Academic Girl


One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is a vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. ~Carl Jung


There are four parts to High School life: Academics, Social Scene, Dating, and Extracurriculars. To keep this from becoming a long rant, I'm going to write to each category in turn. (Although, I think my Social Scene may only fill a paragraph. Don't fret, I'm sure I'll remember something ~_^)


My school was a hick school. No offense meant by that; it's just the way of things. It was a school of farm kids mixed in with small-town kids. The type of school that you knew someone would wake up at 4am to drive the tractor to the Homecoming Parade. In spite of this, the education provided was impressive. No teenage recognizes this a the time though. It was as an adult that I came to aprreciate the lessons learned in those four years.


Admittedly, I was an overachiever. I was still competing with Sis, even though by this time she had graduated college. There were disadvantages. My poor math skills continued to haunt me. I had wanted to be an astronomer, until I found out I need Calculus and knew that there was a very slim chance of that working out. I would have arguments with my Geometry teacher to the point, he'd take me into the hall for a lecture.


Wow, light bulb momet! I hate being in empty hallways and buildings. I hated staying after for activities because it felt eerie. I still don't like being in a mall or at work when there is no one there. I never realized this is rooted in my elementary school days of hallways punishment. Hmm, well, that's one source of phobia discovered.


Sorry, back to High School. A couple years ago, I actually went back and apologized to that teacher for my conduct and for saying I was never going to need math. I was wrong-- that does happen on occasion.


Most of my schooling focused on English and Social Sciences. I wanted to be a journalist, since astronomy was out of the question.


I have always loved reading and writing. I excelled at it and loved it. It was a way to set myself apart from my classmates. I spent a lot of time talking with my English teachers. I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and so is my Sophomore English teacher and we'd spend hours discussing the different cases and the different actors who portrayed the detective. I started reading the unabridged Les Miserables, to the delight of one of my history teachers. (It took me 2 years after HS to finish it) Regardless, it was clear that Literature was going to be a big part of what I was going to do.


Three-quarters of the way through my Junior year (after setting up my Senior schedule) I realized two things:

1)I am not cut throat enough for journalism

2)I am too Conservative for today's Liberal based media

I would be eaten alive and have little success. So in a move that confused everyone, I switched to wanting to be a motorcycle mechanic. Not just any motorcycle mechanic, a Harley-Davidson Certified Technician.


I kept my classes as it was, with all the Social Sciences and Humanities, but added Physics and Power & Transportation. Here's the thing, I NEVER expressed interest in anything mechanical. I had even gotten in an argument with Dad about checking tire pressure, the result of which almost cost me my bike. (Dad had always said if he'd have had boys they would have Harleys when they turned 13, he had girls so Sis and I got them)


Everyone humored my choice. I ended up dropping Physics mid-year because I just wasn't getting it and it was dragging down my GPA.


There were only two Seniors in my Power & Transportation class. We were also te only girls. (Interesting side note: she is working on becoming a diesel mechanic) I would have had a 4.00 at the end of semester if the shop teacher wasn't sexist and gave me an A-. This may seem like I'm being petty, but honestly, I had completed all the projects and received 100% on all tests and papers. There was no reason for the minus.


I graduated 18th of a class of around 137. One of the best memories I have of HS is Dad and me pulling in for graduation on our Harleys and parking them at the bike rack. Overall, academically, HS hadn't been too bad.

Bible Girl

We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seeded refusal of that which others have made of us. ~Jean-Paul Sarte

The original plan was for me to go to a private high school. After the problems with my teacher it was decided that going to public school was the best course of action. This was beneficial because I could become myself without being in my sister’s shadow. She was an honor student at the school I was slated to go to and I had had cousins go through the same school. It was also cost effective because the tuition was ridiculous and it was quite a drive to it with no bus.

My dad never really attended church so it was more Mom, me, and Sis that switched to a different church. I don’t really know how Sis felt about this but she was in college and rarely had to attend. Our last church was associated to my old school and my parents wanted to keep me away from the negativity that it held in me. The new church was also closer and had a mid-morning service so no more 8am wake-ups.

I was no longer completely immersed in Bible study. I went to Catechism once a week and Sunday School, whenever we actually attended and enough for me to log hours to Confirmation. This was also partially because I often went to church by myself since Dad didn’t go and Mom didn’t always pick me up for the weekend. So Dad would drop me off and pick me up.
One advantage I had was that I already had everything memorized. My pride took over and instead of listening to the words I blindly recited them. I was confirmed the day before my twelfth birthday and took a hiatus from church.

It was a hiatus from the building, not God. Leaders of the churches I attended always seemed to fail me. First the ones at the school hadn’t stood up for me; then the one where I was confirmed had actually encouraged my mom to seek the divorce. I never felt abandoned by my Deity. Honestly, I think my Guardian Angel took the guise of an imaginary friend. It may seem crazy, but Raven is one of the reasons I’m still alive.

That was how I viewed things as a teenager. Leaders were a disappointment, but something bigger was out there. Later on I’ll discuss my current stance, but I’m not here to preach. This is just an important side note that needs to be kept in mind. My faith is part of my being and my religious background has a large impact on a lot of the decisions I made as a teen and as a twenty-something.

