When I was twelve
Andi Buchanan is some kind of writing super woman. She's now working on a compilation of stories written by women about the year they were twelve. She told me about it so I went to her site (When I Was Twelve) and decided to submit my story.
Writing my story was difficult.
First I had to do some math. What year was I twelve? Then I had to think real hard. What grade was I in when I was twelve? Where did I live when I was twelve? What was my life like when I was twelve? These aren't questions that Andi asked me, but they are questions that I asked myself when I was trying to think about what I was doing during that pivotal year between little girl and woman, when I was trying to write something that appropriately told the story of that time in my life.
This is what I wrote and submitted to her site. If you go to When I Was Twelve, you will not find this story. I do not know if it's because she is completely behind with her updates or if it's because she thinks what I wrote is horrible and stupid.
But! Don't let my insecurities stop you from sharing with her your story. It felt good to go back in time and think about what was going on in my mind back then. It might make you feel good, too.
When I was twelve
When I was twelve, the year was 1980 and I was living in Austin, Texas. After my mom married my step dad, we moved from Illinois to Texas and I became a Texan. Except I never really was a Texan because I said "pop" when other people said "soda."
When I was twelve, I got my first zit. I remember it was on my forehead, by my eyebrow. I thought it was huge and that everybody was staring at it. When I was twelve, I felt awkward and uncomfortable in my body, but I didn't think I was fat. I didn't think I needed to diet. When I was twelve, I had a positive body image, although I didn't realize it at the time.
When I was twelve, I had braces, and I wore Lee jeans and Nike tennis shoes. That was the uniform of a Jr. High student in Texas in the early 80's. When I was twelve, I got a subscription to Seventeen Magazine for Christmas. I started experimenting with make-up and wishing I had better clothes, like real Izod shirts and Jordache jeans. I started curling my hair when I was twelve and obsessing over the fact that my hair wouldn't feather "right." When I was twelve, I thought that I needed to try harder if I wanted to be noticed by boys.
When I was twelve, I desperately wanted to be noticed by boys. I wanted boys to like me. I don't remember wanting any particular boy to like me; I think any boy would have been okay. When I was twelve, I hadn't yet kissed a boy with my tongue. I would be thirteen when that happened. When I was twelve, I wanted a boyfriend. Bad.
When I was twelve, my favorite album was AC/DC's "Back in Black." But I liked songs on FM radio, too. Songs like "Kiss on My List" by Hall & Oates and "Xanadu" by Olivia Newton-John. When I was twelve, I discovered that music was an emotional experience. When I wasn't reading, I was listening to music in my room. Often, I was doing both. Often, I got in trouble for playing my music too loud. "Down or off!" was a phrase yelled regularly in my house.
When I was twelve, I was in 7th grade. I wasn't popular, but I had friends. I took the bus to school and I remember thinking that my Jr. High was very far away from my house. One time the "weird girl" from school sat in the row in front of me and I saw a cockroach crawl in and out of her ratted hair. But I didn't say anything or make fun of her. When I was twelve, I was sensitive to other people's feelings. I still am.
The day I turned thirteen I got my period. When I was twelve, I was a girl; when I turned thirteen, I became a woman.
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