Good Girl Lost
Remember those early teen years where the whole world lay before you full of hope and opportunity? Here's what I remember about that time....oh and that's me in the middle in about 1976 in Manhattan. That might be the Manhattan Library. I have no idea what the sign was for.
Anyway, as a young teenager, I really was such a good kid in my heart like most of us are. Yet this good girl was starving for....well, anything, everything and more.
Sound familiar at all? Looking back now, I had plenty of friends and plenty of good times yet, always totally aware of my perception of never truly fitting in. Always taking scary chances living out risky behaviors in hopes that something would fill the unidentifiable hollowness. Like so many kids, painfully, I always wondered if what I was saying, looked like, or doing was acceptable. Acceptance; the word that covers it all...and in the end that chronic need changed everything God designed. For a time but, not forever.
I clearly remember back in the early 70’s in Jr High I would be taken out of some classes and moved to a “special” class. Back in those days, Special Ed was just starting to take shape. Mortifying was an understatement. How didn’t anyone notice a kid who was actually quite smart, but needed to be taught in a different way? Had I been taught correctly from the beginning, well why even go there, that’s not how the story went. It has taken me 56 years to understand that I was not dumb at all but teachers were taught one way and their way didn’t work for me.
Terrible grades, tanked self esteem, a little chunky, deeply ashamed, awkward and unaware where I was headed. I started to hang out with some kids that on the outside looked like me. Good kids. But, behind the scenes in 7th through 9th grade we were headed South, on our 10 speed Schwinn's to the park to drink, the elementary school miles away and “the log at the pond to get high; and cops were on to us. This is also when I discovered speed better known as “uppers” in those days. My first diet and appetite aide. My mom found out and sent me to a therapy group for troubled kids. Thats where I really learned about drugs....
As I got older, the friends I had, were the nice Jewish kids my parents were happy with. However, they were doing the same things as I was. It was the days of Peter Frampton, Cat Stevens, Elton John and Huk-a-poo shirts. We would hang out at Debbie's house in the best part of town. Debbie’s dad smoked weed so she would dig in his drawers and steal some for us. What was he going to say? If she got caught, he got caught right?
In 11th grade I met John. Let’s just say, my parents were thrilled despite him not being Jewish. John became the love of my life. We actually met in Mr Bogatz Sex Ed class. Yea, we earned the highest score in the class on a random quiz where Mr Bogatz paired us up. Call it Kismet. John’s the guy I left all of my friends for. Yes, I was that girl.
At 18 I joined Overeaters Anonymous with a friend John introduced me to at our job at Jones Beach. I began to lose weight. I wasn’t even fat. John and I eventually got engaged....and two weeks after the engagement party, after losing weight and being thin for the first time in my life, I freaked out and broke up with him. I was eventually 105 pounds and the goal was to get to 95.
I remember seeing my imaginary big hips in the mirror and was horrified at how out of proportion I was. Yea, clearly, not a good sign. I think there’s a name for all of this.... yes that was sarcastic, I know there is. Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Anorexia (Anorexia lasted for 5 minutes, seriously people!) Anyway, everyone was telling me I was getting too thin and I just wanted more of that. THIS must be what happiness and success feel like! This was fitting in! No worries, it didn’t last.
But, at that time I thought I finally hit my stride. Now I could finally feel good about myself. Because thin equals okay right? But, with my 105 pound frame and imaginary big hips along with my deep set eyes and frizzy hair I felt like the whole world was staring, talking about me and I just felt I still didn’t measure up. I hated being cute and just wanted to be exotic looking and beautiful. Anyone else and feel like that? I would love to hear from you. Don't make me do this alone please!
Stay tuned, part 3 coming soon!
Stick around, this ain't over yet.