The transition from the order, singe-file lines, predictability, and safety of elementary school into middle school was one of the roughest periods of my childhood. I had an interesting time finding new friends in each of the classes beyond my homeroom.
I'd experienced being teased for the way I looked for the first time. Looking back, I was actually an awkward-looking pre-teen. A big ass head and the lamest glasses. I handn't yet grasped what was cool to wear, so I definitely had some low fashion moments. At the time, my mother still shopped for me, and things I thought were cool (half-undone overalls that I LOVED, for example) most certainly were not. I can vividly recall who teased me and exactly what they'd say. And many of these things have stayed with me over the years. I internalized all of this, and never really shared any of this with anyone at the time, so I believed it was all true for a long time.
Add to this a new sexual curiosity, the lost of my childhood best friend (moved to Georgia), and the result was one hell of a time for me. My first semester in sixth grade, I got D's and F's for the first time ever. I pretended to be challenged, to avoid having to discuss my unpleasant social experiences...and never really discussed the truth with Mom and Dad.
My turnaround came when I befriended another gay student and slowly began building a solid group of "friends," many of whom I still communicate with to this day. I went back to getting A's and B's as usual. I also found a niche that worked for me: the mischevious, slick-talking, sharp-tongued jokester...with a knack for insults. Projected frustration, anyone?
Anywho, it worked. And those fomative years most definitely helped craft my sense of humor and shape my reputuation. They also led to some life-long insecurities and friendships. With this next phase of life I'm entering, I've often reflect back on this particular time, the forced adaptation and my coping techniques.
I'm curious to see how things pan out socially for me in out West, with me battling internal issues in the ultra vain/shallow City of Angels.