How’ve you been? A lot has changed since I screamed “I love you” at eighth grade graduation as you power walked away from me.
First, I want to say sorry for all the Taylor Swift Blank Space crazy shit I did back then (you probably don t understand that reference because you re not into mainstream music). In retrospect, I see how calling your house just to make friends with your mom was a little unhinged. In the interest of honesty and forgiveness, here s a full breakdown of the other shit I did, in order of descending madness:
- Calculated your exact height and practiced standing on my tippy toes to kiss you
- Followed you from room to room at every Friday Night Live school dance
- Put a love note in your locker that said, “if only you took the chance to get to know me you’d see the great girl I really am.”
- Became a hardcore Green Day fan just because your screenname had “Green Day” in it
- Copied the way “punky” girls took MySpace selfies in hopes you’d notice my pictures
- Tried to sell homemade cookies to your family for fake charity in hopes that you’d answer the door (you didn’t)
- Made at least a dozen AIM screen names because you kept blocking me
- Created the screenname “love2read1205” when you told me to “go read a book” because you were onto my multiple screennames
Do you remember how this all started? It was the day I dropped my pencil in front of you (on purpose) and our eyes lingered for an eternity. Then, in what only can be described as fate, the next day you were assigned to play my Grandpa (sexy!) in our seventh grade class play, where I played your granddaughter and sat on your lap as you read me a story about your days fighting in the Revolutionary War.
I’d rush home from school and wait for you to chat me on AIM, riding a rush of adrenaline every time my computer dinged and it was you. We’d talk about how dumb the play was (I secretly loved it) and how dumb school was in general (I secretly loved that, too). The way you smiled at me in social studies melted my insides in a PG way. I was convinced we had something.
But as soon as I told Avery I liked you, she told her boyfriend (AKA your best friend, AKA Lizard Face) and pretty soon, the entire school knew about my crush. Lizard Face—who, by the way, ended up hitting on me in French class junior year—would coo my name and make gross kissing noises in the hallway. As if having all the cool kids laugh at me wasn’t traumatizing enough, you had to act all disgusted by me. For so long I was determined to prove all my friends wrong, to prove that you were the guy from social studies class and not the jerk who taunted me in gym. But that hot July day in Memorial Park during the summer before eighth grade changed everything.
Katie and I were sitting on the swings when you in your Ed Hardy sweatshirt (swoon) came toward me, Lizard Face in tow. At first you acted like you wanted to talk to us, and then out of nowhere, you whipped a flip flop at me and walked away laughing.
This brings me to the second reason I’m writing you, which is to say, I’m finally brave enough to admit you seriously messed me up. Ever since that day, I’ve had a hard time approaching guys for fear I’m going to be hit with a proverbial flip flop. Even when I’ve been in relationships, I’m worried my boyfriend is leading me on and laughing behind my back.
And you want to know the strangest part? I think I might secretly like the rejection. I’ve found myself intentionally crushing on guys I know don’t like me back. It brings back the adrenaline rush of your AIM messages—a mix of thrill and pain that’s sort of addicting.
The third reason I’m writing this—the most important reason—is that I’m giving myself permission to accept myself. My short, frizzy-haired seventh grade self didn’t have any chill, but she also didn’t deserve your ridicule. I’m making peace with myself so I can own my awkwardness and create healthy relationships.
So Jamie, screw you for letting me slip through the strands of your straggly blonde hair. I bet your favorite album is still “American Idiot.”
Your Seventh Grade Stalker
PS: Please tell your mom I say hi.