Can you tell what that picture is? Well, if I could have taken a picture of myself the first day of junior high, that is what you would have seen.
That is a person inside a bathroom stall.
Why am I posting a pic of a person in a bathroom stall, you ask?
The comments in my last post were so surprising and really quite unexpected. I displayed a little ad I received in the mail about menopause, wrote a humorous little ditty to go along with it, and lo and behold people had many memories stirred from childhood.
But one of the themes that seemed to run through many of the comments was that of embarrassment.
So it got me to thinking...back to my most embarrassing moment from girlhood.
So, here it is.
The first day of junior high, which was 7th grade, was a scary one. I was not quite 12 (my visitor hadn't even arrived yet), and there I was, starting this all important day in my life.
I woke up, put on a dress, (yes, in those days, girls actually had to wear a dress to school. It was not until 9th grade that we were allowed to have "pants day"...that's right, one day in the whole school year to wear pants. Oh, just one more aside: we weren't allowed to wear patent leather shoes because a boy could look in the shoes, and see your underwear...Holy Crap).
I went to all my new classes, scared but excited at the same time. The day went pretty well, as well as a day can go in a new school.
Everything in my life was different at this point. Since my dad's death a year and a half earlier, my mom had gone back to work part-time, and wasn't going to be home after school, like she had always been before. But, I was almost 12, and very mature (or so I thought)...so this wasn't going to be a problem.
I had arranged to meet a friend after school by a certain post. But as nature often does, it called to me at the end of the day. So before meeting my friend, I figured I would go use the bathroom.
So off I went. I found a bathroom and went in. A few girls were in there when I entered. I went into the stall to do my "business".
While sitting in the stall, recounting the not-so-bad events of my first day in junior high, I realized that it had grown very quiet. No big deal...all the other girls had left the premises.
Suddenly, I heard a man's voice shouting, "Is anyone in there?" "Is anyone still in here?"
Now, for some unexplicable reason, I had decided in my head, that the man's voice was not directed at me, let alone to anyone in this particular bathroom. I still ask myself why I thought that...but still don't know the answer.
So...since the man's question, in my mind, wasn't for me...I continued to sit...and not rush to finish my delicate business.
But while I sat, I heard a strange noise...kind of like a lock turning...well, NOT KIND OF...it WAS a lock turning!!!
That man was the janitor, and he was making sure the bathroom was empty so he could lock it for the night.
You've never seen anyone finish their delicate business so quickly, jump up, (sorry, no time to wash hands) and run to the door.
And I began BANGING on that door. As hard as my little almost 12 year old body would allow. It seemed like my heart was pounding louder than I was banging on the door.
How could this be? Why didn't I know he was talking to ME? Was I destined to spend my first night of junior high in the girl's bathroom? Would I have to eat toilet paper for dinner and breakfast? What was to become of me?
Well, here is what became of me. After what seemed like an eternity (maybe 5 minutes), the janitor came back and unlocked the door.
I HAD BEEN SAVED!!!
But here was the embarrassing part...when the door opened...there stood the "popular" girls. One of them had heard the pounding and found the janitor.
But they stood there. And laughed. And giggled. And made faces. All as if to say...LOSER!!!
(and that wasn't even an expression in those days).
What luck. There is something about me and toilets.
I walked out of that bathroom, humiliated and downright embarrassed. I tried not to look at them...and just kept walking...head not so held high.
I found my friend, who was waiting by the post we had decided on earlier that day. We walked home.
I entered an empty house. I called my mom. Upon hearing her voice, I remember breaking down in tears. The day had just ended so wrong.
But maybe it's moments like those, that eventually lead to strength. Because without moments like those, it's hard to imagine ever learning to live through life's tough little moments. It's hard to imagine ever learning to laugh at one's self.
As you can probably imagine...that's one thing (besides finding my way to toilets) thatI'm pretty good at.