Middle School Flashback: The Misery Years

Remember sitting at the Popular Table? Me neither.

My twins started Middle School this week. And while their elementary school years brought back sweet memories, their starting Middle School brings me back to what was most definitely the most miserable time of my life: Junior High.

First there was my body.  My feet as big as flippers, hair sprouting in places no one wants hair, (Witness the endless Groupons for Hair Removal).  Even the hair on my head was too frizzy to be wrestled into the Farrah Fawcett Flip. And of course my boobs were sprouting.  I never did understand how training bras got their name. What, exactly, do they train boobs to do?  Stand at attention?  Really, what’s the point of training them?  They just get old and forget everything they learned anyway. Trust me – I’m a prime example of:

time + pregnancy + gravity = maximum saggage.

My nose changed in middle school, morphing me from a sweet little button-nosed kid into a frightening rendition of my Grandpa Simca.  And let’s not forget the braces.  I had the invisible kind.  Only they weren’t.  They were yellow and stained and made me look like I’d had a pack-and-half-a-day habit since I was six.

At pick up the other day, I saw an eighth grade girl with heavy eyeliner, fishnet stockings, and bright pink hair. I saw High School girls who were way too fashionable to be kid-like in the least. I saw seventh grade boys who, just last year, were smooth skinned and smiley but are now peach-fuzzed and sullen.  And everywhere I saw heads bowed, everyone texting furiously.

The days of happy cries of “Mommy! Mommy!”  at pick up are long long gone for me.

Since they are not burdened with traumatic memories of middle school, my kids liked their first few days.  For the first time, they don’t have a specific classroom.  They move around from subject to subject. They’re interacting with kids in upper grades.  The school building is much more spacious than their Lower School’s was. It’s a bit overwhelming – but exciting.

But I can’t shake my memories of that dark, dark time. When Michael Philips teased me mercilessly, and my ridiculously long, unrequited, utterly humiliating crush on Joel Malina began.  I worry about the mean girl stuff, the “does he like me?” drama, the complete freakiness of a body that used to be one thing….and now is quite another.

But of course I can’t tell them any of that.  I talk about how great and exciting it’s going to be.  How much fun middle school was.  I lie.

I hope their middle school years are better than mine.  I hope they don’t experience petty meanness or paralyzing insecurity.  And I really, really hope my daughter doesn’t get the nose.


  1. says

    I have a 5 year old and im absolutely dreading this age. I’m very content where we are now because i love it when she hops off the bus and gives me a huge hug lol good luck with the teenage years!

  2. says

    Wow, that sounds scary, and thanks for all the wonderful memories. My nose grew, too, and I lost every ounce of popularity. My home life suffered more and more as I got older and my parents’ marriage became unbearable. Friends came and went and everything just got harder.

    I only pray that things are different for my own children. One can hope, right?

  3. says

    I really hope your kids have a great experience in middle school. Your words about your own middle school days made me laugh. I was a little different from you — completely undeveloped until freshman or sophomore year in high school. I stared in awe at girls like you!

  4. babiesgottahaveit says

    Oh Nancy…you, Tina Fey and I really were separated at birth. I can’t say I’m looking forward to reliving this particular chapter with my girl. Are we sure there’s no other option? Is it really inevitable this Middle School time?

  5. says

    The effects of middle school on students self-esteem school behavior academic performance and later life adjustments have all been well documented. These transitional years from grades 5-9 depending upon the individual school do show that there is an increase in stress a decrease in academic performance and an increase in behavioral problems especially in the first year at a middle school. This comes as no surprise to the many people who found their own middle school or junior high experience unfortunate or difficult.

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