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Thank You, Fifteen Year Old Rachael

By January 26, 2020 January 27th, 2020 No Comments

Well geeze, this feels like a diary entry I never wrote. Nope, I did not keep a diary as a child. I think I attempted when I was in grade school. I wrote an entry where I spoke about having a crush on a neighborhood kid, who by the way was like probably ten years older than me. My sister read the entry, as an older sister does, and completely called me out, embarrassing nine year old me. So no, hunny didn’t keep a diary anymore, especially after that. But I’m doing this now because sometimes it’s good to step back from the wedding talk, calligraphy talk, babe sketch talk, and work talk. I need to get real with all of you. 

A decade ago I was 15.

A freshman in high school.

This is hard to speak on, I know for some it isn’t because they’re more comfortable but to me, lately I’ve had the mentality if I don’t talk about it maybe the problem never happened. Or better yet if I do talk about it, it makes the problem real.

I have phone calls with one of my best friends a few times a week. It’s a rare occasion we talk less than basically a million times over a seven day span. About work, what we did today, funny stories, scary stories, news, basically the most random stuff. It’s usually right before or after dinner when we feel so full we’re sick and want to complain about it or we’re so hungry we’re sick and we want to complain about it. Our conversations can be for hours at a time, scrolling through twitter and instagram and messaging memes, tell each other we sent them a message and to look at it, and wait to hear the other laugh. This is one of my most favorite parts of my day- if it happens to be a day where these calls occur.

One of the last times we spoke we laughed so hard we cried when we were about to hang up. We talked about so much scary serious stuff we never knew about each other, also random stupid stories or songs we used to have play on our Myspace page. The seriousness we got into in this conversation was one of the first times I ever spoke of this. And lead me to realize it’s something I think about a lot, especially when I see my nieces and nephews grow older. I get this weird sense of what my life was like at that age. With most of them still in grade school, I think back to those times, some of the best years of my life. Care free, I was so unbelievably bold, full of confidence, never worried about other people’s thoughts. I thought my hair was amazing, I looked good in everything, and I was a natural beauty. I’m not kidding, I effortlessly thought those things and never once second guessed myself.

Then high school came. I just got over the devastating blow of not making my high school’s cheerleading squad. I remember thinking to myself how could this be? I honestly planned my whole high school experience around this, and now in my summer leading up to 9th grade, when I should have been so excited, I had knots in my stomach. But at the same time, I was still happy to be going to the school I was going to, knowing most of my grade school would be in my classes with me and I was excited to make new friends. After getting over this little devastation, I had no idea it would be the least of my worries that upcoming year.

I had a best friend in high school. We’ll call her Maddy. No, this is not this girls real name, and quite honestly I won’t be using any real names throughout the rest of this, especially when I speak of the females involved. So, my BFF Maddy. She was everything I wished I could be. So mature looking. No really, boobs, long gorgeous brunette extensions and a butt. All things I lacked, by the way. No really, my hair was just below shoulder length and all of my clothes fit baggy in all the wrong places. She was a perfect hourglass. Almost didn’t look like she was a high schooler but holy sh*t was she gorgeous. To this day still is. The girl is a natural beauty and her personality matched. Her and I got along because we had the same humor. We had the best friendship and the best times to be honest. We were inseparable. We’d stay the night at each others houses every single weekend, sometimes even the week so we could go to school together. Life was freaking good. 

So it’s about that time that homecoming was the talk of the school. And I was lucky enough as a freshman nobody, to be asked by our star football player to go to homecoming with him. Almost too good to be true, huh. We’ll call him Andrew. So Andrew and I hang out here and there, I’m an awkward, mouth-full-of-braces, streaky highlights freshman girl, pale as sh*t and broken out here and there. To be honest, I probably had a better self esteem then because I got a push up bra and I hung out with the prettiest freshman girl who happened to be my best friend, but that’s all I really had. If I was her friend I hadddd to be somewhat pretty, right? Ugh, to read that outloud it makes me nauseated. Anyways, Andrew and I had a good flirty fun relationship. I would sit in the crowd at football games secretly so happy to know my homecoming date was scoring almost every touchdown. Life was still, soooo freaking good. I though maybe not making the cheer squad wasn’t so bad after all.

