Tonight, while unpacking and sorting some of the storage boxes from the move, I came across my school yearbooks – from junior high and high school, and started reading all the notes left by classmates.
I know I’ve said here before that I’ve been dieting, more often than not, since I was in kindergarten, but it really didn’t strike me how much of an impression it made – especially to not-so-close friends and aquaintances.
Reading the notes, several recurring themes emerged – good grades, despite sleeping and/or being inattentive in class (I’d forgotten how bored I was in school), boys (which boys I liked, and which liked me), comments on how I was nice to everybody (sometimes with almost derogatory tone – as if I wasn’t picky enough – pretty typical puberty pecking order stuff to me). There were also comments about my extra, or always changing weight (mostly joking or not meant meanly), and comments about my dieting.
It did strike me that I had more friends than I remembered (I was second-tier popular – no a chance of becoming class president or prom queen, and not always invited to the “best” parties, but far from being a social outcast). Some of the comments from boys were kind of flirty, and I don’t remember if I ever realized that at the time. I did have two serious boyfriends in high school, and went to every school dance, so it wasn’t as if I thought I was doomed to be dateless in high school – but with some of the comments in the yearbook, I wonder if I was oblivious to some male attention (a couple were from boys I remember having crushes on – so I’d think I would have picked up on flirting FROM them, but maybe I brushed it off as a joke, or didn’t pick up on it, out of self-defense).
Aside from the positive male attention that I appeared to be oblivious to at the time, I was most surprised by the number of notes referencing dieting, especially those that occurred in JUNIOR HIGH 6th through 8th grade.
The title of this thread is from a classmate in my 6th grade yearbook. There were several similar notes from boys and girls in every yearbook from 6th grade through highschool, either commenting on my dieting or wishing me luck with my dieting.
You know, I always have known that I have been diet-obsessed most of my life – but I guess I never realized how apparent it was to the people around me (not just close friends, but casual friends and acquaintances too).
I was most surprised at how supportive some of the notes were. Like many teens, I often felt alienated and sometimes even harassed – and it’s true that the bullying and harassing events rarely makes it into to yearbook reminiscences (I never offered my yearbook to my enemies and frienemies to sign).
At any rate, it rereading the notes, gave me a new perspective on my life, and the person I was at that time, and how it influenced the person I am now. It’s a bit like self-anthropology/archaeology.