High school is hard. Now I don’t think it is (as) hard in comparison to real-world life, but I also despise comparisons in general, as you know from previous posts on the topic. So yes, for many teens, high school is tough. It is full of hormones, rejection, pressure, popularity contests, rules, expectations, learning, juggling, dating, multi-tasking and the worst of everything is the bullying. Kids these days, the poor things, don’t only have a jock pushing them around, or a mean girl gossiping at the lunch table, they have online bullying, mass group chats, cyber harassment. It is awful. I could do an entire post on just this topic ::makes mental note, then writes it down, because mental notes are generally as good as gone::
My son recently had his ring dance and I’ve been reflecting on mine. For those that don’t know, it is similar to a junior prom where the kids who ordered class rings get them. My son decided on not getting a class ring, feeling like it would be important for college, but not so much for high school. I couldn’t disagree, I wore my high school ring in my senior year, and it has been in the jewelry box ever since. (Also, they are like $400 so I was supportive of his choice once he made it.)
Back to the point; my ring dance. I honestly try not to reach back in to the memory vault that far, very often. It is compartmentalized for a reason. Some times I was a mean girl, often from a sad, anxiety ridden place, sometimes I was the one on the receiving end. And we do survive… by compartmentalizing all that shit! No, no that’s not really right… we write a blog about it years later!
So my date, he was a boy I liked, the older brother of a class mate. Looking back, it is strange to think that an upper class man wanted to go to a junior dance, but also that he asked me to go. Not that I wasn’t worthy of being asked, duh, I just mean that since it wasn’t his dance, I am not sure on the etiquette for asking. I am guessing it should have been my responsibility, but I do think it was awesome he asked me, as I hold on to some old gentleman rituals, and I was more than thrilled to go.
We were not “dating” but we were “talking”, you know the stage as awkward teens trying to figure how this whole thing works. (who am I kidding, this is still a thing) Boys thinking about sex and girls thinking about marriage. ::makes another note on blog topics:: We were screwed from the beginning.
So about a week before the dance he started distancing himself, insert all the alarm bells in the world. Women specifically, always know what this is and exactly when it starts, something is “off”. Eventually I asked him what had happened, were things okay, etc… and he reluctantly told me that him and his ex girlfriend were getting back together. I was crushed. He still was going to take me to the dance, but just as friends, because he had already asked me. And also, she wasn’t happy about it. Lucky me.
Let this sink in. Sixteen, emotional, dramatic… and he is not going to date me, but we can still go to the dance, as friends. ::throws herself on the bed, certain life is over!::
Now looking back, of course I laugh at the absurdity of the whole thing, but at that time, it was molding my already weak stance on how a woman should be treated. I gave him credit for still taking me, when I should have said “fuck off, I will go with my friends thanks!” I took all of the embarrassment and sad feelings and smushed them down, deciding going with him was better than being alone, still knowing I deserved better… ugh total mind-fuck.
Of course I don’t really blame him, he was after all a simple boy weighing odds on someone putting out, and feelings, and social pressures too. But the damage is done, every step of the way. I didn’t talk with my parents about any of this, so I made a point to share with Joseph. I often share more than he wants to hear, but I believe kids are stronger the more they know about their parents. Remains to be proven in my case, but it is opposite from my upbringing, so we’ll see how it goes!
He had a similar situation happen with the girl he originally asked, however since he is better than me in almost every humanly way, when the girl said she would go but no longer wanted to date him, he said no worries and took a friend instead. I was cheering inside as he told me the story, so proud!
Needless to say he had an amazing time, no damage done. Well except me being a hot-mess seeing him in a tux… I am still trying to get over it.