Everything you saw on Freaks and Geeks was true, guys.

Yup.
Yup.

Like you know how Sam looked like a baby compared to Daniel and his friends? Isn’t it so crazy how that can just happen in a span of a couple years?

Physically, I was a normal “bloomer,” I think. People always thought that I was a bit older than I actually was. But emotionally?

Oh boy.

I spent junior high just trying to make it through the day without embarrassing myself around the cool kids, and I was much more focused on having real snap pants and Spice Girl shoes and the latest photos of Marilyn Manson up in my locker than I was on walking around in stiletto boots and mini dresses.

There were a few girls in grade nine when I was in grade seven who were the Cool Girls. The leader of the group was named Shelley. Any time I saw her in the hallway, I’d freeze and stare. Shelly looked like a real grown up compared to the rest of us.* She was supermodel tall with an amazing hourglass figure and perfect large-but-perky tits. She dressed impeccably in all of the latest trends, wore full Pamela Anderson makeup, and her hair was always freshly bleached blonde and meticulously straightened. I didn’t want to be her, but I wanted to be her. (That’s a statement you’ll either totally get or skim over depending on who you were in junior high/high school.)

Cool Kids.
Cool Kids.

I don’t even know what I thought she did at school. When I was in the moment, I think that I thought she did school, but just did school as a perfect, popular girl. When I think back to the moments I saw her, I realize she was never actually in class, but wandering the halls with some random popular guy’s arm around her. I don’t think I ever saw her holding a book, or even a pencil, but she always looked perfect and coolly carefree.

SIDENOTE: One thing I just need to put out there is that Shelley was never mean to me. In fact, she kind of broke the Cool Girl stereotype by either being nice to me or just not noticing me at all, which was crazy refreshing in comparison to the daily torture, bullying, spitting, etc. that I got from the rest of the kids at my junior high. So I want to take a moment to give a shout out to Shelley for being the nice one of the Cool Girls. I genuinely hope she’s living the good life now.

Before I had finished grade seven, Shelley had started to disappear. She showed up sporadically, walking the halls with Camille, the bitchy Cool Girl, and their other friend, whose name I forget, but who was the kind of boring and plain Cool Girl, like a Cool Girl by proxy. They all seemed to be involved with the two drugs busts that happened while I was at that junior high,** and then Shelley vanished for good.

The next time I saw Shelley, she was visiting the Cool Girls at school and she was pushing a baby in a stroller. She still looked impeccable and gorgeous, but her sexy-and-I-know-it spark was gone. She was quiet, subdued. I passed her in the hallway on my way to a class, and as I neared her, she smiled and said “hey,” and then looked at the ground like she was shy or embarrassed. I just thought she looked beautiful, and couldn’t believe she was talking to me, so I squeaked back a “hey” and kept going to class so that I wouldn’t have to think of something cool to say.

I don’t think I could even process Shelley’s life while I was actually in junior high. I mean, I was well aware how babies were made, and every day I’d hear the popular girls bragging about some sort of sexy fun, like how they let so-an-so feel them up, or how this one girl got fingered at the school dance, but it would have never even crossed my mind to do any of those things.

Like, ew, right?

I was 13!

Lesson learned with over a decade of hindsight: bloom when you’re ready to bloom.****

xA

*She was probably too old to be in grade nine IRL. That’s a harsh reality, not a judgement.

**I went to a rough school. I was only there for two years before the bullying got so bad that I dropped out for homeschooling because I thought if I stayed I might kill myself,*** but in the two years I was there, there was a big drug bust for weed, another for cocaine, a stabbing, and my science teacher got arrested for being drunk at school, which he was every single day.

***I say that casually because it’s the only way I can cope with how depressed I was, not because it’s something I take lightly. Just FYI.

****If I ever have kids/nieces and nephews/etc. who ask me about sex, you can be damn sure I’ll remind them over and over and over again that I was a virgin until 21. Not because I think it’s right, but because I know I wasn’t ready before then.*****

*****Was that a totally uncool thing to say? OH WELL.

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