Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Welcome To Middle Earth

And so the lessons of high school began.

As much I was apprehensive, I was also extremely excited about entering a whole new world where I would be treated like a grown-up & trusted with responsibility and it would be FUN! How naive!

I remember feeling a sense of achievement at the end of primary school about no longer being the baby. Seven years of achievement - out the window, in my first day at high school. (It took me until after finishing school to realise that this is the natural flow of life - you start everything as the baby, newbie or rookie.)

We were all wide-eyed, innocent and ready to tackle this new world. That is, until such time that an older student decided to remind you that you are a nothing more than a little hobit existing amongst the Orks of Middle Earth.

There were many lessons to be learnt in this wonderous new world - girls and relationships, boys and relationships, girls and boys and their relationships...yeah I think that was the most of it!

From a young age, I developed a keen interest in "people watching". I would sit in the city and watch people for hours. How they walked, talked, facial expressions, hand gestures, interact with others. It was fascinating to gain an understanding of how a person's feelings and thoughts about someone manifest into a physical language that rarely lies.

I remember watching Alan Pease (Body Language expert) on TV many years ago and he explained the body language of sex and used teenage girls in his example. He stated that teenage girls who were sexually active or thinking about sex, talk to boys, they will generally stand with their pelvis forward in the direction of the boy they have interest in. Scary stuff - next time you see a group of teenagers, check this one out (possibly not a good idea to choose 'your' teenagers group of friends - I think there are some things better left alone). I found this topic interesting and very useful when it came to kids talking about their conquests and seeing whether the mouth and the body were saying the same thing!

Pity, however, that I wasn't so successful at this skill when it came to my own relationships. I was a bit of a 'late bloomer', which is not a bad thing except for the fact I think I hit a period of desperation, which all of us 'grown-ups' know can only mean trouble.

Always a good girl and respectful of my parents and their wishes for me to have a bright future, I watched my friends move in and out of relationships with boys. Bragging about what they got up to when their parents weren't around and how rosey life was with "Him" in their life, I started thinking I was being left behind. School dances and parties were great fun because I had a lot of male friends but never a 'boyfriend', but I stupidly thought I was missing out and went on a quest of my own to find myself one. It's amazing how intuitive even young boys are when it comes to sensing desperation. My male friends started to back away (most likely in fear) and it just became more and more difficult to find myself a suitor. Surely desperation generates it's own pheromone that warns the male species that he may be unsuspectingly backed into a corner and attacked by a crazed female. However, there are some specimens of both male and female who seek out this pheromone as they see it as an opportunity to satisfy their own desires. And guess what...?

I was a wounded lamb in a snake pit! My need to conform to the masses lead me head first into a world of trouble and rudderless rebellion.

My self esteem had taken a dive and I was ready to take whatever was offered by this point. A much older boy with a car (well I had to make up some lost ground so it needed to be impressive!) dangled the bait and not only did I take it, but he was lucky to get his fishing rod back! I liked him because he like me and that was enough. I could not stand hearing one more story about how much fun it was to have a boyfriend because I was sure my life would be over (at that age it doesn't take much). I wanted to have my own stories to share and join the competition!

Over the next couple of years, I defied anything that looked like rules, responsibility or caring concern, throwing caution to the wind only to put myself in the path of Category 4 cyclone! Why my parents didn't kick me out of home was beyond me. I was selfish, disrespectful and just downright obnoxious - lucky for me, they cared enough to keep me there, even if it was for their piece of mind. I intentionally broke curfew, even if only by five minutes, just to show my parents they couldn't control me. I climbed out of bedroom windows and disappeared into the early hours of the morning, which took a great deal of skill as my mother was an insomniac and her patterns of sleep were not conducive to sneaking out.

I was not only rebelling against the people who loved and cared about me, but was I doing it for a guy who resembelled the character of Gollum. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with Gollum, he featured in the story of the Lord of the Rings and became the creature you see hear when he possessed the fateful 'Ring' that consumed his very soul.)
Ultimately, I was his 'precious' and this disturbed young man became a vehicle for my hormonal desire to break free of adult reign and stand on my own two feet! What a convoluted understanding of the world!
Fortunately, I actually 'grew up' (after leaving school) and realised the error in my judgement was part of the evolving process and although there better ways of doing this, the path I chose set up some very difficult, but valuable life lessons.
I think the high school years are comparable to that of a zoo after closing time. Although there are many species of animals and many characteristics that separate them, after dark, the mischief they get up to is what draws their similarities together. Even though people behave differently, overall, we're mostly aiming for the same thing - freedom to be ourselves.