerns her tonight is that she wants her school ID photo to look good, and that will be taken tonight, so... I'm sure she'll be primped and ready to go. I have heard other mothers mention daughters worried about break-outs on their faces the day of ID photos or the fact that their photo was cropped strangely. Of course, once we view the "proper" way to wear the uniform, we will have to stock up on all the appropriate outfit pieces at Schoolbelles as well. Again, I have no thoughts on this "passage" and, as you know, I am usually full of musings, memories, reflections...

For me, starting high school remains, to this day, a pretty bad memory. I had been told in May of my 8th grade year that we were moving - this after my own high school tour, class selection and cheerleading try-outs (yeah - I'm admitting to it yet again). Of course, I cried. I shared a birthday party that year with my brother (no time for anything else) - I had my dance recital but had to back out of a summer ballet workshop audition (moving and all). I went from a school of around 1,000 people to one with over 3,000 people in it. I moved in the summer - met no one - was only permitted one pair of designer jeans, one shirt and "school shoes" on my back to school shopping outing - my Mom was frugal (despite my Dad's fancy new position in the company, complete with country club membership, a big car and a house in one of the nicest 'burbs of Detroit), and she liked to pick out the rest (for the record, a pleated cinched skirt, a plaid blouse with bows at the sleeves, topsider shoes, powder blue "dress pants" with a rainbow belt - keep in mind, this was the 80s and I was 14 - not the 70s and, no, I wasn't 8 - you can imagine what everyone else thought of my outfits ;-) . I was not allowed to shower everyday - deemed too young for such nonsense so my hair was always dirty and ugly - I usually ballet-bunned it, and... I had just gotten my new braces complete with rubber bands and head gear. I was NOT at the top of my game. After months of eating my lunch alone in the hall outside the doorway of my first afternoon class and walking to school alone, I did bite the bullet and try out for cheerleading again (no gymnastics team here), I got to know some of the girls in my dance classes (some of them "popular"), I figured out how to fix my hair, got my braces off, and.... hit my stride. Of course, a year and a half later, we moved again. Ah ... memories.

For me, my social success has been quite a roller coaster, and... let's face it, social stuff is a big deal during our formative years. As a kid, I was the petite, tanned tomboy with long sunstreaked hair who could do back handsprings across the backyard and was a star swimmer on the swim team. All the boys liked me because I could hit the baseball really hard, and I played in bare feet like a tough girl plus I was kinda pretty :-). All the girls wanted to be my friend because I was adventurous and funny, and I had a lot of old dance costumes and other stuff in my purple bedroom to play dress-up with AND my mom let us try on lipstick and powder. In middle school, I was sort of an underdeveloped kid - I clearly remember my gymnastics team physical during which I discovered that I was only 4'11" tall and weighed 92 lbs. We gymnasts were all tiny, though, so I didn't care that I still wore a child's size in clothing or that my Levi's jeans were a tiny 25 in. waist size - barely noticed that the other girls wore bras and were starting to like boys. I still had a lot of confidence back then - wore my hair in a short choppy haircut, maintained my sense of humor and made a lot of friends - "cool" friends who appreciated me for my underdeveloped, silly self. Plus, I was smart and took accelerated classes with almost straight A's every semester AND I had recently gone on pointe, so... I was a "certified" ballerina ;-) and I think that was rather interesting. Of course, you now know part of my high school story and it is not pretty :-). There's that ebb and flow again, right? AND on the bright side, being near a bigger city did wonders for my dance career in terms of connections, instruction and direction - my eyes opened to a whole new world (not to mention the fascinating older sisters and brothers of friends into punk rock, other music, art and theater - awesome, right?). Long story short, my chest grew to a DD, I was finally allowed daily showers so my hair was fab, and... I rekindled with a group of cool chickies who gave me some semblance of a social life aside from my dance and theater world. All good :-). All part of me.

So... as we, mother and daughter, embark on our on first foray into this new world of high school tonight, I guess I DO have memories - I DO have some thoughts on all this. I think I just want Olivia to find nice people, give some discipline to her classes, do her best in all her sports, find other activities that she enjoys.... just, basically, find herself and hit her own stride. It's different for her, though, because she and her friends already seem to be so complete - so together or at least determined in who they want to be - what they want to become, and... I'm sure it will change, but... for now .... I am proud, and I am enthusiastic for her.

Wish us luck tonight :-).

Photos: A cool, dewey family evening by the fire pit (rare in these days of 100 degree heat :-).

You know.... I should have sub-headed this post: "The Story of a Dork" (that dork being me, of course - and... you should see some of the recent looks I've sported and / or interests I've entertained.... TOTAL dorkness).

1 comment:

Mendy said...

At least you had some flow. I would never do high school again. I dressed weird, had a handful of uncool friends (but I did have friends) and was barely spoken to by anyone outside of my weirdo religious group/cult for 4 years.

I know, sob, sob, poor me. It's all good. I learned to notice people and acknowledge them. All of them, not just those like me.