hello twelve, hello thirteen, hello love


I was twelve when I drew this in my diary. I kinda hate that the vagina was the nastiest thing I could think to draw to represent a girl I both loved and hated. Though, to be fair, other pages are drawings of fat penises. Because that’s what twelve year old girls do. We keep it simple, then make every simple thing our undoing. Oh, the drama.

We made conference calls but just had one girl listen in, then we provoked the other girl, trying to get her to say something mean about the girl listening in. Then we’d catch her. Double teaming. Moose is written from this place in my life. And I’m so thankful I’ve saved these diaries, reminders for when my own kids are going through puberty.Everything really is a big deal, and homework, phone calls, and friends become your whole life. I think it would have been helpful if my parents forced me out of me. If at that age they had us all volunteer as a family, working together at a homeless shelter, as I did once I was in high school, I think I might have been able to get some perspective. It’s something I’ll keep in mind when my kids slam their doors and refuse to go to school.



  1. God. If someone forced me to go back to twelve, I'd stab myself in the eye with a fork.

    I vividly remember the cafeteria where the eighth grade boys would whisper "You're the ugliest girl in the whole school," to me every day as I walked past. Chills.

    Thankfully, I've (somewhat) gotten over that blow to my twelve year old non-ego. At least most of the time I have.

    Glad you've found your vag pride since then!

  2. Hey, NSFW alert, please! Ahh, phone bullying; granddaddy to online bullying. Remember the days when girls threatened each other to "kick your butt after school"? You don't? Must be a late 60's/early 70's phenom. Nostalgia washes over me. . .

  3. Hey, I like those drawings! They remind me of John Lennon's fine line drawings. So that can't be bad. I didn't save anything from my past. It would sure be freaky to find some of my old art work & notes. I guess the past is really gone (except for what's in my head.)

  4. i was involved in and a victim of those phone calls. it was e-vil. pure and simple. we were so mean to each other. i really hope a daughter of mine does not have to go through something like that.it was just nasty.

  5. Oh My, talk about some hard years.
    I think deep inside it’s those years that have made me glad that I had all boys.
    I just never thought I had it in me to help and support them through those years if they had been girls.
    Because of those years I have zero tolerance for “mean girls syndrome” and less than that when it comes to bulling.
    Right now today is why I’m so compassionate about relationships and how we treat people. Especially those that you think you’ll never see again, (i.e. the waitress, busboy, store clerk, etc.).
    Wow, don’t know if I should laugh or cry.

  6. Oh, I specifically remember calling the mean girls "a tampon" as if that was the most vile name in the world.

    The conference calls you mention reminds me of a scene in the movie 'Mean Girls'…."I had survived my first three-way calling attack"

  7. My daughter is almost ten, and I have to remind myself sometimes of how 'real' all the angst about friends and phone calls and little sisters is. It's not that I don't believe it's all as bad as she says it is (I have diaries, too, though mine aren't illustrated!) but six hours of hell at school needs more than a 'there, there' at bedtime and some evenings I struggle to find the patience.

    This year I am cutting back my hours at work specifically so I can pick my girls (7 and nearly 10) up from school every afternoon and take them home and try to restore their fragile egos.

  8. Rent the movie Superbad. If for nothing else than to watch the drawings shown during the closing credits.

  9. Like Trish, I have a daughter who's almost ten and I worry about what the next few years hold for her. You just never know these days.

    I'm moving to Ohio from Canada next week, transplanting my girl to a new school, new life. I won't be able to work for a while (we're relocating for my husband's work), so I'll be able to have more time to help with the adjustment and all that brings.

    We had her in karate for a time and that helped her feel more confident with the physical threats that may come her way (I hate to think about that). I'm just not so sure about the verbal/emotional missiles that can be hurled.
    Words may not break bones but contrary to that old saying, they can damn well hurt the spirit.

    How do you find the patience not to swoop in to defend your kid without creating an international incident?

  10. I'm only 25 and a teacher of sophomore and senior high school students. I often have girls coming to me to tell me all of their girl, guy, love, school, work troubles because, like you, I remember how REAL those feelings are when you're that age.

    I am young enough to remember how I literally wanted to die when my boyfriend, Chad, chose to tell everyone at a high school football game that this slut Jennifer was "hotter than me." Ugh — my just desserts were that he came crawling to me just a year or so ago. I was unavailable. It felt good. However, my high schoolers don't have this perspective. They will. I spend time trying to reassure them of that.

    Everyone else tells me to tell them that "it's just some boy" or to "love themselves" but those of us who remember that phase of life know that it is never that simple.

    Great post. Thanks for reminding me of how they feel.

  11. 12 was a weird age. My best friend was 14 back then and her boyfriend was 15 and that was a big deal. So I never had to deal with that. I never drew Vaginas in my notebook either.

  12. hahah. fat penises eh? Did you ever draw dirty pictures of people having sex?
    Remember Swatch phones where two people could talk on the same phone at the same time. I dont think we ever did the conference bit.
    this was funny.

  13. I distinctly remember being in 5th or 4th grade and my best friend Natalie telling me that the guy we both had a huge crush on liked her better and didn't like me because I liked New Kids on the Block and she didn't. I actually believed her!

    And I clearly remember those swatch phones. My father would periodically take my phone away and I had one of those stashed under my bed that he didn't know about and would talk to boys at night while my parents were sleeping. MIne was pink with green polka dots. Ahhh, the 80s!!

    FROM STEPHANIE: Phil managed New Kids On The Block!
    The phone I used I won from a Sea Breeze call in. You dialed a number on the package and could win a free phone. I won two. Yes, he really did manage Jordan Knight.

  14. At one point, when I was 12, my solitary life-goal, was to meet Jordan Knight. Not to go to an Ivy League School. Become an arbitrator. Or have any kind of romantic success. All I wanted to do, was become a groupie.

