That song still gives me the chills... (Blegh)
Although I haven't been to school in ages, those late August back-to-school commercials work like a time machine bringing me back to the anxiety and anticipation of a new school year.
There is one back-to-school commercial this year, of girl practicing her laugh in the bathroom mirror. This commercial reminds me so much of how I used to be (particularly the night before picture day). It reminds me of how un-cool I was and, despite my insecurities at the time, it shows me just how normal I actually was.
Junior high school was fearful, dreadful, nerve wrecking, yet exciting. High school was necessary, high school was therapy. I needed to be there to get away from everyone I lived with. I was one of those weirdoes who loved being in the school building in the off hours. There was something haunting, yet comforting about those empty halls decorated with season appropriate attire. I kind of miss it. Sometimes I wish life was as simple now as it was back then.
Going back to school in September was a clean slate. A time to start fresh and exceed the academic accomplishments of the previous year. For me, school was never entirely about the schoolwork. It was a platform for me to get my socializing on. But I always came in on day one with a backpack filled with brand new number 2 pencils, a three- ring binder filled with 3-hole-punched loose leaf paper, a spiral notebook and a composition book. I came in to school with my head in the right place, ready to work, ready for the good grades, the praise and the compliments of how much of a great student I was; but the popularity contest always was more entertaining than that learning. When you're smart, though you can easily multitask by balancing the schoolwork and the petty drama that was sure to corrupt the real reason you were in school in the first place.
Friends and boys were a very welcomed distraction.
The start of a new school year left me longing for difference from the previous year. I longed to be better, dress better, look better, and as the days drew closer to that dreaded first day of school, I asked myself all of the wrong questions. What would the girls be wearing? Would I look better to everyone this year than I did last year? Will there be any new cute boys in my classes? Will the boy I liked last year, who did not like me last year, like me this year? If so, how can I isolate him in a stairwell so that he has no choice but to put his tongue in my mouth?
The right clothing was very necessary, it was how you were segregated into popular / dweeb category. If you didn't have the clothes, but had a big personality, confidence or a cute older brother, you were in good shape. I had none of the above. I had a nice shape; boobs and a good booty, but I was a young girl in the mind. I was sweet and naive (thank God) unlike the youth of today. Otherwise who knows what or who I might have become.
There was no money for the clothing that would have catapulted me into popular territory, so I had to be crafty with what I had. I often walked past Revolution, the most fashionable store (to me) in my hood, promising that when I got a job I would buy myself anything and everything that I wanted from this place! But what you plan for yourself when you are young is so small. You don’t realize that when you do get a job, you will want so much more than Revolution.
One year, one of my mom's friends took me to Alexander's and bought me a back-to-school outfit. I got a pink button-down shirt, a pair of Lee jeans and a pair of knock-off Keds from Ray's. Although I was ecstatic about having something new, I still had a little twinge because my outfit wasn't "Revolution worthy". My outfit was practical and sensible instead of being cheap and trendy. The outfit from Alexander’s was of much better quality than anything I would have gotten from Revolution... Kids and their priorities.
As an adult, September doesn't really change much. September signifies the end; of summer, of warmth, of the light airy breezy laziness the previous months held. I love all seasons, but summer is by far my favorite; and I know I'm getting old, because this summer went by extremely fast. I just can’t believe how fast time is really flying.
I'm not mad at September, though because of what it brings. September brings breathtaking beauty, airy coolness, cozy crispness, neutral tones, jackets and boots; reds, browns and fiery oranges. Leaves falling to the ground, light as feathers leaving fluffy trees skinny and bare.
September brings autumn and autumn brings times of love and togetherness. Autumn gives us a chance to create new moments and memories with the people we love and I'm looking forward to warming hearts and filling bellies, but in the meantime, I'm going to savor each and every second of these last few summer days.
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