In 1984, I began high school. Feathered hair, brown, plastic framed glasses, and a mouth full of metal. The pressure was on now that I was in the big leagues to find and secure a boyfriend. My older sister always had one, and my mom was most proud of her own high school dating career. My sister and brother were both attending the same college and I was finally the only child at home and ready for all of those benefits. My parents were busy with work, church, and community commitments. Life was good!
My fashion sense, not unlike my body, was underdeveloped. My idea of style was solid colored sweatpants and matching sweatshirts from The Gap. As long as it was a primary color, it could mix and match with any in my collection. My goal was comfort and fun. As I navigated the halls of my large high school, I stuck close to my church friends that I had grown up with.
Freshman year came and went with nary a date to a dance. My mother was disappointed, my sister scoffed, and I was devastated. I began to ask myself, “What is wrong with me?” I decided to up my game.
I perfected my round-off cartwheel on our front lawn and tried out for the Sophomore Cheerleading Squad. I also ran for Student Council and secured my spots with both groups. I was honestly not completely surprised as I worked hard for things I wanted to achieve and had a solid level of success at this point in my life. My friends from church fell away as some didn’t like my new activities and immediately judged who I would become. That was hurtful but I was determined to make my mark in high school and I enjoyed being involved and meeting new people.
That fall, I got a super short, pixie style haircut (who knew voluminous hair was about to be all the rage?), and traded in my brown glasses for a pair of light blue. My quest to find a date to Homecoming was on track. Guess what I learned that year? You can ride a float in the Homecoming parade, cheer at the game, and if you were on Student Council and didn’t have a date, well, then you still had to work getting everything ready for the dance that you weren’t attending.
Sophomore year was a year of making new friends and establishing my high school self. As the school year ended, I decided to up my game. I left cheer, joined the JV Drill Team, the Dance Team, and won an election to be Junior Class Vice President. I auditioned for, and made our school’s highest choir, and enjoyed being part of the chorus in our nearly professional school musicals. Junior year would surely be the year to not only go to a dance, but secure the boyfriend my mom continuously asked me about. Honestly, I would have been happy with an actual kiss from a boy at this point, the boyfriend business seemed unattainable.