I had 4th period lunch with Maddy. Majority of the kids in our lunch were seniors, the popular ones at that. The ones that almost looked right through you. I thought these girls were queens, they had a certain vibe they gave off that they genuinely didn’t care about you, didn’t notice you, and were basically getting ready to leave high school and be the best thing that ever happened to whatever college they attended. Not gonna lie, they made me excited for senior year and growing up. There were a few sophomores that hung out with these girls because their older brother or sister was a senior along side them, but they too were equally as gorgeous. So ya, basically my lunch was a bunch of hot popular senior guys and girls, they’re supermodel younger siblings, all sitting at one table, and then me and Maddy and a few other guys we were friends with in our freshman class. We sat on opposite sides of the lunch room, as you can imagine.

Maddy is going to homecoming with Andrew’s best friend and we were both ecstatic. At the time though, things started to shift a little bit. I noticed the change in Andrew first. He wasn’t as fun and flirtatious as I remembered. I could sense maybe there was a chance he really didn’t like me anymore. And when I got the courage to ask. He brushed it off and used his charm, and I was back to feeling better. Maybe not all the way better, but still, definitely better. At this time Maddy also got a little bit distant. The sophomore girls that had the “in” with the seniors in our 4th period lunch started a friendship with her. I mean who wouldn’t want a friendship with Maddy. It really seemed like she had it all. So when they would walk by our lunch table and say hi, it wasn’t a hi to her and I sitting alone with each other, it was a hi specifically for Maddy. And I’d sit there with my dumb braces and give them an eager smile, almost to think they liked me too but maybe they just didn’t know it yet. Come to find out my whole little freshman world is about to catch on fire.

Andrew started talking to one of these sophomore girls, lets call her Elle. Yes, one that was in that same 4th period lunch. And when I found out I was nothing short of devastated. Andrew wasn’t texting me anymore, wasn’t saying hi to me in the hallways. I felt desperate. Embarrassed. Depressed. I knew the kid I so desperately liked was being noticed by the prettiest girl in our school and he didn’t need this freshman, awkward girl anymore.

I cried a lot. Usually right when I got home. I couldn’t even hide it. I lost my “boyfriend” and was beginning to lose my best friend ironically enough to the same exact person. Like are you f*cking kidding.

Then 4th period lunch changed. 

Maddy didn’t sit with me anymore. So I had a few guy friends I knew from grade school but it wasn’t exactly comfy and fun sitting next to a bunch of crazed, dirty freshman boys. They were my friends don’t get me wrong, loved them, but lunch with these guys? Alone? As the only girl? I don’t know if that’s something to be excited about. Especially when you were only sitting there because that was truly my only option.

It got to the point where my poor mom couldn’t stand to see it anymore. I’d be the same way if I were in her shoes too. I came home devastated and also spoke often on how I felt so alone. I didn’t want to attend this high school anymore. I didn’t want to go to homecoming with Andrew anymore. I didn’t want to go at all, really. I told my mom this everyday. How embarrassed I was. And that’s right before the most embarrassing thing of all happened: Andrew’s mom called mine. I sh*t you not, that happened. His mom is a gem, still is by the way. She calls my mom basically explaining she knows the gossip, knows her son basically dropped me for the best thing my high school had to offer (she definitely didn’t word it like that, but you get my drift) , and that I was probably heart broken. She pretty much explained to my mom that basically she’s forcing her son to go with me because she says thats not how she raised him and he made a commitment he won’t break and blah blah blah. So NICE, yay can’t wait to go to homecoming with a kid that wants nothing to do with me and is probably pissed as f*ck he can’t go with the hot girl he’s basically dating now. This is my life. What the hell happened to life being good.

OH but it gets worse.

Are you guys starting to wonder why I come off like an a*s a lot. Well here is whyyyyyyyyy my friends.

So now, being pity-taken to homecoming, and sitting alone at lunch, this group of girls associated with Elle in my lunch start to hate me. Why? Oh I don’t know…probably because they think I’m the one forcing Andrew to go to homecoming with me still. Elle is probably pissed I’m ruining her date and that I even exist. One of the senior girls started to become good friends with Maddy as well. And I guess Maddy, trying to fit in, probably had mean things to say since she knew her new friend Elle didn’t exactly care for me. Why not talk sh*t to fit in, right? *eye roll*

