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Gun Blog Black List

1999 – ages 15-16

Christina requested this year, and I don’t even have a Livejournal to go on, or a written record of any kind, because my paper journals from the period are in boxes in a storage unit 20 minutes away, so this may be shorter, or may be longer, depending on how well I can remember what’s basically the end of my sophomore year of high school, and the beginning of my junior year.

ETA:  okay, this is longer than I thought it would be.

Okay.  So let’s go with what I DO know for sure.

I was living with my mom, having moved in with her just before I turned 15 (DRAMA in the form of custody battles! yay!), in an apartment complex on the “other” side of the tracks.  I had my own room, and was given a level of autonomy that basically meant, at that point, that I could date (if anyone ever asked me out), and that while my getting to bed before 10 was strongly encouraged, it wasn’t ever enforced, unless I was loud and woke Mom up.  If THAT happened, as I found out the next year, God help me.  :-P

{TANGENT – This was after having come from a household where I had to call or “beep” (i.e. page) my dad whenever I got where I was going, and where I had to go through about 3 circles of hell to get him to agree to let me go anywhere.  This was, admittedly, an improvement over the 9 circles in middle school, but still – a movie on the weekend with my boyfriend at the time and a mutual female friend?  Not necessarily a good time to bring out the I R OVRPROTECTIV card.  The previously-mentioned boyfriend let me wear his class ring and letter jacket (he was a senior, I was a freshman – it was the sudden onset of boobs, I’m tellin’ ya), and my father told me that in HIS day, that meant that the girl and the jacket’s owner were having sex, and since I was wearing his RING, too, ZOMG, people must have thought I was a slut!  Or somesuch.  I remember the conversation occurred as I was waking up from a nap on the couch, and it horrified and embarrassed me.

Don’t get me wrong – I get the concern.  I was 14, this guy was 18.  That thought now kind of skeeves me out, but, being me, I’ve always gotten along with guys older then myself, even at THAT time, so I didn’t think much of it, and regarding myself, I guess I still don’t.  And no, we didn’t have sex.  I don’t think we ever even kissed.  He was a nice guy (Joey Brown, for those who went to school with me/us), and that’s about as far as it goes.

But anyway, that and a few other issues that I won’t go into (wrong year!) are what caused me to move in with my mom, thereby “dooming” me to…well, whatever it is that folks in my family hate about me, because it’s usually blamed on that. *shrugs*}

I was on birth control in 10th grade, causing me to balloon up to 180 pounds from my previously-loathed-but-normal 150.  Well, that and my mom feeding me like a Jewish grandma.  “Your father didn’t FEED you!  EAT!”  Naturally, these orders were followed by my favorite meal at the time:  pork steak, egg noodles, and peas.  Nomtastic, and much more than I was accustomed to eating.

Well, let’s face it – I brought lunches from home, too, and I don’t know if it was stress, hormones, relief, or just because I COULD, but I would regularly eat 2 bologna sandwiches, applesauce, a cheese stick, and a pudding cup for lunch, washed down with Pepsi.

I already had food issues (again, though – wrong year!), and this was really the beginning of my self-loathing, physically-speaking.

I cut all of my hair off in late 1998, and it was in an awkward growing-out phase, which didn’t really help, because my face was getting rounder, and my hair was just…well, it WAS.  Blech.  I have a photo of me around here somewhere (in that storage unit, naturally) from the All-West Tennessee Band concert, and I tried to cute-en myself up with hair clips, but even in a black dress, you can’t hide being fat, and the beginning of 1999 found me there.

I was in my second semester of my repeat of Freshman English.  Yes, I FAILED English in 9th grade and had to re-take it.  Why?  Because I didn’t give a damn.  I didn’t feel like doing my reading, homework, portfolio, etc.  I’ve always been good in English, and this attitude had gotten me in trouble in 2nd (yes, SECOND) grade, as well as 6th.  My first language, my Super Power (Grammar Nazi! *heroic music*), and I was repeating it.

One awesome thing I remember from that semester was that we were covering Romeo and Juliet, and my teacher (being young [only a year older than I am now] and enthusiastic) decided that groups needed to act out different parts of the play, with extra credit for lines memorized.  Because I was a SPONGE, I got the part of Juliet in our scene, which was the taking of the “poison”.  Yep – that entire soliloquy?  Had it memorized, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, and got extra credit points not only from the teacher, but from my classmates for my performance.  I hammed it up.  :-)  I was still lazy, though, so I think I ended up with a C in the class, but little moments like that made the second go-round SO much more bearable.

I was in band…and was basically in a stiff competition with Anjali Jha for first chair French horn.  I never practiced (uh, sorry, Ms. Terral…but you probably already knew that)…playing French horn came easily to me after 6th grade (as in, it took me a bit to learn the instrument, and as soon as I did, the rest was a cakewalk), so I would do what little practicing I did during the “warm-up” period in class.  I couldn’t really practice my French horn at home, being in an apartment, so this was really kind of advantageous.

