Did you hate junior high? I did.

I was talking to a couple of moms whose sons are slated to start junior high in the fall, and, being the optimistic ray of sunshine that I am, I sighed for them. Junior high is the worst, I said, it’s horrible and I have virtually no good memories of that time. Then I realized that perhaps such comments are not exactly supportive and positive, so I amended them with a comment that junior high is probably better for boys, anyway.

I think that’s true. Junior high boys are ensconced in pubescent idiocy: farting on each other and hitting each other in the testicles during dodge ball and just being jackasses in general. However, that idiocy is easy to take compared with girls that age and their secretive cruelties, their struggles with body image and their emotional bullying. I mostly remember feeling awful about myself and crying a lot.

A few years ago I was talking to a woman about Facebook, which was fairly new to me at the time. She was very much against a Facebook account because, as she said, if she wanted to be in touch with anyone from her past, she would be, but essentially she didn’t want to connect with any of those jerks. The thing I have found is that, just as I have changed, so has everyone else. I was holding on to negative memories for a long time and I found that those bad memories just don’t matter anymore, that people from my past can be an enriching and supportive part of my present, and I’m grateful to have them in my life.

In my twenties, it was all about proving myself. I needed to prove myself in university, I needed to prove myself in my career, I needed to prove myself as a mother. Then I got tired. I don’t feel the need to prove myself anymore, I’m just me, the person I want to be, even if that person is a bit lame and boring.

Recently I came across a picture of myself on the first day of junior high. It’s quite hilarious, what with my gigantically teased bangs, denim skirt, white Keds, and, inexplicably, a button down shirt tied in a knot a la Daisy Duke. If I knew how to work my scanner I would show you, if only for comic relief. I am smiling hugely in that photo, like every door in the world was suddenly opened for me, on my first day of junior high, not realizing then that my smiles would largely disappear for the next three years.


  1. Anonymous says

    I didn’t have junior high … K-8 and 9-12. It didn’t change anything though. In grade 7 boys were pointing out that …I had “big knockers”, and in grade 9 boys were still pointing it out and attempting to the totally transparent accidental boob brush. The girls held no mercy either, in grade 7 the girls grabbed the tag of my bra to see just how big my knockers really were and in grade 9 they did the totally transparent accidental boob brush to see of I was stuffing bra. Boobs, knockers, farts and testicle targets and purple nurples ahhh the stuff that puberty is made of!

  2. I hated Junior high too, so much so that when it came time to choose a high school I chose the furthest one I could find. The less people I knew the better! High school by comparison was awesome.

    And this is unrelated to this post, but related to the neighbour/nurse incident: is a quanty economist the opposite of a nurse?

  3. Our high school was from grades 8-12 so I didn’t have a junior high, but I still had the crappy experience of horribly cruel girls who I thought were friends but really back-stabbed me left and right. I wonder if they had a bad time too or are there just a few unlucky creatures like you and me that had a bad time.

  4. Anonymous says

    Having seen you go thru those years I’m sad to report I had no idea. I loved Junior High. It was such an experimental time. The first of everything started there for me. As I look back, those were my favorite years by far. How odd my favorites are so many people’s worsts. I think in some ways I am blessed in confidence. I was confident as a teenager and am still today. I was raised by a single Mom with 3 jobs so I never had the best clothes or even house to show off but somehow those social pressures never got me down and I managed to come out unscathed. All of those experiences made me who I am today. If I had known yu were hating those years I wonder if I could have helped…probably not but I can yell yu, I would have sure tried!

  5. Mrs.Mayhem says

    Oh, the last line about your smiles disappearing was a killer for me. How awful!

    I hated Junior High, too. It WAS awful. I was awkward and the other girls were catty.

    Maybe it is easier for boys. My oldest has had a wonderful time in junior high. I worry about my other son. He’ll start in the fall, and I’m worried the other kids will tease him because of his hearing aids.

  6. I wore braces, had hearing aids and was socially awkward. Plus I was a LATE bloomer.
    Yep Junior High was UTTERLY DELIGHTFUL. Much like a lobotomy without anesthetic might be.

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