Diary of a New Age Girl

Chapter 4 – Tom Boy

Varudhini

When I moved in the middle of fourth grade, my whole world took an unexpected turn. Around this time in my life, I became oddly obsessed with the whole “tomboy” thing. I wore baggy clothes, pretended to skateboard, and refused to put my hair down from its ponytail. A truly embarrassing time. This phase carried on into middle school, unfortunately, and lasted until about the eighth grade.

So here I was, this weird kid that refused to dress like a girl and had a book (usually Harry Potter) tucked under her arm at all times. As you can imagine, I didn’t have the easiest time making friends. I spent the first few weeks at my new school reading alone. 

Over time, I made friends, of course. One of them was my next door neighbor at the time. I still consider him to be a good friend. The others I met through my classes, and slowly but surely I moved on from my old school and friends.

Before I knew it, it was getting around to our fifth grade graduation. It was hardly much of a graduation, to be honest. Our “diplomas” were rolled up and held together with slap bracelets, and then they made every one of us sing this dumb collection of songs. I’ve repressed that entire memory, so I can’t remember any of the songs we sang.

Once that was all done and over with, there was a middle school. Serious business. On the first day of school, I had worn a shirt that just went past my elbows with a cartoon fox on it. Dress for success, right? I remember feeling so anxious about it. 

Throughout my life, I’ve had an unhealthy tendency to overthink how people perceive me. Middle school, being the terrible middle ground between child and teenager, harbored this tendency very well. In the first few months of sixth grade, I met my best friend of nearly six years now. I had a few other friends, but eventually they all went to go hang out with other people. And suddenly, it seemed like I was back to reading alone.

Back at home, I was spending increasing amounts of time on the internet. With my discovery of communities of people online that shared my passion for the books I read, it was hard to pull myself off of the digital world. But then I was given time limits on my internet usage, which just made me want to use it more.

I didn’t feel very smart around this time. I didn’t believe in myself, instead allowing myself to feel overshadowed by my successful peers. This combined with my general low self-esteem about normal preteen things like my appearance and personality made it a rough year.

And then music came along. I had listened to music on the radio before, and I had always sung throughout my life, but I didn’t think there was much beyond that. Boy was I wrong. My best friend introduced me to Green Day, her favorite band at the time.

From then on, I became obsessed with music. Not the generic pop that played to serve as background music, but what I considered to be real music. And of course, my music taste began to dictate the clothes that I wore. I was fascinated by everything black. I wanted to do lots of cool things with my friends, but I wasn’t allowed to most of the time.

School dances were another affair altogether. They were just as painfully awkward as one would imagine, and most people just went for the pizza and excess amounts of candy. It was an excuse to hang out with your friends at night, and not much beyond that. And when you didn’t have friends…well, there wasn’t much to do at all.

In seventh grade, I found myself rejecting all of normalcy in my life. I was tired of feeling bad because I wasn’t like others. So I accepted all of it and turned my inner hatred out to the world. This came with its own issues, and it was arguably one of the worse life decisions I’ve made. That much negativity isn’t good for anyone.

By the time I reached eighth grade, I wanted to change. I had chopped my hair short over the summer and found myself enjoying normal things again. I bought a skirt for the first time in years, which I was too self-conscious to wear until years later. But still. Rediscovering my femininity felt good – I liked painting my nails colors other than black, doing my makeup, and dressing in color.

Slowly, it all began to come together. I was doing well in my classes, and I began to develop my true interests. I was signed up for the drama class, which is where I discovered my passion for theatre. It was a place where I could combine my love for singing with acting. I wrote a lot, though I never showed it to anyone. Journals, made-up stories, poetry, and much more. 

I still struggled to fit in though, which frustrated me. And suddenly, I became enamored by the idea of being popular. If I was popular, I would have friends. At the time, I had drifted from my best friend, too. Sick and tired of being alone, I began to work towards this goal of “popularity”.

This time in my life is characterized by a lot of negative energy, in my opinion. My mindset was terrible, and my outlook on life was hardly developed. However, going through this period in my life was vital for me to learn from it later. I genuinely believe that if you’ve never been embarrassed by a time in your life or experienced failure, you can’t feel success to its highest extent.

Come back next time to read about me exploring the depths of popularity and transitioning from middle school to high school.

*****

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