A Year End Reflection

futuredreams
Goal setting, 1994-style.

The end of a year inevitably brings reflections, varying top 10 lists of the year’s best and worst in every category imaginable, pop culture trivia games, and the ritual taking stock in your life followed by setting goals for the new year that beg to be broken by February.

Instead of coming up with some deep end-of-the-year reflection, I thought I’d share a different kind of end-of-the year reflection; one I wrote in the sixth grade. I came across this recently in a box of my things that I’ve haven’t sifted through in over a decade. I found this piece in a composition book that was passed from grade to grade that was meant to be an exemplar of the work we had done that year. Though I was only twelve when I wrote this it resonates for some reason at the close of another year. (Author’s note: the names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

Sixth Grade-The Final Year In Elementary School 

The year has been good to me. I entered sixth grade on August 29th, 1994. It was hot and I sat down in a group with Tara, Andrea, and Ellen. I remember thinking that the room was unfamiliar. I stared at the walls, seeing what was on them.

I had trouble making friends because people had changed. I then began to hang out with Leidy, Rachel, and Anna in about October.

By November, Andrea started to hang out with us. We all did a play in December for a wonderful party (Christmas) our class had. It was the beginning of our wonderful friendships that we have kept this year.

We got first grade buddies who are wonderful. My first grade buddy is Amelia and she is a wonderful little girl. She is kind and very cute. She has character.

Andrea and I had become closer friends throughout the year. Best friends in fact. We’ve had our share of hardships, but we’re still best friends.

Now the year is coming to an end (or close) and there is nothing left to learn. Our teacher keeps on saying that the class will never be together anymore. I used to just not listen to that but now I’m sad. Very sad. I could even cry. I might later, but not now. I say I want to leave Atwater, but the truth is, I don’t want to. I’m finally going to close the doors on Atwater, on my elementary years.

compositionbook
The assignment, which never made sense to me until I became a teacher.
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It’s Just A Little Crush

Whenever I go home for vacation (as I am doing right now), I always read through my old diaries. I started keeping a diary in first grade (1990) and continued to do so fairly regularly until I was well out of college. While some people might shutter at the idea of rereading their past and uncovering old demons, I relish in the opportunity to read my old thoughts. Not only are they wildly entertaining, but they remind me what it was like to actually be in middle school and show how I’ve evolved over time (or not).

As I entered upper elementary school, then middle and high school, my diaries became the place where I confessed my deep feelings for basically any boy with whom I made eye contact. Like any other adolescent, I had multitudes of crushes and used my diary as a vehicle to lament over them and record our every interaction regardless of how trivial it was (it was always trivial).

When looking at how I wrote about my crushes, several common themes emerged that reiterated the fact that I had no idea what to do with a crush besides ignore him and then gush about him in my diary later. You know, standard operating procedure.

Below I’ve arranged some excerpts from these diaries by the common theme they share. All the names have been changed and if you think I’m talking about you it is purely coincidental (or not).

Theme #1: I’m too young and scared to know how to act around boys I like. What do I do?!

  • April 12th, 1994
    Dear Diary,
    This is really important! Matthew and Andrew asked me out! Oh my! I’m too young and scared! What should I do? This is so scary! If I tell my parents they’ll kill me. Andrew said, “I love you!” [expletive]
    P.S. I got a new library card.
    P.P.S. I have to talk to Iris!
  • August 16th, 1995
    Dear Diary,
    I really like Chris and Toby. They are so cool! I want to go out with one of them. I wouldn’t mind going out with Lance either. I’m afraid to say something.
  • March 13th, 1996
    Dear Diary,
    I want to dance with Michael at the next dance. I’m scared to dance with someone. How close do you get to them? Who leads the dance (slow dance)?
  • March 20th, 1996
    Dear Diary,
    Today I saw Michael after school. I made eye contact! I’m scared to look at him for a long period of time.
  • June 13th, 1996
    Dear Diary,
    When we came out from the baseball field, I saw Edward! I freaked out and my friends saw so I ran away! My friends yelled, “Hey! Edward’s here! He’s leaving!” Edward looked! I was so scared!

Theme #2: Looking for love in all the wrong places, or I like you purely based on the orange pants you wear.