I’d begun making it into Honor bands, and was starting to make friends with the other French horns from West Tennessee.  We’d see each other at events throughout the Spring semester, sit together for warm-ups, keep each other pumped up at tryouts and such, and when we saw each other in the Honor bands, we’d high-five and gossip when we were supposed to be practicing.  Ah, band nerds.  :-)

I was beginning my ascent into the Elitist Band Nerd, particularly because of the lack of practice.  I felt like because I had a natural talent, a good ear, and didn’t have to practice to do well (except scales…har, har, I sucked ass at those, which came back to bite me in the ass in college the first time around), I was somehow better than everyone else.  I didn’t have a “thing” that really made me special, so I took the band thing and RAN with it, at least in my own mind.  I’m sure I was a bitch to a lot of people because of it.

I was in Geometry and Biology that semester, and those were both classes that I excelled in, for different reasons.  Even with my poor study habits (I didn’t do much homework), I managed a B in both simply because of my test grades, which were nearly always perfect in Biology.  I also got an A in Typing (lulz), despite an incident the previous semester (and year, sorry) which put me and the teacher at serious odds and got my ass in a heap of trouble.

I don’t even remember if I was in 4-H that year.  I think I quit after 9th grade.  My “specialty” was interior design.  For some reason, that was also something that came naturally, after some initial OMGWTF over trying to memorize types of furniture (period pieces, specific “brands”, etc.).  I would have liked to have kept livestock, but didn’t live anywhere where 25 chickens would be appreciated.

I wish I had my yearbook.  This would be so much easier.

I was in, then quit, the Literary Journal (sound familiar?) because the Editors-in-Chief were fond of just writing “cliche!” at the tops of poems they were critiquing and then failing to explain WHY.  Not just mine – like, ALL of them.  I helped critique (I was in Creative Writing Club, I think, which got my foot in the door), so when I saw that on the page, followed by an EIC’s signature, I would make it a point to find what WASN’T cliche about it and write THOSE details down.  I eventually gave up, because I was the only person fighting that particular war, and just stopped going to meetings.

After 10th grade was over, I found myself being courted, in a sense, by a guy named Jason.  We talked a lot on the phone, we hung out a couple of times (he was one of the seniors my freshman year), and he asked to take me out for my 16th birthday, which occurred right before school started for my Junior year.  I think he also tried to take me to the South Park movie before then, but they were actually carding for it, so I couldn’t get it, and I don’t even remember what we ended up seeing, instead, or if we opted out of a movie.  Jason was nice enough, but he had something of a reputation (I don’t know if it was bullshit or not…still don’t, and don’t care), so I was a little cautious, but when he asked me out, my mom basically dragged me out to go shopping for new clothes in preparation.  The night was supposed to be a surprise, but I was told to dress nice, so I ended up getting a new dress, and my mom lent me a pair of her AWESOME shoes (which I still have, in the storage unit…lol).  No, seriously, check these puppies out:

In fact, this is the outfit I wore. (This is one of my senior photos, taken in June 2000.)

THE SHOES ARE AWESOME.

Anyway, he picked me up, brought me a dozen red roses, took me to Macaroni Grill (hoity-toity for high school students, y’all), and then took me to see CATS at the Orpheum here in Memphis.  FYI, that was one of my favorite musicals of all time at that point in my life.  It was a blast.  Unfortunately, there just wasn’t a spark.  We’d meet up again later in life, several times, and we talked quite a bit my senior year (his sister, who’s my age, commented that I knew more about his life than she did at the time).  He’s now happily married to a gal who resembles Jerica (my sister) and myself in a cutesy-creepy way, if there is such a thing.  He definitely has a type, as do I…lol.

I also went to summer school to get 10th grade English out of the way, and made a 94.  So apparently, quick ‘n’ dirty is just how I operate when it comes to grammar- and literature-related classes.

I dabbled a bit in Wiccan stuff that year, learned some spells and rituals, and took to playing Mahjong on my computer with a stick of incense held in my mouse hand, for the hell of it.  I had an old computer (I still have the CPU unit in storage) that ran on Windows 3.1, and it was pretty much only good for playing games like Solitaire and Mahjong and writing papers with MS Works.

My walls were COVERED in posters that I would impulsively buy from Spencer’s and Wal-Mart, and I filled up the rest of the space with drawings, and had all of my stuffed animals hanging from a chain strung across my room (it’s less morbid than it sounds).  I slept on a REAL futon, and it was heaven to me back then.  I rarely converted it to a couch, because it was a pain, but I liked that thing a lot, and was sad when the frame broke and we had to throw it away.  :-(

The beginning of 11th grade was a trial.  I tried out for section leader for marching band, and got “Band Manager”, which basically meant that this gal Krystal (sp?  O’Malley, at any rate) and I would blow our whistles when it was time for a water break during marching band rehearsals.  I would get shit from people when I didn’t call a water break exactly when they wanted it.  Let me also note that because of my fair skin, I marched in jeans and a button-down shirt (over a tee shirt), while wearing the required hat (seriously, it was required that we wear a hat to keep the sun out of our eyes so we could see the field conductor), so I KNOW it was hot out there, and I wanted a drink just as badly as they did, but I had to wait until Krystal and I could lock eyes and confirm that we were at a good stopping point.

I still have my whistle.

