Shy and Unhappy Teenager

teenagerI remember being very excited about becoming a teenager but for the life of me, I didn’t know why.

My first memory of my teenage years was standing on the front steps of the Junior High waiting for the doors to open. It was the first day of 7th grade. I had grown four inches over the summer. I towered over most of my classmates that I remembered from 6th grade.

As I stood waiting, I realized that something wasn’t right. Something felt strange and I realized that I was getting my period for the first time. It was a humid day and my hair had turned kinky and weird. A few new pimples had appeared on my face that morning. To put it simply, I was a sight to be seen.

Shy doesn’t begin to describe my personality. 7th grade was a blending of the four grade schools from around the city. As the doors opened, I dashed to the restroom to take care of my little “problem”. Fortunately, I caught it in time. I tried to fix my hair, realized it was hopeless and headed for homeroom.

My thoughts were spinning and all I could think about was how much I missed 6th grade at Washington School. My homeroom was full of kids I had never seen before. I forced myself to put a smile on my face and to pretend that I was comfortable.

This was the summer that I began helping Mom take care of my oldest sister, Kathy. She suffered from MS and Mom needed an assistant. This responsibility kept me from most of the Jr. High activities. I thought of myself as a serious wallflower. My thoughts were often way more serious than the other girls. I was feeling sad and serious and like a fish out water.

My middle sister, Sandy was at the High School and seemed to do well. She had a steady boyfriend and appeared to have things all figured out. I wished she were contagious because I wanted to be like her in every way.

My teenage years were a bit of a blur. My days revolved around classes, homework, working at the YMCA as a swimming instructor and life guard, and working with my mom to take care of Kathy.

Sandy married Art when I was fourteen. I was in her wedding and thought Sandy was the most beautiful bride I had ever seen.

I had a boyfriend throughout this time. He was a product of the 60’s. He wore his hair too long, wore his loafers with no socks and played a 12-string guitar. I was his advocate whenever the school would throw him out of dances because of improper dress. He was a kind and gentle person and we were good friends until he went off to college when I was a Junior in High School.

Times were different. Girls couldn’t wear slacks to school. Skirts had to be a modest length or you could stand the risk of being sent home to change into something more proper. Dress codes were heavily enforced and tolerance was not common.

My Mom and Dad had a very good marriage. My sister, Sandy and Art were happy and starting a family. I decided that getting married was the way to go. I married three months after High School graduation. Kathy had passed away in the May of my senior year.  We hadn’t looked at colleges or talked about what would happen after I graduated.

teenagerIt seemed like marriage was working for the rest of my family so I thought I should say yes to Clayton and give it a try. An early marriage took place for all the wrong reasons.  It was destined to fail and fail it did.

My teenage years ended in turmoil. My parents were grieving. Sandy and I were best friends but her life was full and busy. I was trying to please everyone but myself. I had a lot of growing up to do. I had a way of convincing everyone that I knew what I was doing and acted like I was making the best choices. Inside I was scared, confused and unhappy. I knew I wanted to go to college and had no idea how that was going to happen.  

I had always thought that the teenage years were the best years of our lives. I clearly had a very different experience.

Who is Judy

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