The 5th Grader's Existential Crisis: An Unfortunately True Elementa...

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[title cont: ...ry School Tale]

5th Grade...


Not a very important or significant grade to many. It is a time where an 11 year old doesn't have time to only think about their grades. There are other more important things an 11 year old had to look forward too that preoccupied their minds for the majority of this age. Like recess, their friends, what their parents might have packed them for lunch, piano practice after school, their weird "almost puberty" body changes, or even a letter in the mail written in emerald green ink saying that they were to attend Hogwarts The School of Witchcraft and Wizadry that very same day. 


Well, at least that's what my mind was buzzing with, the day I turned 11. May 1st, 2005 to be exact. I woke up in the morning bright and early getting ready for school. It was a surreal morning to begin with, the birds were chirping, the sun was just peaking it's rays through my bedroom window, and the morning summer air was fresh and crisp in my suburban town. I knew it was going to be a special day.


I wore my favorite olive green t-shirt, blue jeans with my worn down black converse and my glasses, of course. I put my long mess of curls into a neat pony tail and smiled at my reflection for the first time since I started elementary school. I wasn't a popular child, hell I wasn't even noticed throughout 2nd through 5th grade because I was quiet and introverted. I would be "the-four-eyed-brace-faced-nerd-with-crazy-hair-in-the-back-of-the-class-that-was-a-stuttering-mute". Not the kindest description, but it was true nonetheless. 


I skipped to school with such vigor and confidence, I reminded myself of Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music singing "I have Confidence". It was silly to think that I, a shy introverted 11 year old, could possess this much confidence, when having the thought of leaving a school that treated me like I was invisible to a fictional wizarding school that was very real in my mind. 


At school, no one really remembered my birthday, but I didn't mind. I was blinded by the thought of opening an eggshell white envelop addressed to me in emerald green ink as soon as I got home. The only thing that disrupted my fantasy, was what we had to do that day in class. The 5th and 6th graders had to split up by gender. The girls would stay in the 5th grade classroom while the boys moved to the 6th grade classroom. Our 5th grade teacher, Ms. Martin, stayed with us girls, while the 6th grade teacher, Mr. Quiggley, went off with the boys. It was rare for different grades to mix with each other, so I was on edge. My senses were hypersensative as the class of students settled down and waited for Ms. Martin to begin speaking, hopefully to explain what was going on. 


Once the class was quiet, Ms. Martin began to teach a lecture on puberty and the changes the female body experiences during these times of our lives. The whole class could feel the thick tension and awkwardness fill the room. It was terrible and horrific. I wanted to escape and think about Hogwarts, or recess, or even my piano class after school, but I couldn't stop listening to how girls who've reached puberty bleed for 5-7 days from their private part and NOT DIE. And to have this blood not stain our clothes we have to wear these things called "pads" that are essentially stick on diapers or tampons that you have to stick inside you, which aren't any better. And instead of dying, which seems like the only logical outcome of bleeding for that long, girls get moody, have cravings, get pimples, and cry a lot because of "hormones". We also start to develop these things called "breasts" on our chest and they come in different shapes and sizes, and we have to wear these uncomfortable bras. We grow hair all over our bodies that we need to shave off to be "hygenic". Plus we have to wear deoderant to not smell bad, we have to wash our faces, we have to do all of these outragous things to maintain ourselves to be "normal" girls transitioning into womanhood. Ms. Martin continued to say how a beautiful thing it was to experience, but it all sounded terrifying. I wasn't ready to bleed or grow hair everywhere and turn uglier than I was. I didn't want to deal with all of that. And what made it worse, is that we learned the boys didn't have to deal with all of the same things we did other than needing to wear deoderant and wash their faces. They didn't bleed or become "hormonal". What the hell was this curse woman had to put up with? 


I was scarred for the rest of the day. I couldn't think of anything else, but my body changing and bleeding. Getting taller didn't sound that bad, but everything else did. I couldn't eat my lunch that day, I couldn't hang out with my friends, I couldn't pay attention to my piano lessons, and I didn't even pay attention to the mail when I got home. I went to my room thinking of all the horrific things I would have to go through because I was a girl. I was having a full on anxiety attack because of this new knowledge I had. I tried thinking of possible ways to avoid it. Dying, taking out the part of my body that makes me bleed, or magically turning into a boy... 


I finally remembered how I didn't check my mail, and ran to the mailbox as fast as I could. I scrambled through the bills and magazines, but none of them were the envelop I was expecting. And then another terrible thought hit me. I was a muggle. I was a woman muggle that had to suffer through this horrid curse alone and unable to magically change to avoid it. I had no future. 


I started crying and having my first existential crisis in the 5th grade all because I found out I had to go through puberty and that I was in fact a muggle, never to be able to leave the school I was forever invisible in and become a smart witch like Hermione Granger. 


5th Grade...


The killer of dreams. 

Created: Apr 22, 2014

Tags: non-fiction, existentialism, 5th grade, school, story, true story, existential, sex education, theme, puberty

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