  • March 6th, 1996
    Dear Diary,
    Michael and Casey broke up. She dumped him! Michael has been dumped by all of his girlfriends! I want to go out with Michael so bad. It would be really weird. But it would be awesome!
  • October 6th, 1999
    Dear Diary,
    Archer is so fine! He wore his orange pants from Abercrombie today. I love it when he wears those pants. He looks so fine! He is eye candy. I want to go to a dance with him…maybe someday. Whatever.
  • Februray 7th, 2000
    Dear Diary,
    The dance was fun and Jason was a good date. He is really sweet and he likes me, but I don’t think I’d ever go out with him. The age thing isn’t a problem, but I’m looking for something else—someone bigger and with more life experience.
  • June 24th, 2000
    Dear Diary,
    Hank asked me who my latest thing was and I said Peter and I was like, “I know, it’s horrible. But I can’t help it. He’s not even that great of a person to like.” Hank said that if he was a girl he would think that Peter was an [expletive].

Theme #3: Meaningless interactions feel like everything.

  • March 12, 1996
    Dear Diary,
    Today I was walking through the halls and I saw Michael. We made eye contact and when he saw me, he stopped talking for a second.
  • November 5th, 1996
    Dear Diary,
    In science, I took the test in the hall. Peter was right next to me! He said, “You can’t copy off of me.” Then I said, “Then, you can’t copy off of me.” Then he said, “just kidding” and I said, “Just kidding.” The first question was about power. He figured out the answer. We both worked together. IT WAS SO COOL! I made sure I looked in his eyes. He has pretty eyes. I told him that I thought we’d do okay because I got 5 points for rewording the question. He laughed.
  • October 3, 1999
    Dear Diary,
    I really like Archer. He’s REALLY HOT, he’s nice and he drives a nice car. One time, I dropped all this change and he picked it up for me. One time long ago, there was this announcement how I was now junior class president. He’s like, “so how does it feel to be president?” and he smiled. I was so happy! He laughs at what I say sometimes.
  • May 6th, 2000
    Dear Diary,
    Yesterday while I was lifting weights, Peter said hi to me. I know it’s not a big deal if he says hi, but when you like a guy it is a big deal if he says hi.
  • May 21st, 2000
    Dear Diary,
    I enjoyed watching the musical. All of us girls in the pit orchestra are in love with Eric. He’s cute and his voice is awesome! After the show, I went on stage with Alexa and I wanted to talk to Eric, but I was too scared. He walked by and I was like, “Good job, Eric.” He turned around and then said thanks and gave me a big hug. He said he was glad I liked it. He said, thanks and I said, sure. And then he said good job to me. I was so ecstatic that he gave me a hug! He’s so hot!

Theme #4: I’m simply paralyzed by my love for you.

  • January 27th, 1999
    Dear Diary,
    There are four people that I go numb when I see because they are so hot: James, Rick, George Clooney, and Joshua Jackson.
  • March 6th, 1999
    Dear Diary,
    I was at Libby’s house and Liam called and I heard his voice and I was all happy. I got really nervous when I found out that he might be able to do something with us. I get so stressed out about it. Ugh! I like him so much!
  • March 12th, 1999
    Dear Diary,
    Liam came to school to eat with us and brought us pizza! I almost died! It was awesome! But, I felt kind of awkward. I felt distant from him, but I think it was me! I felt scared to talk to him because I felt that no matter what I said to him he would think that I was trying to come on to him.
  • May 21st, 2000
    Dear Diary,
    The cast party was fun last night. I wore my fun shirt. Eric was there. He was talking to Katrina when I was with her and I was speechless. I was in awe of his fineness. I was in awe of him.
  • June 24th, 2000
    Dear Diary,
    Today I was at Hank’s house with Tina helping out at Hank’s mom’s party. It was fun. Hank had Peter over for a little bit and I was so ecstatic! He is so hot. But anyways, he came in and I said hi, but I didn’t really feel that he acknowledged that I was there. I mean he sort of did but of course I felt all insecure. I hate that. It’s horrible. And I get so nervous and I never know what to say and I never act like myself. And that sucks even more because then he can’t even see my fine personality.

If you’re still reading this far, bless you! As I’m no longer an adolescent I once was, I’m happy to say I’m not too young or scared to know how to interact with boys I like. That doesn’t mean I don’t have the occasional bout with love paralysis or fall for a guy solely based on his orange pants, but when confronted head on with a crush, I no longer take off and run. That’s real progress.