Ninth grade starts with basketball

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Not my team … but we did tons of running.

I wanted to go the local Catholic high school. But the one in town closed many many years ago. So it meant having to attend the school forty minutes away, across state lines.

Like I said, I wanted to go. But it was sad to say goodbye to the friends I had met in public school. And going to a school that far away offered new challenges for getting involved and socializing.

During one of the diocesan-wide basketball tournaments that I played in middle school, the girls basketball coach had come to see me play. He was very excited to have me play when I reached high school.

During the summer before ninth grade, I learned that anyone interested in girls basketball could join up for voluntary team conditioning. So Mom drove me over and dropped me off for morning sessions.

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Why are school dances so awkward?

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Movie: Napoleon Dynamite

Seriously? Why are school dances so incredibly awkward?

If it’s not completely segregated with boys on one side of the gym/cafeteria and girls on the other for a full hour, then it’s a matter of dancing with someone with two feet of space between you.

Or maybe the space thing had to do with the Catholic school dance experience. You have to “leave room for the Holy Spirit,” after all.

I was not comfortable with my body, comfortable in trying new moves. I was the self-conscious kid who very much didn’t want to look stupid.

And yet, I did show up. That’s something. I didn’t just avoid these experiences altogether. (Good job, young Lindsay, for pushing yourself and testing out different environments!)

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The rowdy school bus

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Our bus never did any two-wheeled turns, but it was crowded.

Last year I read “Sensational Kids” where, among other things, it gives a day in the life of five students, one typical child and four who exhibit different characteristics of sensory processing disorder. The idea is to illustrate how each child encounters similar environments.

One girl had sensory modulation problems, like me, and she was hypersensitive to sounds and light, touch etc.

She was overwhelmed on the bus because of all the loud noise from the other children talking, she didn’t like being crowded on there with extra touching. Basically riding the bus further stressed her out before school even began.

It’s an interesting comparison.
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So much music

 

636243282134517774-314545726_music9Seventh grade was the year of music. I feel like I finally started paying more attention to the radio and what was playing. I’d been around music before, certainly. But the radio was just a tool for offering songs. Songs were enjoyable but not identity-defining. No compulsion to memorize lyrics. I could just passively enjoy it.

My earliest memories of music involve listening to the record player. My parents had plenty of albums by The Beatles. We’d play those or other records (I believe there was a Sesame Street one in our possession, too) and I’d dance with Dad. I think the first attempts at dancing meant my feet placed on top of his. But music was fun; there were no expectations.

Before public school or being this particular age, I listened to music more out of enjoyment. There was no need to know the names of bands and song titles or lyrics. I liked the song and that was enough. But now? Now there seemed to be more emphasis on joining in with the shared knowledge. If you can’t reference a song or band, you can’t join in the conversations. You can’t discuss things. You need to know what people are referencing.

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Becoming a Lady Ram

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First, I need to offer a glimpse of playing basketball during sixth grade. It was pretty routine with practices and games. I do remember jumping the bleachers. Seriously we jumped from the floor up to the next bleacher, and then continued jumping up.

It looked something like this video, except we were jumping on bleachers and not the stairs. It required a higher vertical jump. And the part I remember most is how scary it was; I was afraid of completely missing the next bleacher. I never did miss, but that scared feeling never went away.

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The overflowing book bag

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Heavy school bags (blog post)

Why does each teacher insist on their own 3-ring binder for class? I know it’s to keep things organized and separate. But that’s what dividers are for! I understand not using a 5-subject notebook for multiple classes because the established 70 or 100 pages for the section likely won’t be enough and you run the risk of merging notes. Well, if you were like me and diligently wrote down everything that was discussed in class and had no real way of distinguishing super important information from a useless detail, then the single-subject of space wouldn’t be enough. (Although I did realize later on that I learn best by writing things down, so I guess I can’t fault myself too much on this. I just needed help with knowing what should be worth recording.) If you were more selective about what you wrote down, then maybe the 5-subject notebook would work for you.

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The new girl at school

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Public school. August 1996 meant the beginning of public school.

Farewell to school uniforms, now nearly anything was allowed. I went from a small school of about 300 for K-8 to more than 800 for 6-8. That’s a big difference! It meant taking the bus to school, being around a wide range of students, new hallways to navigate. A school full of students I didn’t know. The first time I needed to wear an ID badge.

And yet, there was hope.

One of my aunts learned of my school change and knew of a girl who would be in my grade. She had Sarah keep an eye out for me.

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6th grade: The year from hell

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MamaMia (teaching daughter not to be a bully)

Note: Not all of what I’m going to share is specifically sensory related. However it all interconnects in showing how being self-conscious about areas where I struggled and felt different impacted my self-confidence. While this is humiliating to recount, it’s necessary in order to show the full picture. So it needs to be shared.

Also, I’m not calling anyone out by name. That’s not the point of writing about it. So anyone reading who happened to go to school with me at this time, don’t try to figure out who I’m referencing. Many people do stupid stuff when they’re this age. Kids are mean. It’s unfortunately universal. … Moving on.

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The body image factor for self-esteem

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My parents were concerned about how my height would impact things as I repeated 4K. It did. I was self-conscious about it. But being tall is one of those characteristics you really can’t change.

I attempted to fit in better by slouching and not standing up as tall as I could. I even remember several occasions in elementary school of kneeling to talk to someone much shorter than me just so we were more eye level. Which seems generous, except it sometimes happened while trying to walk. (Oh, that makes me cringe!) It took a very long time to be proud of my height.

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Spinning Rolodex: The chaos of communication

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Yes, I know what a Rolodex is. I never had to use one, but I have seen them around. For those of you who have grown up with cellphones and computerized address books, I’ll let you in on a fun device. It was a place to alphabetize contacts in what was expected to be within easy reach. You just flip to the appropriate letter and then through the cards available until you get the right one. These were mostly used in offices, so that you could cradle the phone against your shoulder and continue to talk while you searched for a phone number.

Alright, now that we’re clear, I’m moving on.

So, I’m great at listening. I will do my darndest to follow your train of thought until the very end. That’s not to say that’s it’s easy. Sometimes it requires extreme amounts of focus to keep up as people mumble through their sharing or speed through one thought after another like a verbal Nascar race.

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