I had never been in the principal's office at night. It was surreal and a bit creepy. Even when we had evening basketball games and different functions at the school at night, there was never this darkness that hovered like it did that night. The strange fact that we were at school during the hours of darkness was coupled by the feeling of being called into the principal's office with my parents. A certain doom was looming and I could feel it.
No one was cheery. We all entered and sat in a circle. I was questioned about my past experiences at other schools since my history of schools attended was now vast. I was questioned about how I viewed authority. About my salvation, oh, about most everything the board of trustees could think to ask a 13-year-old girl who was a newcomer and obviously meddling with the peace that must have been so prevalent before she arrived.
My mom stood up for me.
It was something that I will never forget. Though her bold in-your-face type personality was embarrassing when she'd tell someone off, it was comforting to know that I had someone in my corner. She hadn't flown off the handle right away, but had listened to my complaining for months, weighed the veracity of my side of the story, then just had had enough of the questioning about this "troubled teen" being so one-sided.
I learned a lot from my mom. Her statement of, "If I don't stand up for my kids, who will?", resonates with me still today. And I am proud to have a crazy, boisterous, passionate woman who lead me to believe I could overcome obstacles and criticism regardless of the source. No matter how little I appreciated it then.
Well, the school year ended much better than it began. I had new friends and had finally found a place in my school life, and the administration had to put a little more credence in my story when others were coming forward with similar complaints.
Mom felt that I was in no way vindicated, though. She and Dad had decided to pull us out of a place that wouldn't try to help us as students, and off to another school we went. It was 45 minutes away and Dad had a job not far from the school, so it worked out well.
It was my first year of high school. Wow. That was no fun. A new school, new friends, and Algebra? Ick. But we made it work. More so the friends and school part than Algebra itself. ;) I started to feel more and more comfortable and joined a singing group, and even had my first boyfriend. I was a mess. He helped me feel accepted, and just good about myself... and it had been a while. I'll never forget the sweet puppy love feelings that made the 9th grade more bearable.
But in March, we got a notice. Dad had lost his job and was behind one full month on payments, and we were asked to leave. Though we weren't technically boyfriend and girlfriend at that moment - with all the drama that surrounds teenage relationships - it was a separation hard for me at the time. But we moved on.
Into the local public school again - this time high school. My grades were good and my teachers liked me, but my locker was in the drug corner. Most sales and/or consumption of drugs happened right there in that corner, and me with my naivety, funny clothes, extremely long hair and backwardness didn't quite fit into the mix. I would pack my backpack with all six books that I'd need for the day and hope to not have to return to the lockers until the afternoon. It didn't always happen. I'd inevitably forget something! I remember sneaking through the halls after the bell had rung and jetting off to chorus class late since no one would be by the lockers at that time. My teacher would excuse me, since I never caused any trouble.
And so I finished up the last 3 tumultuous months of my first year of high school. I had loathed it, but big brother had it easier and had made more and more friends, played sports, and loved his classes. I begged mom and dad to let me go back to the old private school since said teacher had been dismissed and even new administration had taken over, while brother begged them to let him stay where he was for once.
We both got our way. Our troubles were seemingly over. It was the year of 1990 - a new decade - what could go wrong?