You know that kid that said, “I like to do hood rat stuff with my friends”?
Well that is literally me. Let me explain…
I had just finished my first school year in a new town when I learned that ALL of my new friends were attending a different Middle School than me. In our School district, we got to make a 1st, 2nd, & 3rd choice of school then the powers that be would sort the school population with, requests and the task of desegregating our schools. The school my parents wanted me to attend was our neighborhood school which most of my siblings had previously attended. Steinbeck Middle School consisted of 6th, 7th and 8th graders from all over our district. Every single one of my friends went to the Performing Arts Magnet, Castillero Middle School a good 15 min from home.
Disclaimer: I do not condone violence of any kind, nor have I actually ever lived a life of crime, nor have I ever been in a physical altercation with anyone that was not a sibling of mine.
First Day of 6th Grade at Steinbeck, I wore this maroon shirt I got at Red Eye. Haha. I was stressed about trying to make new friends. I met a girl in my first period class who was actually kind to me. Feeling insecure and out-of-place, there was nothing on my moral radar that said, “think this one through”. This friend (still can’t remember her name) was so much different then my other friends. She wore baggy dickies, Nike Cortez, super tight maroon shirts, very dark lips, and hair super slicked back and most days a bandana wrapped carefully around her ponytail. Obviously, I did my best to mimic this exact look because I was an insecure 12-year-old desperately trying to just blend in.
Not only did I beg and beg for dickies and cortez’s, but I also started to mimic other behaviors as my new friend. I developed a pretty serious ‘tude as well as let my grades go to crap. After all, smartasses and not applying yourself in school were the latest trends. Naturally, if my friends asked me to jump of a bridge, off the bridge, I would jump… including the day I cut school with my friends and we were picked up by police at Kmart. (Did you know you can buy Dickies at Kmart?)
Closing in on our first semester of 6th grade, one day my friends were talking “smack” about some other girls at school. You bet your buns I was all up in there saying things like, “I know, Right?!”. (For the record, I did not know, nor was I right.) By lunch time, emotions and tensions were high and the law was about to be laid down by my homies. The next thing I knew, we were out in the field and what seemed like the entire school was closing in and a major fight broke out between 2 groups of people. Guess who was right there in the middle?
I asked my sister (who was in 8th grade that year) if she remembered the day I got into a gang fight at School.
She said… “Yes, I was there. But you didn’t actually do anything from what I remember. I think you shoved someone? You were part of a circle surrounding a girl? My perspective is that it was embarrassing that my sister (who I could beat up in a heartbeat) was trying to act like a thug.”
Shortly after the cutting of class and the fight, my parents transferred me to Castillero Middle school where all my elementary school friends went. I reconnected with my friends, met some new friends, joined the 6th grade choir, later joined the Show Choir, got really into the grunge thing and never saw my hood rat friends again.
As a parent, I am mortified. I can’t believe I was so impressionable or so insecure. I’m sure all the moves I had experienced is what set me back but wow. On another note, I’m proud of my kids. I don’t feel that they are too desperate to fit in. They aren’t afraid to step outside their comfort zones. They make friends easily and they KNOW who they are. I’d like to take credit for that but I truly feel that my kids are just wired that way.
Do you have embarrassing stories of trying to fit in?
Hi I'm Cindi! When I'm not chasing after kids or dogs... oh wait, that never happens!