What Would I Tell My 12-Year-Old Self?

I’ve been looking back on some of the “scenes” from my life and pondering what I would do if I had a chance to use a time machine and somehow meet my past selves. In this blog, I discussed three things I would say if I met my 15-year-old self.

As for meeting my 12-year-old self? I actually wouldn’t want to meet my 12-year-old self, but I would want to watch a couple of key events from my “past self’s” life at this time. This was arguably the darkest time in my life, when I had a problem with some female bullies. For reasons that I don’t really know, I ran afoul of some “tough girls” in my class, who took every opportunity to berate me, threaten me, etc. I wasn’t even safe when I went to the restroom! I tried avoiding these girls as much as I could, but almost all of them were in my sixth grade class, so that was virtually impossible. It got so bad that I virtually stopped going to school for a while – on some weeks, I was attending classes just one day a week. I was kind of good at “playing sick.” I was also having a bad bout of bronchitis, which was likely aggravated by the stresses I was feeling at school. I just barely managed to pass my math class, but did all right in all of my other classes, despite the absenteeism.

So why would I not want to meet 12-year-old me? Because this was a pivotal time in my life, and I think, looking back, that I did absolutely everything right. I wound up standing up to the “head girl” on the playground one day, after she shoved me from behind, luring me into a fight. I wouldn’t say I wound up wiping up the floor with her, but I did hold my own. After that, she and all of the other girls virtually left me alone. And I was not lured into any more physical fights with classmates after that, either (though there were a couple of close calls).

And yes, I would TOTALLY want to see this playground fight (now where’s my popcorn)? I was a complete dork at this age, looking back, I can kind of see why I would have been bullied! I’m just happy I didn’t get my ass kicked.

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Me in sixth grade. I was really into rainbows (no I was not gay)!

And to take a look at what I look like now…

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Me in 2018. Nearly eight years ago, I dumped a beer over a guy’s head in a bar after he deliberately spilled my entire mug of beer on me! I guess I still don’t back down when push comes to shove…that incident nearly got me banned permanently from the bar! And apparently it has become the stuff of legend among the bar staff.

Even if I had the opportunity to change the events of that spring day on the middle school playground, I wouldn’t do it. I think this HAD to happen. Only by not backing down from physical confrontation would I become the person I am today. Parents these days would certainly not endorse this course of action for their kids if they were bullied. Maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do. But it was the right thing for ME to do. Should I have just tattled on those other girls? I don’t think so. I think that would have made matters much, much worse.

Even in the midst of some of these dark moments in sixth grade, there were some bright spots. I was starting to become friends with another girl in band whom would remain friends with me throughout most of high school. And then there were the contests! I won a contest in art class by designing a greeting card with a monster on it which read, “I’m not weird, I’m just different.” I got to pick my prize, so I picked Pink Panther stickers. I was very into stickers during this time.

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Anyone else disappointed when they watched Pink Panther movies as a kid? The intros were animated and featured this cool cat. Then they showed the “real” movie. Dick tease!

In addition to the art class contest, I was a frequent winner of trivia contests my sixth grade teacher would serve up, which were mainly about current events. Having a news-addicted dad gave me a real edge in these contests! One question I remember specifically was asking which blues musician and bandleader died April 26, 1984?

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I’m not wearing my quizmistress hat, so I’ll just tell y’all that this is Count Basie. A couple of my classmates asked me how I knew his name…how could you FORGET a name like this?

Winning these little trivia contests would help plant the seeds for a future love of trivia. And the rest, as they say, is history!

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