03/28/2012 01:01 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

I Was a Seventh Grade Monster


I've been reviewing old journal entries and have re-discovered that I really hated my life when I was in the seventh grade. Apparently everyone did? But I don't think that's necessarily true; I'll bet I hated my life so much more than you did! And a massive factor was that it seemed as though everyone else was having "the best day ever" every single day.

Meanwhile, I needed to convince my parents that I was able to take care of myself and that they were only getting in my way or "ruining my life" as I remember putting it. I tried to get them to see that my room was my only space for self-expression, and that if I chose to live in chaos, they needed to respect my decision. I let them know that if they made me eat pasta and red sauce for dinner one more night in a row, I would stop eating altogether. I wanted to run away but didn't have enough money, so I stayed and told them so, in an attempt to make them feel bad for being poor.

I wanted to drop out of school to pursue an acting career, but they kept dropping me off for algebra and social studies day after day. I wanted them to send me to Texas to live with my grandparents, and when they egged me on, "Fine, be our guest. Go!" I told them they were terrible parents for giving up on me. I made it clear to them what a mistake they made by agreeing to raise me and what pathetic failures I thought they were for still trying to do so. Once, I threw a pair of scissors into our hardwood floor in an attempt to emphasize my point (with flawless aim and force, mind you: they stuck straight up out of the dining room) then I stormed off and my mom was left to wiggle them out. I hated my parents and found it all very exhilarating.

One night, I calmly sat my parents down to plainly inform them that in order to hold civil conversations, I needed to be given at least an hour and a half of alone time when I came home from school. I simply couldn't handle the pressures and constraints of being a pre-teen. It was all too much. And coming home to my mother's wretched, pesky, nagging voice only heightened the crushing sensation I constantly felt. If she had something she needed me to know right away, she could write it on the dry-erase board I had her buy me at Costco. I secured it to my door with more attention to detail than anything I'd ever worked on. I knew I'd be slamming that door numerous times each week and didn't want to cause any harm to the precious dry-erase board my mom made so sure to notify me was not on sale.

I took a summer-school science class so that I'd be able to take more electives during the school year and had my mother do the majority of the work. She read the chapters to me late at night. She researched the answers for the handouts. She drilled me with flashcards she wrote until I was prepared for each of the tests. And she was the one I informed daily of my utter hatred for science. And her. And her fat thighs she let me inherit.

I was a monster. Now I'm only eight years older and finding it surprisingly painless to laugh off what an absolute menace I once was. It wouldn't be so easy if I hadn't made some amends. My last couple years of living under their roof, I tried to coach my younger siblings to pick up their shit and quit complaining. It's a team sport, being a family. And dumbass parents like mine sure can use all the help they can get. I let my siblings know that nothing they came up with was going to shock our parents. "Sorry, Sister and Brother. That's what the first child is for. Now you just have to try to surpass me professionally or give them cuter grandbabies. You wont. I'll always win. But you should try. So they know you care."

Somehow, through all the torture, and boundary exploration, and insults, and blatant abuse I sent their way, my parents were still able to recognize their own eyes, and nose and sweet little freckles on my face. They made me. Gave me life and all. Getting to love me forever was part of the agreement, I guess. Moms and Dads will "always love you," or at least I'm lucky to know mine will. Also, sometimes they'll, "love you forever, but find it impossible to like you right now." Or they'll "only yell like that because they love you." The fact is: they made you. You're theirs. Give up.

My mom was amazed when I started to want to be around her and my dad couldn't believe it when I would hug him voluntarily. Those idiots -- didn't they go through seventh grade too? Didn't we all? It's seventh grade that will prevent me from getting knocked up and keeping it. These days, my parents are my best friends. I have a couple real best friends, people I met out in the world and tucked into my pocket forever. But when it comes down to it, I know these two are in it for the long haul. If they weren't, they would have given up a long time ago. Big bummer they got two more kids to lead through puberty, huh?