Public Girl

The things taught in schools are not an education but the means of an education.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don’t remember too much of middle school. I guess now would be the time to mention that I’m a country girl, at least as far as locale is concerned. I grew up in the middle of a cornfield. All the neighbor kids went to the public school, so I would at least know some people.

Well…

The next door boys were a few years older with the exception of one who was five or so years younger than me. They were great playmates until bicycles were traded for cars. There was one girl on the block my age. When it came to school, we were different cliques. She was popular/sporty and I was me.

Our school system is divided. There is an elementary school in the small incorporated town I lived in. Once sixth grade was reached, everyone got bussed to the same middle school. This made it better for me. I wasn’t the only transfer kid.

It was all new. I rode a bus and was suddenly in a class of over a hundred students. I had a locker and we had to move classroom to classroom. Instead of one teacher there were now seven. Talk about a culture shock!

Middle school is middle ground. No one really knows who to be friends with quite yet. The innocence mold is starting to crack. High School is when it will break, but for middle school a person is safe.

What I do remember of middle school is:

1) I read more than was probably health. It was an escape for me; my
parent’s divorce was getting nastier at home.

2) I was a bully. I tormented one boy in particular. The whole purpose
of my doing so was to prove I didn’t like him. The problem is that in
middle school speak: beating someone up means you like them. What
makes it even more ironic is we went to Junior Prom together.

3) The answer to the question ‘Will you go out with me?’ is a resounding
“Hell NO!!!” loud enough for the entire bus to hear and leave me
mortified and in tears while everyone laughed.

4) I am a counselor case.

5) I am a brain not an athlete. I joined a group of like-minded girls
protesting a homeroom activity involving a sack race under the premise
it was sexist and things would bounce that didn’t need to. We just
didn’t want to jump.

Those are pretty much the main points. Life starts in High School anyway, right? ~_^

Elementary, My Dear Broken Girl

I forget what I was taught. I only remember what I have learnt.
~Patrick White

Kids can be cruel. Kids in parochial school are downright vicious. There is a certain mentality that sets in when you attend private school. Now, parents send their kids to these schools so they gain a good Christian education. They want to keep them safe and separated from the ‘dangers’ of public school. Parents, let me tell you something: most wholesome girls and boys who attend these schools are worse than their public school counterparts. They have more to rebel against.

Ok, ok, I’ll back off a bit. Maybe it’s not most private schoolers, just the ones I went to elementary school with. I can’t really say that’s completely true either. I just have really bad memories from preschool through fifth grade. Actually, Preschool and Kindergarten weren’t so bad, but once nap time was taken out of the curriculum things went downhill.

Please keep in mind this was a small school. I had about ten or eleven classmates and very rarely were they different from one year to the next. Grades were grouped together in the same room: First with Second, Fourth with Fifth, and Seventh with Eighth. I don’t know why Third and Sixth were lucky enough for their own rooms. Although, Fifth graders did go to the Sixth grade classroom once or twice a week for Catechism.

I had the same first grade teacher that my mom and sister had. I think she was still teaching fifteen years after I had her.

Things weren’t smiles and cookies or rainbows and ponies for me First through Third grade. I had managed to become the target of one malicious little boy who teased me constantly. My parents went so far as to make the school change my role in the play from a cow to a sheep so I wouldn’t have to sit next to him.

I later found out just how hard and disturbing that boy’s life was. I can almost forgive him. What he did to me was nothing compared to what he was dealing with at home. He switched schools and I was free from him come Fourth grade.

Probably a good thing because I don’t know if I could have handled him and the Teacher From Hell.

I want to make it clear this was a Lutheran school not a Catholic school. Corporal punishment was supposedly not acceptable. Yes, I’m aware that’s stereotyping but when I explain the next two school years of my life I want the distinction made.

I had the same teacher for those two years. My academics went downhill thanks to her. Honestly, I was not a bad kit. I was trying to be the good girl that I was brainwashed to be. This woman did not like me. I was constantly sent into the hall for literally hours of the school day.

Those hallway stints are what started a lot of my issues. I found out it is not possible for a nine year old to break her own ankle with her bare hands. I was trying anything to be sent home. Broken bones seemed like as good an excuse as any. I never succeeded in that. As far as I know I’ve never broken anything. I also started cutting at this time. I think that’s best discussed on its own. There are too many intricacies to a person’s mind to group it with my school days.

The isolation of the hall was compounded by the teaching structure. Instead of teaching everyone at one pace, this teacher decided to do Math on an individual basis. I fell far behind any group. I was lost and there were days that she forgot to give me assignments. Well at the end of the day, we were to show her our list of homework assignments. I would be yelled at for not writing down and when I told her she hadn’t given me one, I was informed that it was my responsibility to get her to do her job. (I have a deep set problem that I still deal with. I tend to take responsibility for things that I did not do or could not help.)

My parents spoke with her, the Principal, and the Pastors. Everyone not related to me sided with her. The Pastors came out to my house and reviewed my past and present assignments and still could not think of a good solution.

