Over the weekend, I engaged in a bit of hodgepodge life including doing some reading, getting a pedicure and flipping between episodes of “Beyond Scared Straight” and “Hoarding: Buried Alive.” Well, after a few hours in, I became a bit spooked to the point that I started tooling around my home office and looking at things to purge.
My eyes settled on the wooden tower of audio tape glory. The majority of the collection is from my days in high school as a satisfied BMG Music Club member getting box loads of discounted albums. The short goal of this spur of the moment project was to sort the tapes into music I’ve already acquired in digital form (thus I don’t need to old tape) and music I still need to get. Yet a few handfuls in and I was sitting on the floor surrounded by piles representing the soundtrack to the joyous and at times embarrassing years that were high school.
Flashback to ninth grade. The big events I remember are “The Simpsons” cartoon, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Phantom of the Opera” starting (loved Oprah and The Simpsons, hated Phantom). I evolved into an artsy-type, immersed in writing, dancing and theater, that dressed in all-black and jean jackets covered in metal pin back “statement” buttons. I then tucked the jackets under an oversized black wool coat swiped from my father.
I spent hours copying song lyrics into my journals and–thinking I was the deepest 15 year-old to ever exist–memorizing the most twisted Sylvia Plath stanzas to quote back to English teachers when I became bored. It was then I started to embrace my love of jewelry and the adornments ranged from costume pieces to paperclip bracelets to bandana wrist bands.
My hair was a mass of Michael Jackson inspired jheri curls that I yearned to straighten, and, like Prince, I could do some wicked things with black eyeliner and leggings. I channeled “The Breakfast Club’s” Allison Reynolds with wannabe John Bender tendencies stopped only by my teachers’ kid “better be good” fears. Mid-80s emo if you will. My Walkman was a constant companion, my body hunkered in a permanent sulk mode and this was one of the songs I had on repeat.
So do tell:
Who was your ninth grade self? Come on, share away…we won’t laugh (too much).
What would serve as your freshman year theme song?
When did your wallow in the muck of teen angst start?