Yesterday I turned 16 and so I thought I would take this week's blog post as an opportunity to reminisce. Middle school Soph was something else. As much as I look back at myself and shrivel up inside from second-hand embarrassment, even at who I was a few months ago, the little things that used to excite me or make me nervous still vividly replay in my mind. Because I can’t go back in time and tap middle school Sophia on the shoulder and give her a few pieces of advice, I thought some of my middle school readers will find some comfort in this post. Frankly, that's the essence of this blog.
1. You don’t want to peak.
While I might be unashamedly myself, I am truthfully always seeking attention, approval, and loyalty. What made me so desperately insecure in 7th and 8th grade wasn’t the fact that I didn’t love who I was but more that the popular girls I so wanted to like me… just didn't. At lunch, I sat quietly on the outer perimeter of the ‘in girl’ circle in my own silence. I’m not quiet. I tried to keep up with expensive trends, materialistic interests, and chasing people who never gave me one ounce of attention. I wasn’t invited to a single birthday party of the exclusive friend group I sat with for a year and a half. And I cried myself to bed after spending my whole afternoon glued to my phone replaying snap stories of group hangouts. The sad part was every long, detailed birthday post, asking for plans, excessive Instagram tagging, and as it seemed my mere existence was perceived as ‘annoying’. But I didn’t understand. Let me tell you thank god. I am so glad I experienced the pain of not fitting in and self-depreciation. Because first off, it made me realize that being the ‘wannabe’, follower girl is 1000% not me. Second of all, not just those girls from my school but pretty much all the ‘popular’ kids my age from all the schools had their moment. They peaked. Their claim to fame was a fad. Thank god I didn’t peak. Why would any 7th and 8th grader want all the spotlight and fawning at that incredibly awkward stage.
2. Hu stands for hookup
In middle school, I went from kid to girl, when you realize that boys start to look at you differently. My guy friends from elementary school vanished like flies after we graduated but slowly started to crawl back when it was convenient. My closest guy friend from elementary school was a boy who was strictly my friend and our relationship was easy. We surfed, hung out just us two, and had so many inside jokes. We hadn’t talked for a few years when he reached out to me again in 8th grade. I thought we were rekindling our friendship when one day he snapped me and asked me if I wanted to, and I quote his exact words, “come over to my house and hookup”. What?! I was dumbstruck. I asked him what he meant. Sheltered, 8th-grade Soph broke down into tears. I bawled for 3 hours. He wanted me to come over to his house and ‘hookup’... ew no wtf. That's most definitely not how I saw our friendship and not how I envisioned what kissing a boy would be like. I was an object, a target on the pubescent boy's race to keep up with their friends and reaffirm himself. I wasn’t having any of it. At the all girls middle and high school that I still attend, the social hierarchy has never been valued at how the boys perceive us. Well, that's because in our little universe of femininity that lasts from 8:30 - 3:00, 5 days a week, boys don’t exist. After school and on the weekends, I slowly began to see boys stepping into their masculinity. Then during these middle school summers at sleep away camp, boys would start to go off at night with girls and ask my friends out as summer flings. What's so frustrating is that the boys always choose the girl. Boys are taught to make a move and go after based on our looks. Long story short, this period where you are introduced to the concept of getting with people hits like a storm you never saw coming. My advice is to never sell yourself short to a boy who is trying to assert his masculinity. Does it not feel right because these boys are in the friend zone? Because they’re not cute? Because it’s so out of the blue? All of the above, but the main idea is do not dismantle your confidence for someone else's lack of respect for you. Make your first kiss what you want. You’re in charge and do what you want. Also p.s. When you do like boys, don’t tell every person you know about it. Keep some details to yourself. Just trust me.
3. Foundation is a foe
Beautifying myself became a longgggg process as I hopped on the continuous train wagon of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs that occurred every Saturday morning followed by a party at night in middle school. Sis let me tell you, I would PACK on the foundation, layer on powder and concealer. I thought I looked good but I’ll tell you right now I didn’t. She probably doesn’t remember saying this but I vividly remember one of my close friends telling me last year about how she always saw my foundation lines. Rule 1 - ALWAYS rub in your foundation into your neck. Rule 2 - Putting concealer on your acne is a no go. The pimples turn yellow and are so much more obvious. Stick with a drying lotion or acne patches. If necessary, go to Sephora or a department store and have them show you how to properly apply concealer. Rule 3 - less is more. I’ll say it again…. Less is more. A little concealer, mascara, lipgloss. Good to go. Done. You all know those ‘Chav Check’ sculpted eyebrows, false lashes, and overdone contour girls. They hide behind their makeup and create this false impression of who they are so when the makeup does come off, they hate who they are underneath. Don’t do that to yourself, don’t catfish yourself and the world.
4. Cut the Brandy
Middle school girls - STOP spending all your money at Brandy. I think I bought the same pinstripe ugly square shirt in 5 colors to match the ruffle shorts and every other basic shirt I got rid of the next year. Ya everyone will LOVE it in the moment but trust me, this stuff gets old. Of course, stock up on the basics because brandy kills it with the basics but doesn’t convince yourself that a full brandy outfit is a fashion style. Every other girl wore it so I thought I had to… but really I outdid myself. The stuff is just too expensive for what it is, so try to get a few cute things and never step foot in there again.
5. You're still a kid
Compared to high school, middle school is a piece of cake. The homework load isn’t awful and you have time!!!! Everyone might be messing around with nicotine and experimenting with alcohol, but you have time. Don’t rush being a kid. This is really the last chance you’re going to get. Honestly, because you’re chasing a clock and you’re on the brink of things really changing up. I’m literally 16 and it's gone. Being a kid is over. But not for you because you can still be silly and fun. This is the last time at home where you have no pressure to get into college, make a living, and pay bills. Don’t give up your stress-free lifestyle. Don't give up being a kid for what… puff bars and trying to be ‘rebellious’. You look dumb and everyone sees it.
I’ll wrap this up with a quote from Anajachistoffersen who replied to one of my poles on Instagram @dearmondayblog “The only thing that’s defined about your future is you. Invest in yourself.”
You got this,