After the teacher started throwing things at me my parents had had enough. I mean it: she threw erasers, tape, gloves and a wide variety of things at me. So I finished off the year and was shipped to the supposedly evil Public School for Sixth Grade.

Origins of the Girl

It is difficult to decide how much information is pertinent. Also, I have to keep in mind who may view this and don’t want to completely alienate myself from certain people.

In order to understand who I am, you need to know where I am coming from.

My parents divorced when I was ten. I have to give them credit though. They tried to stay together. They are probably the only couple who have married and divorced each other four times. But it’s not easy watching two people break up and make up so many times.

It messes with your perception of relationships and makes you want to keep it from happening to you. I stayed in a relationship for longer than was healthy because I didn’t want to be wrong about love and every relationship after became a second guessing game. To the point I would try everything to destroy it before it began.

I have one sister who is eight years older than I. I grew up under her shadow. To hear my family talk, she was perfect. She never got in trouble, got straight As, had one steady boyfriend through high school. I strove to be like her; because part of me felt she was more loved than I was.

It turns out I was only half wrong. My sis wasn’t perfect. I found out about her college life and wished I had known a lot sooner. I was striving to be a fabrication.

As to her being more loved, well my mom recently admitted she felt closer to my sis than to me. I never saw the correspondence of the divorce and Sis leaving for college until Mom told me. She went through empty nest syndrome with one chick still in the nest.

My dad raised me from ten on. I have a wonderful father who gave me what I needed. It is a good thing that I never bought into fads and prep clothes; otherwise, I’d be a much different person. The biggest problem was he was broken after the divorce. He had finally come to love Mom wholly and she was done. I had to be the good girl. I didn’t want to make things worse.

What followed was years trying to become perfect. I wanted perfection so badly. I only realized within the last year or so that this is impossible. Now I want to be genuine. This may actually be attainable.

But even more important than figuring out that perfection is an unreal desire is I have come to terms with the fact that everyone (triple underscore, bold face, italics) EVERYONE is broken. And more important than that little revelation: It is O K AY! It’s what makes us human. It’s time to realize it and come forward in our crumbling masses and maybe find a semblance of wholeness and healing.

~Andrea Leigh

Got to thinking

I was sitting in my English class after I posted the first entry and got to thinking. There is something I would like to clarify. It probably doesn't need to be done, but when my head gets set on course somedays I can't help it.

I am writing from the female point of view; not a feminist point of view. I am not a man hater, in fact I probably love them too much, more on that in later entries.

I greatly appreciate the struggles and rights won by the early feminists but do not consider myself to be one.

Feminism to me seems like a castration of society. Suddenly young women are told to be strong and independant. The characteristics of feminitiy: caring, loving, soft; are now frowned upon as weak and in no way can a woman be reaching her full potential by pursuing such 'outdated' standards.

How are we to function? How do we know who we are when we are to be everything at once?

I know chauvinism is alive and well. I have customers come to the counter daily and would rather talk to my co-workers than me for the simple fact that I'm a woman. I knew this was going to be an issue when I entered my field. But I also know I am not the first to encounter this.

Women have been the backbone of society for ages. They may not have gotten the credit for it and some suffered in silence, but they didn't mind. I'm not saying that a woman's place in the background, what I'm saying is that knowing you have done well and what you needed and desired to do is all that matters. No one can take that away from you. The only enemy is the one within and it's a hard one to fight because it is relentless.

There is another side effect of feminism I want to address. A better explanation of what I mean by the castration of society: Men don't know how to behave around us anymore. They don't know whether to open car doors, hold the door, walk ahead, walk behind, pay the bill. There is now a fear that they are encroaching on our rights. Compliments have to hushed for fear that a sexual harassment suit might get filed.

The thing is, every little girl still grows up reading Fairy Tales wishing for her prince to come. We have to be strong to the outside world it would be nice for someone to see that and let us be ourselves and maybe, just be the hero to our story.

To Begin

I don't know how qualified I am to do this. I just know that part of me is really wanting me to. First off, I have no education in the realm of what I hope to achieve with this. I am a mechanic by trade.

What I want to accomplish is to let people know they aren't alone. I have been dealing with depression and isolation for a large part of my life. It was only until very recently that I realized I'm not the only one. There are others who are as lost as I am and don't realize they aren't alone. I want this to be a place for them. I want them to know they aren't alone. Maybe it's selfish of me and it's for varification that I am not alone.

I have to admit that this may end up being slanted. I am a woman and can only tap into the female psyche. Even though I am in a male dominated field most of what I experience is purely female. I am going to be logging some of my story as I go along and hope to get feedback from others and see where it goes.

I do not intend to preach. Admittedly, I believe in a Higher Power, It is a source of strength for me and gets me through the day. I do not wish to push my viewpoints on anyone only be here as a source of support if necessary.

Thank you,
Andrea Leigh

Welcome!

Welcome to my little part of the blogosphere. I started this blog for the express purpose of proving that no matter what happens in life, you are not alone. I am sharing my stories from my school days, dating disasters, and personal trials.

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