This senior had something to say to me every time we went out for “recess”. After lunch they let us walk around the cafeteria or walk outside- that’s usually when she felt the need to say something to me. Usually saying out loud, loud enough for me to hear at the other end of the room: “Maddy, you better tell your little friend to watch herself”. It was every. single. effing. day. Then to make it even better, guys would chime in. It was hard for the girls to pick on me, but when the guys made it a point to get involved, I crumbled. It got to the point where one of them kept calling my name while I was eating lunch. Wouldn’t stop. It got to the point the whole lunch room was staring at me because this dumba** wouldn’t stop screaming for me. It was fall, so being that it was chilly  I wore this cream sweater over my uniform. I LOVED this sweater. It has a giant brown button right in the center. I wore it with my uniform, a skirt and knee highs to match. I remember that day so vividly because before I left school I genuinely thought I looked nice. My hair fell perfectly that day, I don’t know, I just felt good. Confidence was hard for me at that time. Wouldn’t it be for you too if you looked at yourself everyday knowing you were up against a pageant girl. Anyways, this guy sitting at his table with all the girls who hated me, including my not-so-best friend, called and called and called for me. Soooo I did it. I still can’t believe I did, but I did. I walked over. Almost shameful. Just to make it stop. I remember my approach too, seeing his stupid face light up because I actually worked up the strength to make my way over to this table- this table where everyone there picked on me, made fun of me, and ruined my freshman year.

In front of everyone, when I walked over and said “What?” he started to tear me apart. Just like I thought. “That’s a weird sweater you have on today. Where’d you get that thing from?” *and at this point he’s laughing, and everyone else at the table is laughing. I remember seeing Maddy’s face, just stone cold. No laughing, almost just looking at me as if to say I’m sorry* He continues. “Look at the button, that’s a huge button. That’s weird I don’t get it” I remember looking at him for a moment after he stopped and continued to laugh and talk amongst his friends and I walked away.

An almost 18 year old boy, sitting down, made a freshman girl stand in front of him, just to have her listen to him while he made fun of her in front of his friends.

Read that again.

I went home that day. I couldn’t go to lunch after that. Couldn’t go to our “recess” which I used to love because that was when I got to sit and talk to my best friend about how happy we were going to homecoming with the guys we were, together. I couldn’t go back to that lunch. Not until after homecoming at least. Until all of the torture was over. And finally it was. Homecoming was brutal. I had a sparkly silver headband, tight, awful curls, and a bad spray tan. I’ll never forget Elle. Absolutely stunning. This again was where my self esteem took a major, major blow. Insecurities are so insane during this age, but I mean some of us our worse than others I guess.

*This part has been edited because I don’t want to ever rehash anything or to come off rude. And I’m sorry to have made some people feel upset by this post. To be honest, I’ve forgiven that whole senior table. I’ve let go, and it makes life much easier. Those kids now have real lives, that do not effect mine and I wish them nothing but happiness. And I know they aren’t who they are back then and I would never try to make them feel hurt by this post today, especially when they may find their truth much much different than mine. I would never use a real name or give enough info to make someone know who anyone is- that is NOT the point. Wouldn’t that be contradictory on my end to try to be making this hurtful rather than helpful? We are all better, kinder, and happier people than we were 10 years ago and I recognize that. 

Let me be clear. The absolute real reason for this story is that when life is hard, and you’re a freshman girl or boy and people are mean, be kind. Stay strong. Keep it the f*ck together. In high school I may not have had it all, and I don’t now either, but holy sh*t. When I thought THOSE kids had it all, they didn’t. But when you’re a freshman who doesn’t know any better you think everyone has everything.

This is not for you to feel bad for freshman me or to feel angry and hold onto the past, but to feel strength. * There is a time for you. When you’re young and scared and down on yourself, it will get better. If you are a high schooler reading this or a mom with kids in high school, know that you will make it through. Let the mean kids have their time, because it might be the only time they have to feel powerful in life, feel good about themselves, feel “cool”. I promise you. 10 years from now you’ll look back and actually laugh. Hey maybe you’ll even laugh about it on the phone with your best friend who finally dug the story out of you.

Always stay kind, be nice to the kids who are struggling. There are days even now where I feel lost, alone, upset, scared, embarrassed, sad- and I think of me at 15. If that Rachael could get out of bed every morning, so can this one. I look up to 15 yr old Rachael. She never gave up, she worked hard, she stayed strong. She made me into who I am at 25. 

Also, if you ever feel alone, talk to me! I love good conversation and listening to others. 

xo

Rachael

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