Seriously Puberty, What the Hell?

Everything got weird for me around seventh and eighth grade. My breaks began picking up in pace again, I was confused about my friends - the girls whom I wanted to be friends with vs. the girls whom I felt I should be friends with; also there were boys (and since when are they never weird?), I wasn't sure if I had all the coolest Trapper-Keepers and neon colored pencils, and my collection of Pogs was still something I went home to play with. Oh yeah and umm... my body was being more awkward than it already was. Every day it seemed like I woke up to a body that became a little bit more of a stranger to me. And there I had been thinking but no one knows my body better than me!

Ugh puberty. Even as I write this my face is cringing. Why do our bodies pick the most uncertain time of our life to morph into more certain beings?! There are some things that were just meant to be purposely confusing and never make any sense, like ever.  

Before puberty my body was already strange, but it was a strangeness that I had known since birth. It was a strangeness that I understood and I could point to certain bowed areas or limbs and tell you a story behind each; and every story had a happily ever after ending. During this phase it seemed like every part of my body was beginning in the middle of some random Choose Your Own Adventure book except I never got to choose where it would wind up. Someone else was choosing for me. And every morning I woke up pleading can I just have ONE say in just ONE thing PUHHHLEASE?! Always to no avail.

As strange as this time was for me physically, I did find some odd comfort in the fact that all my friends were going through a similar weirdness. Finally, our bodies had something in common even if it was the most disgusting awkward commonality ever. I could deal. I went to a school system where the unit of 'Our Growing & Changing Bodies' was addressed in science class in the 6th grade. Vocab lists for each unit consisted of words like: fallopian tubes, uterus, urethra...and we were quizzed on the menstrual cycle like kindergartners learning how a chick grows in an egg. My friends and I would giggle in the back of the room; if ever you wanted to see a classroom chock full with invisible Berlin Walls between every boy and girl, just go to any middle school class that has a similar curriculum.

My parents signed the permission slip that allowed me to participate in the class. I come from a culture that just doesn't talk about human sexuality, so you can just forget about that conversation with my parents because it never happened. They sent me off to school probably hoping that all my brimming curiosities would be fulfilled. So I sat there trying to keep up with the worksheets and fill in the blank quizzes, and yet I still felt like I was learning about some species Earthlings had just discovered on Mars. The 'growing & changing' bodies of girls on the worksheets never looked like mine, the books we were given had arrows and labels stemming from the pictures that meant nothing to me. When I tried to over lay those pictures on to my own body it was like trying to navigate through the Bermuda Triangle with a map created in Australia - everything seemed misaligned, backwards, and destined to point me towards some lost vacuum in the sea.

I'm not sure when it was that I finally decided to hell with this, I'm just going to let it happen whatever it is. But at some point I did. It was probably because after awhile I decided I can't keep up with trying to figure out everything that my body is doing. I've never been able to explain every aspect of what's going on, it was like trying to ask my parents why do I have O.I. and no one else in our family? The answer is: because that's the way it is, and that's just how it happened.
After the initial two or three years of awkwardness things settled back again. Sure I had to get to know myself in my own skin again - but when I looked around I realized it's what everyone else was doing too and it seems that's ultimately what puberty is all about.  

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