Throwback Thursday: Thankfully, middle school doesn’t last forever

It’s been another week. I don’t even know what happened between last Thursday and this. Somehow seven days have passed. All I have to show for it is a bunch of overtime, bags under my eyes, a sore knee, a terrible blood blister on the tip of one of my toes, and a three-day weekend in sight! That’s right! I’m taking a day of vacation next friday. I’m going to read. And eat pancakes. And sit in sweatpants all day. I might go for a walk downtown. I might day drink. Who knows? The possibilities are endless!

Anyway, please accept my apology for the lack of post in between Thursday posts. I’ve got another idea for a weekly post – so keep your eyes open!

Every Thursday, I dig out an old diary and share an entry sans editing (in hopes we’ll all see my grammar and apostrophe use improve) with a short commentary. If you like laughing with/at Young Ashley, feel free to use the handy search bar to the right and simply type “Throwback Thursday” and you’ll find the whole archive. Thanks for reading!

Thursday May 25, 2000

Dear Libby, 

Do I sound happy in my diary entries? I wonder what people think when they see me. Do think think, “Oh, there’s a dork.” or “there goes that Brat again.” or “What did she do to her face?”

I’ve been depressed lately. The only good points of my days are when Travis is online the same time I am. I feel like the urge to fit in is driving me crazy. I want so badly to have a boyfriend, someone like Travis. Like he would write “I luv Ashley” like, 500 times in an e-mail to one of his friends. 

I want to feel loved. I know my family and God love me, but I want a boy to love me. I want someone to give me a rose because they missed me over the summer, or to call me, even to pass notes with a boy would be better than nothing! 

It’s like, how many girls my age don’t want to feel love from a boy? I sure don’t know many! How many girls would love to be popular and always surrounded by friends? TONS! And I’m one of them! 

I think I would feel an atomic ton better if I lost 15 pounds. I want to feel good about myself in my Navy Blue Tankini! Who the hell wouldn’t?!!

Igg

Luv ya, 

Ashley

Middle school was basically three years of me being perpetually disappointed with myself. I was too short. I was too fat. I had too many pimples. My boobs weren’t big enough. I didn’t make cheerleading. None of the boys liked me. Everyone else had cooler clothes than me. Everyone was cooler than me.

I’d like to think my classmates were all just as lost and miserable as I was, but I’m sure some of them weren’t. Maybe it’s the jealous twelve year old in me, but I bet some girls never had to wish for a boy to like them. You remember those girls – the ones who always had a boyfriend, even when having a boyfriend only meant that you sat next to each other at lunch and danced the slow dances.

I think this is a picture of my sixth grade homeroom class. I'm just the frumpy weirdo in the back with straight up Zooey bangs.

I think this is a picture of my sixth grade homeroom class. I’m just the frumpy weirdo wearing orange with the straight up Zooey bangs. We were a pretty glamorous bunch, huh?

It’s funny to see how much I changed from twelve to eighteen. I went from desperately wanting to be a preppy cheerleader to deciding to be an Hot Topic-shopping emo kid who scribbled all over her notebooks. The things I strove for ended up being the same things I loathed in high school. I hated the status quo because I didn’t feel like I could ever be the girl I wanted to be. I ended up changing who I wanted to be – I lowered the social standards for myself. 

In retrospect, this was probably for the best. Sometime in eighth grade, some of the girls I was jealous of  ended up getting in trouble with parents, principals, and counselors after rumors surfaced about sex acts and underage drinking. There’s no telling what state of self-loathing I might be in now if I had entertained my craving for male attention. It would have gone one of two ways: giving in and getting that cheap validation or panicking at the idea of a penis and refusing to ever look at a boy again. Judging from my previously mentioned encounters with boys, it probably would have been the latter.

Not sure why I thought the gigantic sweatshirt was a good look, but I rocked it anyway.

Not sure why I thought the gigantic sweatshirt was a good look, but I rocked it anyway.

