Being a kid and awkwardly transitioning into your teen years is a brutal, embarrassing thing, no matter what generation you’re coming from.
But it’s one of those things you just have to endure and see through to the very end. On top of all the weird things going on with your body, you have to experience all the embarrassing, sometimes-funny, sometimes-not-so-funny, and sometimes even painful moments that come with adolescence, such as discovering the opposite sex (or the same sex; hey, it’s 2018) and trying to forge any sort of connection with them.
Growing up is a bit of a minefield, and there are a myriad of emotions that come with trying to avoid stepping on any explosives.
Hey, we’ve all been there. We’ve had that crush on that certain someone and did stupid, embarrassing things to try and get their attention. We’ve done those dumb and idiotic things that seemed funny at the time, but only produced a lot of yelling from our parents and looks of shame from our teachers.
With me, it was mostly my obsession with the opposite sex and the laundry list of crushes I had growing up that caused me to be awkward and attention-seeking. Some of them were harmless and your typical teen stuff that went away in good time, while others hit more of a nerve and affected my relationship with someone to this very day.
My first brush with those people called “girls”, those odd, long-haired people who don’t get to stand while peeing, started in Grade 2 back in the good old days of Conquest School. That was when Jeridee entered my life.
Jeridee Wiens and her family had moved to the Conquest area and she started going to school with my fellow classmates Jared, Mark and I that fall in 1992, and over the next three years, my attempts at trying to make her my girlfriend ranged from straight-out lying (“I love Ace of Base too! I also saw the sign!”) to literally eating dirt. That’s right, I told her I’d do whatever she asked of me, and the girl told me to eat dirt. I guess somewhere in my mind, I assumed at one point that my mom told my dad to eat dirt, and those two had a long marriage, so this was how getting a girlfriend was done, right?
Not so much.
Jeridee was a good friend, but she and her family moved away in the summer of ’96 just after Conquest School was shut down. Today, she’s a married mom with a few kids and living out in Alberta. Coincidentally, I had a chance to catch up with her a few months ago, although it was under sad circumstances after her youngest brother’s funeral.
The other girl I developed a massive crush on in my later teen years was named Brittany. Unfortunately, things didn’t end quite so innocently with this particular crush.
A bunch of us went out to a party after the first football game of the season in my Grade 11 year, complete with a big case of beer. You can probably tell where this story may be headed, am I right?
Well, Mr. Brown-Necked Bottle and I got a little too acquainted that brisk Friday night, and upon seeing Brittany at the party with her then-boyfriend, I proceeded to basically confess my long-time crush on her to a few classmates around me. It turned out one of those classmates thought Brittany should hear every drunken word I’d said, and as I saw the two of them talking a few feet away from the bonfire, my heart sank. You know those slow-motion scenes in action movies where someone tries to step in front of a bullet? Yeah, I wish I’d thought of that then.
From that point on for the rest of high school, I don’t think Brittany and I exchanged two or three sentences. We went from being pretty good friends who joked around in Home Economics class and bonded over TV and music to two complete strangers. She didn’t know how or apparently didn’t want to address the situation, and I was simply too embarrassed to bring it up. It’s one of my biggest life regrets that I decided to spill my guts at that dumb party that night. To this day, I have no clue what Brittany even thinks of me, and in the end, maybe I don’t even want to know.
Growing up can suck, that’s for sure. But again, it’s a minefield that we all have to walk at that stage of our lives.
Just watch your step.
For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.