I decided to share some pretty personal stuff with you from my junior high/high school days. Weird that it was only 5 years ago that I graduated, but it feels like a lifetime ago...because I have grown up so much since then!
Junior high was a pretty weird time for me. I had gone to private school almost my entire life before starting middle school, and was used to small school groups/uniforms/and an all around different environment. When I went into 7th grade, I literally had no friends. Only 1 year before we had moved toa new house in a different town, so all my friends were still in private school...and here I was starting 7th grade knowing nobody.
I remember lunch was the worst because I had no one to sit with. I always felt so embarrassed walking through the tables of people and not having anyone to eat with. I'm not writing this for you to feel bad for me haha! Junior high was like 11 years ago! But I'm telling you this more to show you that everyone goes through hard times at some point in their lives. (Obviously this is nothing compared to what others face, but for me in that moment it was hard!)
I finally made some friends in junior high that I felt pretty close with, and things were looking up. But I had one "friend" in particular that really had it out for me. She would start rumors about me, tell other people I started rumors about them, and try to get people to say awful hurtful things to me. I never knew why she did it, but for some reason I still hung out with her??? So weird! I remember texting my mom to pick me up a lot at school, or having her come stop by at lunch so I could eat in her car. I was sad a lot, but mostly just confused that a friend could be so mean to me.
No one knew how I was feeling though because I always tried to act so cool. I didn't want anyone to think anything negative about me, so I tried so hard to be cool....like it's almost sad how hard I tried. But really I was super super self conscious and growing through awkward middle school stages.
At the end of 9th grade every single one of my friends had changed. They all grew up really fast, and I could tell they were just different. The Summer between 9th and 10th grade was an eye opener for me. I realized many of my friends weren't doing great things and I knew if I kept hanging out with them that I might start to do bad things too. So I literally didn't see any of them all Summer....and I started high school with zero friends again.
Fortunately I joined the Dance Company at my school, and quickly made friends with the girls there. High school was already so much better than junior high, although I began suffering from social anxiety. I didn't realize that at the time though, but looking back that's exactly what it was! If you knew me back then I 'seemed' really outgoing but I was constantly worrying. Worried my hair was messed up, worried about eating in front of people, worried about the smallest strangest things. But seriously you guys, these things were a HUGE deal to me at the time. I had several boyfriends in high school that I never ate in front of ONCE. WTF?! I was sooooo worried about not looking pretty 100% of the time that I alienated myself from situations and always avoided being around boys when I ate.
I laugh at myself now, because no one really cares about that kind of thing. And I would have enjoyed life and high school so much better if I didn't worry so much or try so hard to be cool or perfect. I was also made fun of a lot (especially in junior high) for the way I came off to people. Kids always made fun of how I walked. People said I walked "like I was so cool" and they teased me and made me feel bad. I truly am not sure how I walked but I do know I had great posture from ballet practice 9 hours a week, so maybe that was it?? I tried so hard to actively slump my shoulders when I walked so that people wouldn't say mean things to me about it. It's just sad that these kids say surface level things that actually really sting deep. You just never know what people are going through!
I'm mostly sharing this post because I want to share 5 things I wish I could say to my younger self. Hopefully this resonates with someone, because if this helps just one person...that would be worth it!
-No one cares or notices how you eat! Seriously unless you are literally spitting food out of your mouth and onto someone....they aren't even thinking about you when you're eating. SO EAT THE DANG FOOD.
-No one is perfect all the time, and you're not either...which is OKAY. We all have off days or weeks, and no one expects you to look 100 constantly. Just love yourself through the on & off days.
-Smile more! Be happy, be friendly, and make people smile with your smile. Being serious or "acting" cool isn't cool! Being nice and happy is cool!!
-You don't need everyone to like you. Some people just won't like you, and that's okay. You can't please everyone, and some people just don't wanna be your friend. Just remember to be nice, and move on!
-Don't change for anybody! If your friends are only friends with you because of (fill in the blank) then who needs them anyway! Also don't be afraid to cut people out of your life that don't make you happy. Also, middle school/high school friends don't always last, so who really cares in the long run? Especially if its a toxic relationship!