too ugly

One of the things about parenting that I do not look forward to are the middle school years.  Especially because I really hope my son is kind to the awkward girls.  Because we all know it’s hell as a girl to go through the judgey middle school years.

For me middle school was pretty terrible all around, but I do have to admit there were bright spots.

Art class with my best friend, Tonya, for instance.  The teacher let us listen to the radio during class, and we got to sketch things terribly and giggle uncontrollably at our horrible art skills.

Band with my best friend, Tonya, because we made the band director cry.  What?

Applied Technology class with my best friend, Tonya, because our balsa wood bridge couldn’t hold the bucket, our bottle submarine wouldn’t hover, our sailboat sunk, and we filed our nails on the electric sander, but still got A’s. (We love you, Mr. Poest).

But my best friend wasn’t in all my classes.  In fact, she was only in my elective classes, so I had to suffer get through the core classes on my own, and I did my best to make new friends.

I can remember walking into my seventh grade science class and not knowing anybody on the first day, and I was actually thankful that my teacher, one of the high school football coaches, put us in assigned seats that he declared would be ours for the entire school year.  Which meant that the person at our lab table would be our lab partner for the entire school year.  I was nervous and relieved at the same time.  I was glad I wouldn’t have to suffer through no one picking me, but I was anxious that I would be put with someone too nerdy or too cool.  What would I do?

My permanent seat was all the way in the back corner next to the door and my lab partner was Steve.  Steve looked like a high school football player already because that was his goal in life.  I was sort of excited  that I got a cute guy as my lab partner, but I knew I wasn’t one of the popular girls, so I would have to prove myself.

In front of us sat Jeremy, the nerdiest kid in the world, and Jeanna, someone who smoked and had a high school boyfriend.  If we ever had to work in groups of four, they were our automatic partners.  We were the four most unlikely group in the seventh grade.  We were like the Breakfast Club, but in science class instead of Saturday School.

We actually became quite the group…pretty close.  None of us socialized outside of class, but in class we always worked together and talked to each other about stuff other than science.  So that is why toward spring, I thought I could tell Steve that I thought he was cute.

So I did.  In science class.  In front of Jeanna and Jeremy.

I partly blame Jeanna because she told me that she thought he totally liked me.  And stuff.

Anyway, he laughs a little like I am telling him a joke.  Then he puts his hand on my shoulder and says, “Aw Kate.  You are just too ugly to ever get a boyfriend.  But you are so funny.  You’re a great friend!”

And he went back to work.

Like nothing happened.

And my face burned.  I wanted to just disappear.

But instead I thought of myself as ugly for years.  YEARS.  Twenty years and counting.

One statement.  In middle school.  That wasn’t even true.

I don’t want Eddie to EVER say anything like that. To anyone.  Ever.

How do I prevent that?  How do I teach him to be kind to all even when he is insecure about himself?

How do I show him that there is no such thing as “too ugly”?

This week’s prompt was to write about an embarrassing moment.


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Our cousin, Alyson, is running in the Chicago Marathon for the American Cancer Society!  If you would like to donate, please go here.  She will be running in honor of our aunt (her mother), our Grandma Sluiter, and in memory of Cort’s dad.