This is a continuation of my last post, where I started responding to sonofabeach96’s nomination of me for a Liebster Award:
Because I’m the verbal equivalent of Niagara Falls, I couldn’t get it all into one post. So here are three more of the questions…and three more long-winded answers:
What were your high school days like? Good, bad, or indifferent and why?
On the surface, high school wasn’t that bad. I wasn’t really bullied. I had friends. I was involved in every music activity our small district had available. I got excellent grades.
But it’s hard to reminisce about high school without noting, as a point of reference, where I was with my eating disorder. It’s like having a sterile, undisturbing stock photo of a smiling family set inside a dusty, chipped, weather-beaten picture frame.
The story’s in the setting, not the scene.
Ninth grade started with a bang, because <dramatic pause> I met a boy. When you’re fourteen, this is typical. When you’re fourteen and chubby, and he likes you back, it’s life-changing. He was older (by one year – oh, the SCANDAL!) and was (of COURSE!) as thin as a rail with a sky-high metabolism. (Seriously – weren’t they all?) I coasted through most of freshman year with a lot of “firsts” – first kiss, first date, first formal – and, for the first time since fifth grade, didn’t focus too much on my weight.
I ended my first year of high school wearing a size 11 and weighing about 145.
And then summer hit. And with the heat came last year’s clothes that were way, way too small. And by August, I was appalled to discover that my marching band uniform had shrunk. Significantly.
Now, as an adult, I can objectively look back and see that truly, I was pretty much “normal.” Probably a bit chubby, especially compared to the track stars and cheerleaders. But surely I didn’t stand out as the fattest kid in the class. I understand intellectually that I didn’t look all that different from my classmates – to this day, when I occasionally page through an old yearbook, it never fails to strike me how downright NORMAL I appear.
But at the time? I was FAT. And Something Had To Be Done About That.
I knew all too well what worked. I quit eating.
I started tenth grade a good 25 pounds less than I had ended freshman year. I walked into my first day of my sophomore year with my size 7 jeans hanging off me.
Bolstered by success and compliments from my classmates, I kept going. I kept going despite occasional blackouts. Despite a blood pressure of 80/40. Despite lectures from the school nurse. Despite missing family meals. Despite peer praise turning to worry. Despite bodily functions ceasing to exist. Despite my (new) boyfriend begging me to eat.
I finally settled in at just barely over 100 pounds, logging every calorie and measuring every morsel of food (including mustard and Crystal Light – I was hardcore, bro).
This was my existence for the next two years.
Outwardly, things looked to be great – I was thin, I was active in music stuff, I had a boyfriend who loved me dearly and was going to take care of me ALWAYS, and as long as I controlled my body and the food I put into it, I was safe and secure.
Then, during my first semester as a senior, my boyfriend – my first love, the boy who swore he’d marry me one day and would love me forever – unceremoniously dumped me. (Because college, ya know.) Suddenly, after over two years of coasting in the shade, the sun was beating down on me, burning off the fog and forcing its bright, harsh light directly into my eyes, commanding my pupils to constrict as my eyes ached from pained, constant squinting.
With absolutely no idea how to cope, I started to eat.
Once the dam broke, it was impossible to stop the flood. I gained fifty pounds the last half of senior year, as I filled the time with extracurricular activities (read: boys) trying to find my self-worth while simultaneously feeding my starving soul with anything I could get my hands on. (Unfortunately, I was feeding it the equivalent of onion rings and Twinkies. But I had to start somewhere.)
I left for college in the fall with the Bright Future of weighing 170 pounds and having absolutely no idea what to do with my life.
So…yeah. High school was…high school.
And here I am,
twenty-five over twenty years later, still wrestling the same pigs and getting just as dirty. True, I have cuter shoes and no boa. But still….
What was your first car?
The first car that was actually MINE was a 1991 Chevy Lumina. I’d love to say it was a sweet ride, but the only people to say that about this car is the bluehair-and-Bingo set.
Really makes a statement, doesn’t it? In addition to its edgy, bad@ss look, it also featured a speedometer that pegged at a hairnet-blowing 85mph. Which is totally un-American, and un-German, and un-everything-under-age-seventy.
So why did I have this? Well, as is the case with most first cars, I wasn’t actually involved in picking it out. It actually came into my possession courtesy of my now-ex-in-laws.
See, my former mother-in-law cleaned houses for a living – generally for the elderly. Consequently, they often paid her in either quarters, baked goods, or castoff clothing.
Still, she persisted. We think she was hoping that someday, one of her clients would kick the bucket and mention her in the will.
That never happened.
But, since most of her customers were in their late eighties, they did hop the heaven bus to harp lessons on occasion. And, as the stereotypes dictate, they often left behind an older, low-miles vehicle – which she’d then volunteer to buy, at a bargain price, from the grieving family.
I kid you not.
(I guess it’s a small reward for choking down loaf after loaf of soggy, well-intentioned pumpkin bread.)
At the time, my then-spouse and I were newlyweds – and I had finally, after years of resistance*, learned to drive. So we needed a second car, and this one met all of our requirements and qualifications (read: it ran and it was cheap.) It wasn’t exactly hip and trendy, but it was only a couple of years old with less than 15,000 miles on it. SOLD! I drove that sucker into the ground, tooling around in it until we eventually popped out some offspring and traded it in for a minivan.
*Side note: I didn’t actually learn to drive until I was 24. Why? Well, if you asked me directly, I’d tell you, as I flipped my hair and narrowed my eyes coyly, “I always had a boy or two to drive me around.” That was partially true; I also had an older brother and a younger sister who were more than happy to play chauffeur. But the truth? I’m hopelessly uncoordinated, easily distracted, and a champion procrastinator. Plus, I wanted to spend my babysitting dinero on clothes and shoes, not gas and insurance. Priorities, ya know.
What is the one thing that grates on your last nerve?
OK, there is NO WAY I can only pick only one thing. I talked about a few Things I Hate in the Love/Hate Challenge (which took me SIX posts. I am ridiculous.)
But out of all those posts, there was one thing I missed that absolutely drives me to shoot fire from my face holes and rant in unholy tongues.
It’s Christmas lights that BLINK IN SECTIONS.
They don’t twinkle. They don’t flutter off and on to music. They just ALL flip on and off AT THE SAME TIME, like some idiot minion is half-wittedly turning the switch off and on, off and on.
Off. On. Off. On.
These are usually at the house that’s hung just one string, usually lining a roof or a window. Or part of a roof. Or half a window. Or until the string of lights just ran out.
THEY’RE LIGHTS THAT DON’T EVEN TRY.
And please note – when I say “you didn’t try,” I have a pretty high threshold for what I consider gallant effort. Witness our family Christmas Tree a few years ago:
Yes. It’s a stuffed frog and a pool noodle. BUT IT SAYS “TREE” SO IT’S LEGIT. And I didn’t have to step on a single needle. I WIN.
This tree is creative and unique (and affordable, I might add!) But lights that blink in sections? It’s like Christmas just gave up. It’s Christmas sadness.
Don’t be that house. Don’t be the Holiday Spirit Slayer. Leave your lights on, in all their energy-sapping, glowing glory. Your neighbors will shovel your walkways and bring you cookies, and there will be world peace and harmony.
Or, at least, I won’t have to violently hurl the Fruitcake of Christmas Past through your front window.