Though I still occasionally wonder what people think of me, it’s a relief to not have that same cloud of self-consciousness hanging over me. Call it what you want – self-assuredness or a malfunctioning social awareness – I live my life as I want, without spending too much time taking the status quo into consideration. I suppose that doesn’t come as much of a surprise after knowing that I’m looking forward to spending a day of vacation reading, huh? Whatever. I’m going to get paid to read and eat pancakes in my sweatpants.

Never in her wildest dreams did Young Ashley think that’s what she’d get excited about at twenty-five.

Throwback Thursday: French Toast & Self-Loathing

Every Thursday, I dig out an old diary and share an entry sans editing (in hopes we’ll all see my grammar and apostrophe use improve) with a short commentary. If you like laughing with/at Young Ashley, feel free to use the handy search bar to the right and simply type “Throwback Thursday” and you’ll find the whole archive. Thanks for reading!

Sunday January 24, 1999

Dear Genna,

I’m so fat. I weight 100 pounds. Corey, my older brother weighs 80! I wish I had his body more boys would like me. He’s really skinny. Funny thing is I could never imagine myself skinny. I think I’d look ALOT better. I want to wear a bikini this summer without having to suck in my belly. I’ll keep a record of what I had to eat almost every day and try to be healthy. Wait no. I WILL eat healthy. 

Breakfast: 2 peices of french toast & syrup. milk butter

Lunch: none

Dinner:

Snacks: lots of chocolate :[ Dang-it!

I have to cut down on my sweets, drink LOTS of water, more than 8 glasses. And workout Every Day! Must!

Bye, 

Ashley

I didn’t really want Thursday features to be me making fun of myself, but I don’t know how I can’t with this one. Where do I begin?

Diary

Oh, young Ashley. Why do you hate yourself so much? Who should we blame? Television? Movies? Magazines? Society in general? Carbs? I like carbs, let’s blame carbs.

Maybe under different circumstances, I would have become an anorexic. If my mom had been more critical. If my dad had been less caring. If my brother weighed 70lbs. On that note, I’d just like to state that I no longer want my brother’s body. He might still weigh less than me, but I’ve learned to accept that boobs weigh a few pounds, and I’d like to keep them.

Clearly, I had no idea what nutrition was. French toast? It’s just processed whiteness fried in an egg drizzled with sugar liquid. Seems legit. Chocolate? Fuck yeah, antioxidants! (I don’t think anyone was talking about antioxidants in 1999.) I had one thing right though – lunch and dinner are pretty unimportant and relatively unappetizing meals. Breakfast is where it’s at. And exercising – how the hell do 10 year olds exercise? At that time, I considered running around the block once to be sufficient exercise. As long as my breathing quickened for more than 2 minutes, I was set. Also, I think it’s sufficiently weird that I’m still addressing this to my cousin. What was I going to do? Deliver this to her on Christmas? Sorry, Genna, I guess I owe you a 15-year old Christmas gift. You probably don’t want it.

Needless to say, I didn’t lose weight. I grew breasts and developed a waist smaller than my hips. That came with a few extra pounds. Like most girls, I struggled with my body image while growing up. I was never skinny enough. My skin always had too many pimples. My hair never looked good. My mom would never buy me white eyeliner and black mascara (could you think of a worse makeup trend?). I was always a little chubby and a little awkward, even through high school. While my peers were at their prime at 17 and 18, I was still figuring out how to conceal my pimples and pretend I didn’t have a muffin top. Seven years later, I still haven’t quite figured those things out, but I’ve got better makeup and accepted I don’t look good in jeans whose waistline hovers just below my hipbones. Structure: some of my clothes has it.

I didn’t grow into myself until my freshman year of college when I discovered I could wear cardigans and adorable flats while looking down at the skinny girls in their $30 Abercrombie shirts, because seriously, who wears those clothes after high school anyway?

I’m proud to say that my self-loathing has taken a backseat to my “BITCH, I DO WHAT I WANT” attitude. It’s not quite that violent, but we’ll just say I’ve accepted that I’m probably never going to weigh 100 pounds, I’ll probably always suck in my belly when I wear a bikini, and I will always enjoy french toast with syrup and butter.