I was in Algebra II and Chemistry, and was failing both classes spectacularly.  My Algebra I teacher was awesome, and I got what he said.  Then I get Coach Stone, and it’s like being taught by a robot.  No change, no adaptation in method of teaching when questions were asked…I mean, it just sucked.  And I just couldn’t do chemistry.  It didn’t click with me.

Up until that point, I was actually considering trying for pre-med in college, because my ASVAB (taken my sophomore year) said that I would either be a doctor or a musician.  The Marines visited me to try to recruit me for The President’s Own, no joke, but the thought of basic training and continued PT just to play my mellophone (not even French horn, but my marching instrument) made me feel kind of sick.  Upon further reflection, I probably should have gone in.

Anyway, I was considering pre-med, but then I discovered that I suck at chemistry.  So I figured I’d fall back on my French horn, and made new and wonderful plans to move up in the ranks of the symphonies of the country and make my way into the London Symphony Orchestra.  I wanted to go to the Royal Academy of Music in London, as well.  I had high aspirations, but no drive to make myself the absolute peak of what I was capable of while playing my horn.

LULZ, this was also the year, I believe, where I stayed home sick (with cramps that made me puke) the day of the Collierville Christmas Parade, and the CHS band always marches, so I sucked it up, got my uniform on, grabbed my mellophone, and my mom drove me to the parade starting point.  The director (Mr. Hughes, former Marine) told me I couldn’t march.  I had to walk home (I lived about a mile from the town square, where the parade was), my mom drove up there with me after I’d changed, and had it out with Ms. Terral and Mr. Hughes.  I’m STILL convinced that I was given a failing grade (oh, yes, we were graded for marching, did I mention that?)  because Mr. Hughes just didn’t want to back down.

Here’s how it goes:  parades are considered “extra-curricular”, and any student is not permitted to attend an extra-curricular event if they’ve been ill that day.  Also?  Extra-curricular means “outside of school”, meaning we’re not supposed to be graded for it.  Seriously.  I went through the CHS hand book AND the CHS Band handbook.  However, in band, they’re for a grade.  My showing up for the parade was the equivalent of me being so late to school that I only caught my last class.  BUT I WAS THERE.  If they wanted to pull the “you can’t attend extra-curricular activities if you don’t attend school that day” card, they shouldn’t have graded the parade, ya know?  When I presented my argument to Mr. Hughes, he would simply turn purple, shake his head, and point to his office door.  So I got a “D” for that report card period.  It’s the only grade lower than an “A” I’d ever gotten in band.

My afternoons were a blur of hanging out at home after school watching MTV’s Total Request Live (lulz Carson Daly), playing games on the computer, hanging out on AOL and chatting with people (I basically hung out in ONE chatroom filled with people from England, gleaning all the info I could about the RAM and whatnot…yes, I am a NeoMaxiZoomDweebie).

Aaaaaaand…that’s what I remember.

13 comments to 1999 – ages 15-16

  • ParatrooperJJ

    Very cute picture of you.

    • Thanks. :-) I’d definitely slimmed down a bit by the time those photos were taken. That’s pretty much the “perfect” size for me.

      I’d like to find my other scanned senior photos, but I’m not sure where they are…they could very well be on a freakin’ floppy disk, for all I know…heh.

      Anyway…thanks, again. :-)

  • Kimberly

    Which English teacher was it? You should have taken Honors Chemistry. Mrs. Allen was awesome!

    • It was Mr. Powell. He’s still there, I think. My senior year, he started growing his hair out, and he was also starting to thin out on top, so it looked awful. He was really cool, though – I enjoyed his class.

      I had Mrs. Croce (CROW-chee), and she wasn’t a bad teacher, and she was pretty fun, but I just couldn’t understand moles and the equations and whatnot. I could balance two molecules or whatever, as long as I had my cheat sheet, but everything else was like, “BUH?” Getting sick and looking up medications has helped, so for all I know, I could be awesome at chemistry now, but I’m not sure I want to find out…lol.

  • AWESOME! Thanks so much for the glimpse of Chibi-Squeaky’s Life. :)

  • Dang! You really do look like Agatha Heterodyne! As a fellow band nerd, I ask if you had to memorize the music for halftime shows, as did we?

    • I love how I either look like a cartoon character, Lauren Ambrose, or Christina Hendricks according to a vast number of people…lol.

      And yes, we did have to memorize the music. I was always the first mellophone (and brass player, my senior year) to memorize their part, within the first week of band camp. I was also really good at memorizing the field forms, which freaked out an alto sax freshman my senior year…it made me lol, because he was like, “HOW U DO DIS?!?” I said, “You count and know where you’re supposed to be in the music and on the field. It’s easy math.” He goggled. It was so funny. But yeah, I’m a nerd, so I WOULD think so. :-)

  • Oh, according to the Marine web site, the President’s Own don’t have to do basic training. Pass the blind audition and the Top Secret clearance, and you’re in, starting out as Staff Sergeant. The Drum Major tries to give a little military training, as and when.

    • I would have had to have been inducted into the Marines first, according to the recruiters, and that requires basic, which I just didn’t want to do.