    I made this decision, while sitting in my bedroom, in the dark, listening to "I'll be Loving you Forever."

  15. I HAD that journal…the one with the colorful pages and repeating heart pattern. Wow. You totally brought me back.

    Oh, and Buffy…. Amen, Sister!

  16. I honestly have no memory of girls being so mean to one another at that age. Maybe it comes from growing up in small town America. We had our little spats and flirtations, but it was all pretty innocent. And there was definitely no "double-teaming." If I caught a daughter of mine doing that, she'd be in a heap of trouble.

    I'm not sure why blatant cruelty seems to be so prevalent among youth these days. It's really sad. I do agree that volunteerism provides good balance and helps kids see what life's like for others who don't have it so rosy.

  17. I can't believe Phil managed Jordon Knight! I had pictures of him and Jon (my other fav) all over my room when i was 12. What were they like??

    Thanks for posting :)

  18. Back to Jordan Knight–I met him last year at work and immediately turned back into the giggling girl who had NKOTB-themed birthday parties and practiced kissing on her New Kids pillow. He's super sweet-and still really cute- and Phil is super cool!

  19. I remember when I was in the 4th grade and my two best friends, Gwen and Kim, called me on three-way. I put them on hold for something and when I came back, I heard Gwen say "When she comes back on the phone we will yell WE HATE YOU ERIKA!" I was so shocked that I immediately hung up the phone. I have always regretted hanging up. I should have said I HATE YOU TOO BITCH!

  20. It makes me feel better that I wasn't the only one who did the triple line calls. When I think about it now, I feel so bad. Junior high was so fickle. One day you were the most popular of your friends, the next week they all hated you. It was a vicious cycle. Still, I have some great memories. The friends I made then are still close.

    For the record, my phone was my favorite possession back then. It had huge buttons and I thought it was the coolest. I swear I was on the phone so long that at time the ear piece was on fire.

    Did you do slam books? Those were mean. I remember seeing one for the first time and knowing I shouldn't touch it. Of course I did. Funny thing is, I never believed any of the bad things. I'm not sure what made people write such crazy and mean lies.

  21. Laughing so hard at the 'not safe for work' comments.
    Oh shudder- you reminded me how my little clique would conference call people and think we were so clever. It was great until once it backfired and a boy was harsh in his testimony about one of our friends… he didn't like here after all. Lesson learned.

  22. Seriously he managed NKOTB!? WOw. I think I still have their cassettes. I remember getting one for Christmas one year and reading the lyrics and singing all day to it. Ahhh. memories.
    Oh and another NKOTB memory- 4th? grade skating party and I was supposed to couple skate with the popular boy… in the Jordan shirt with a turtleneck layered underneath. He ended up skating with another girl and I cried.
    Oh the things we remember. Glad I had a boy too, but not sure it'll be any easier. Have to protect him from all those crazies (like I was).

  23. You must have been one scary LI jap from hell. I knew your type very well growing up.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Yikes! Where'd that come from?

  24. i read about phil managing nkotb and my jaw dropped and i had to gasp for breath… i think i went back twenty years (OH MY GOD. TWENTY YEARS?!) for a moment. that's definitely the coolest thing i've heard all day.

    when i was in sixth grade, my two best friends made a book about me… i guess it was a slam book but we didn't know what they were then… and tried to get all the boys in our very small class to write mean things about me in it. the only boy who did it wrote that i looked funny when i stuck my tongue out when i concentrated. i remember being a little hurt at the time but even then, i think i knew it was just something girls did.

    one of the girls has remained my best friend but we both lost touch with the other one… we haven't written mean books about each other lately.

  25. Sorry she says shuddering, just had a bad flashback to when I was the unfortunate receipient of a "conference call" being myself a former JAP from LI I know about all the tactics and was on both ends of it. Not a fun place to have been hence, I never go back to LI.

  26. For me it continued freshman year of college when my lovely suitemates told me we were having a meeting of our suite and to put notes in a box of things to be discusssed. They all decided to put notes in with nasty things about me. Including an accusation that I ate all of their food. I was near anorexic, I ate nothing, knew who the perpetrator was but wasn't going to say that at the meeting. The blessing of it all is that now, in my early 40s, I have such wonderful close friends and I am sure that experience and horrendous junior high experiences make me all the more appreciatve and grateful.

  27. I remember this horrible girl I'll call Dana. Dana ruined my sophomore year in high school. She started a completely random, made-up rumor that I was going to tell on the Seniors that smoked pot at the back of the bus. I was a huge nerd (at least in my eyes)…I didn't even know what pot was. Dana was cruel and from what I've last heard, she's still that way…still living in my old hometown, living vicariously through the memories of the "power" she had in high school.

    To borrow a "flowery" word from the comments on your most recent post: She was an ass-hat. A huge ass-hat.

  28. This just reminded me of an article I read. This is like the modern day "conference call" gone horribly, horribly wrong…


    This just makes me so afraid of what my daughter will have to face when she gets older. I hope that I find a way to give her the self esteem she needs to not only ignore the type of girl that would make the call, but also to keep her from being the type of girl that would make the call… sigh

  29. Great post, Stephanie. I have nearly identical pictures in my 40 yr old diary!

    What disturbs me most about the mean-girl thing is the thrall in which they hold their victims. When she was 12, my daughter abandoned a lovely group of girls to pursue a place with the cool group. She was heartily rejected for being too keen.

    No amount of adult reasoning could disabuse her of the idea that her new friends were anything but wonderful. What a mess.

    She's an adult now and is well-adjusted and confident. (And, I really do have to add this – while she's at med school, the cool girls reached their peak of influence in the eighth grade.)

    How fetch!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.