Ariane de Gennaro
I feel like I’m walking on air. You know how I was worried that… he didn’t want to go to the dance with me? Well, today in the panini line Joseph SB was like “Hey Alexander and Miranda you two are going to the dance together, right?” And I looked at him and he was like “Yeah” so I was like “Yeah” too, Yay!
In sixth grade, I wore a palate expander clogged with the fruits of said panini line incident. The Downtown Independent Schools Consortium dance loomed; I spent my allowance on a lace cut-out A-Line dress from Lester’s and wrote that I felt “smokin’” in it. I holstered a hot pink iPhone 5C in ill-fitting Forever 21 leggings. My boyfriend (generous use of the term) and I spoke mainly on Minecraft Survival Games servers.
I had three hamsters in rapid succession. My first one died of an oft-ignored rodent disease called “there was a cancerous tumor in his left asscheek,” and my parents secretly paid $300 to have him euthanized (RIP Hamilton.)
I have a burn on both of my lips from my straightening iron. I hit myself while it was on, and it HURT. However, I proceeded to tell everyone who asked it was a hickey. Less embarrassing…
I straightened my hair every day. It smelled like smoke and apple-scented chemicals. I stayed up until midnight in a four-post twin bed bedecked with strands of finger-woven string to listen to Taylor Swift’s “1989.” I made my poor music teacher teach me every song on the album, unwilling to admit that saccharine dance pop didn’t translate seamlessly to my level of acoustic guitar skill. Also, I wrote my own songs, because of course I wrote my own songs.
I played an Oompa Loompa in a middle-school rendition of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and when the aforementioned Alexander came to watch with his mother, I was so embarrassed to be seen by them that I mistakenly threw a fun-sized piece of chocolate directly at her face. In my defense, my costume was a hazmat suit and a shower cap that did not make me feel fun-sized.
I’m going to read this in twenty years and have no idea what I’m talking about. HI 31 YEAR OLD ME! Are you married to a male supermodel yet? How about that whole president of the world thing? Ok but I hope you went to a good college, have a good job, and have a nice husband.
I bought my first bra and tried estimating the calories in sliced turkey. I watched “Glee” under the covers on an iPod Touch. I downloaded apps that gave me special fonts for my Instagram captions. I made my mom read poems I’d written with names like “Happiness” and “Contemplations about the Sea,” which I cannot bring myself to record publicly here. I insisted on learning the Christmas dance from “Mean Girls.” My first kiss was behind a volleyball court with a 4’11” boy from Jersey. I owned, and wore, a graphic muscle tee that featured a cat wearing the Unabomber’s mugshot outfit (???)
I got my first period in the bathroom of the girls’ locker room and cried when my mother told my father about it. I kept a signed photograph of Daniel Radcliffe in my desk drawer and yelled at everyone who told me he was 5’5”. I tried to convince myself that I liked playing “Halo” and talked loudly in front of Cute Boys’ lockers about how much I loved playing “Halo.” I pondered the middling ranking I received on a “hot or not” list those same Cute Boys made and despised the girls who beat me. I secretly printed out a copy of the A.A. Milne poem my mother used to read to me when I couldn’t fall asleep and took it to summer camp.
The pain and the sweetness of tweendom is in its sincerity. The onset of the self-awareness and critical thinking skills that accompany (for some of us; I am still waiting) later teenagedom is slow, and the passing years are hilarious and sad. I want to drop-kick 12-year-old me, and I want to give her the biggest hug I’ve ever given. I also want to give her a tutorial on how to insert a tampon. Without her I would have no sense of humor, and during her heyday she was the kind of salami-breathed, over-eyelined, off-putting little weirdo that I would hate to babysit now.
Rest In Peace, middle school Miranda. I hope that wherever you are is full of BuzzFeed videos and tankinis, and that you’re hanging out with Ass Cancer Hamilton.
Love you; please God never come back.