If I could cue fancy flashback music, I would. But alas, I am not that talented and cannot bring mystical enjoyment to you through sound via WordPress. However, I can ooh and ahh you through this post, hopefully.
Recently, I shared a poem from the past. Then, I tempted you even further by carelessly mentioning the satiric memoir I once began writing. My guilt pulled against my insides, and before I knew it I was searching endlessly through my archived writing to locate said memoir.
Without further adieu, I am sharing the first chapter of my memoir, originally written around 2007.
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Chapter 1: Hello Rejection, My Name’s Caitlin
Middle school is an interesting time of life. And I mean interesting in the same way you say it to a first date that you have no intentions of calling the next day, but they want to know what you think of them. “You’re… [insert awkward smile and mental mad-dash for a word] …very interesting.” Middle school is a piece of everyone’s life timeline that they’d like to take a big, fat experience eraser to, and rid themselves of the three years existence.
I fondly remember myself as a hot mess in middle school. My daily attire consisted of enough glitter for Jem and the Holograms, hot blue mascara, clothes that never fit in the right areas, and a new “hip” hair-do (ahem, don’t) of the day. The worst part is, I went to middle school in the mid-to-late 90s, so there’s no real excuse. But for some reason, I got away with it and maintained at least one friend that would admit to knowing me in public.
Somewhere during the seventh grade, the popular movie, The Craft, came out; I ditched my Jem-like appearance for an all-black Gothic look. I like to call that my Black Day. Yes, day. The whole idea wore off real quick when I walked out of my bedroom bold as life, with my black lipstick smeared slightly on my teeth (in the sexiest of ways) and my brother pointed at me with an eruption of laughter.
I slammed my bedroom door shut and threw myself on the bed. We always see people do this in movies and books, but in reality, all it boils down to is a fabulous method of breaking your bed’s box-spring. My bed made a terrible cracking noise from the sudden weight that had dramatically thrown itself upon it. This only made me more pissed off. How dare my brother laugh at me! How dare my bed not be able to handle my two-hundred pound body throwing itself onto it, like a wrestler from the WWF jumping from the ropes! I tried my hardest to replicate the depressive attitudes I had seen in the movie and squeeze out some tears, while mumbling in an oh-so-common Middle School state of mind, “No one understands me!” Before I knew it, I was laughing to myself. Who was I kidding? You can’t take Cyndi Lauper and turn her into Elvira. I wiped off my black make-up and said a silent prayer that my mentally challenged cat hadn’t been taking a nap under my now caved in box-spring. That would be one Hell of a way to go.
By the time I reached eighth grade, I had toned down everything about my appearance except for the glitter. Come on, when a girl needs to shine, she needs to shine. There’s no half-assing that. Although my main interests involved making up unique medical excuses to get out of class, and watching every second of Dawson’s Creek while screaming about Dawson and Joey’s great love affair, I also gained another new interest. Boys.
Mitch Foley* stole my heart in the eighth grade. I thought he was a dreamboat, and I wanted a year-round ticket to that ride. Looking back now, I realize that my crush on Mitch set off a chain of disastrous events that is commonly acknowledged as “my dating life”. With a fresh slate, and a heart full of 13 year-old love, I set off on a journey. I was going to win his heart! I was going to make him see how wonderful of a girl I was. So what if he might need sunglasses just to look at me directly among all the glitter? Of course he would be intrigued by me as soon as he got to know me. So, I did what any logical-thinking, self-respecting 13 year-old girl would do.
I set him up with my best friend.
I’ll never forget what I lovingly recall as my own personal D-Day. My best friend and I were in English class, where we wrote notes back and forth on our book-covers just to escape from suicidal ideation. My teacher was far from exciting and had a passion for reading books about cats out loud. I always worried about her home life, and prayed at night that she had someone to go home to (and not in the feline form).
I tapped my pencil on the desk, wondering if I should divulge my intense, never-ending, he-is-the-one crush on Mitch to my best friend. The hesitation? Friends are tricky during Middle School. On a Monday you’re braiding each other forever friendship bracelets, and on Tuesday you’re writing in black permanent marker on the bathroom stall what a dirty little slut your friend is.
‘What do you think about Mitch Foley?’ I wrote quickly, while keeping an eye on cat woman. Cat woman always licked her finger before turning a page in her cat book. It left a wet smudge on the corner of every page, and I always felt my stomach turn if I thought too much about it. That was really a dirty habit, when you think about it.
‘He’s cute. His eyes are nice, I like him.’ I looked down at her response, and my stomach did a Tower of Terror drop to bottom floor from the penthouse. How dare she like him! That little, secretive, overall wearing man-whore! I did a quick reality check of whether I’d be able to plead non-guilty to an assault charge against her, when I had a room full of witnesses around me. I decided to just smile at her instead.
‘He’s okay. I bet he’d like you.’ I paused. This is where I truly believe there was Satanic intervention and my pencil took on a mind of its own. ‘Want me to ask him to be your boyfriend?’
My friend read over the note and scribbled it out on her book-cover. She met my eyes and nodded her head eagerly up and down, mimicking a bobble-head doll. I enjoyed a two-second visual of me ripping the head off of this said bobble-head doll, then the bell rang.
“Caitlin, you’re the greatest friend I’ve ever had!”
I just shrugged modestly, and held back the string of cusses I would have liked to spat her way. The warning bell rang and I rushed off to my next destination: History. That would be the class I had spent that past two weeks staring dreamily at Mitch and planning our marriage.
I pulled out a piece of paper and wrote down the ever famous ‘circle yes or no’ method of dating found in Middle School. Mitch sat down and waved in my direction. I blushed, and passed the blue-lined, yellow paper that always tore if you dared bring an eraser anywhere near its surface.
I watched him intently and waited for the moment when Mission Impossible: Pass A Note In Front of A Teacher would be executed. Soon enough the moment came, and when I saw “Yes” circled, my little thirteen-year-old heart broke. Or at least, whatever type of heartbreak a young teen can imagine at the time, took place.
Two weeks later, my home-wrecker skills set in. I wrote Mitch a note, asking him if he would date a list of girls, and to say why he would or would not. After all, sitting together at lunch and talking one night on the phone a week is a big commitment at that age. Of course, I added my name to the list.
The letter was returned to me, with “No” written all the way down the page, except when it came to my name.
Would you date me?
I would if I wasn’t dating Nicole.*
And there it was. The beginning of my true understanding of the psychology of men. Low-down, no-good, lying, cheating jerks.
But I had no problem accidentally slipping that note into Nicole’s binder at lunch the following day. And I had no problem slightly enjoying their break-up a week later.
Men may be low-down, no-good, lying, cheating jerks… but girls are just bitches.
* Names have been changed to remove shame from the guilty!