The last few weeks of 8th grade were significant for me. We moved on my 14th birthday, leaving a very small town in Montana and heading for our new life in New Mexico. I had been a bit of an outsider in our tiny Montanan town, just a little bit different than most everyone else. I felt isolated and alone, like the weirdo. So, when we headed to NM I was bound and determined to start over, to fit in.
Me at age 14
On our way down south we stayed at my grandmother's house in Wyoming for a few days. While there I made a few trips to a store called Fashion Bug where I acquired some new clothes that I imagined would help me to fit it. Don't you remember the torturous lengths you went to in order to fit in in junior high? I began to cultivate a daydream version of myself. I imagined I would be popular and that I would have loads of great friends, all I had to do was to act and look completely different than I was. Simple.
When I started school just a few weeks before the end of the school year (my parent's had hoped I would make some friends to hang out with) I really tried. The first day I ate lunch with the popular group. They were very nice to me, but I immediately felt like my old self, still an outsider. I pretty much instantly let my daydreams float away. I just didn't know how to relate to these people. I didn't know how to act around them. In hindsight I realize they surely felt the same way, that's just the nature of junior high.
I soon found myself hanging out on the periphery with a group of cool misfits. People who wore their parent's old clothes and introduced me to the world of thrifting. They embraced, or at least pretended to embrace, their differences. So I watched and took it all in, studying this new group of people. Soon enough they were inviting me to hang out, outside of school. One such day was the first time I ever laid eyes on the boy, who was to become the man, that I would someday marry.
I first saw him after school. He was a high schooler, a whole year older, who stopped by the junior high to pick up his neighbor and friend. When I saw him it was more than a shock. He was going through a very serious goth phase and I had never seen anyone so strange or so unique. I was certainly intimidated by this person and I didn't speak more than a few sentences to him, but even then I was struck by his kindness.
Eric and I didn't have much contact over the next couple of years. We had the same circle of friends, but somehow we just never really found ourselves in the same place at the same time. For some reason though I was always interested in him. When others talked of him I listened and I made a note of it. I had no way of knowing that I was listening to people talk about the person with whom I would build a life together.
If you want to read a bit more about our story, click here.