Chloe Price EDU 280 Adolescence Recapitulation

I have been described as happy, energetic, eager, mature, loud, friendly, caring and conscientious. On the outside of my teenage years, these adjectives still would ring true. However, if one took the time to look on the inside, they would see someone who was angry and confused. I created a mask of positivity so no one would ask about all the negative things that were happening in the inside of my mind and home. School is where I lived and where I wanted to be at all times. There I didn¶t have to be responsible, all though in retrospect, I took on all the responsibility I could. At home, I was the oldest daughter of an emotionally unstable mother, who had to single handedly raise four children. I only saw my father about once a year; if he wasn¶t with us, he was away supporting the family with overseas work. When we did see him, we would have to play down what had been happening in the house. If my mother could no longer tend to her motherly duties, which was often, it was handed to me. I was the ³big girl´ and big girls always helped. She told me to take initiative. For me there was no time to be a kid, at least not at home. We were supposed to be one big happy family with no problems. This was my dark secret on the inside. I didn¶t want anyone to know that I was mother to my siblings, and that my mother had problems. I didn¶t want them to come in and make her upset. In the beginning of my adolescence, I was very protective of my mother and didn¶t believe that she had a mental illness. I just thought she had a hard life. She had many kids and an absent husband. It was my job to help and make things easier. I honestly didn¶t know that my home life

wasn¶t normal. But I did know that I didn¶t want people to make assumptions. It was my secret, because my parents treated it like such. Mentally speaking, many adults told me that I was mature for my age, that I had an old or wise spirit. Personally, I know that my mind has always been on thought processes, reasoning and feelings. I rather pay attention to how other people treat each other or how they feel about things and why. Interactions with my mother have influenced me this way. I think I took the experience of having to be sensitive to her feelings and emotions, and applied them to everything else around me. There were very few times that I did something because of an impulse. Adults in my life usually commented on how thoughtful I was towards a task or subject, and how conscientious I was dealing with others. There was a lot that I didn¶t agree with when it concerned my peers. I know that this was because of my active participation in church. What the adults or teachers saw as maturity for not wanting to engage in ³teenage´ activities, it was really just following my church standards. Church was something I clung to in the early years of adolescence. No one could tell me no, or that I was being selfish for wanting to go. There, I learned my self-worth and to not judge others. My religion taught me and gave me the tools I needed to succeed without losing myself. In school, I often used Church as an excuse to not participate in things that I didn¶t want to admit to genuinely not wanting to participate in. It was against my religion to do drugs and alcohol. So there was no point for others to offer, or for me to even think about trying it. Ironically, instead of shunning me, more people seemed to accept and like it when I told them no thank you to what they were offering. They¶d nod, smile and say, ³Good for you´.

Despite how uptight my peers thought I was with my morals and values, they seemed to accept it. As I got older, I realized how important it was to just respect others, because in return they will respect you. Church gave me something solid to identify myself with rather than what was available at home. On the outside, I was happy and helpful. Physically, I was tiny and petite. The only thing big was my mouth and my personality. I figured the louder and happier I was on the outside, no one would know what was going on inside. There was nothing much else I could use to hide. I was a late bloomer physically and have always been more of a tomboy. When everyone was learning how to flaunt their assets, I was still waiting. It didn¶t really bother me though; I figured that it was too much of a hassle to deal with all the girly stuff. Not many things brought me down when it came to physical things like my body shape or clothes. As clothing styles became more and more important to the girls around me, I tried very hard not to care. Most of the fashions weren¶t modest and modesty was a church standard. After all, the clothes were used to be more attractive to boys, and I wasn¶t allowed to date until I was 16. Since dating wasn¶t an option, 7th and 8th grade was easy to go through. I didn¶t have the distraction of worrying what boys thought about me like the other girls. Instead of clothing trends I opted for confidence, instead of drugs I opted for respect and instead of sex I opted for friendship. Church helped me by giving me rules to live by. My mom felt that parental guidance came in the form of pop culture from her adolescence in the 80¶s. (She graduated in 1987.) Videos of Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club, 16 Candles, Big, Mermaids etc, are all movies that were based on teenagers and their behaviors. These movies were introductions to me of high school life, and most were also positive forms of being individual.

The Breakfast Club for example sets up a detention with one member of every clique. By the end of the movie they all learn that they all have problems and that the status quo may not be perfect. Throughout the movie they identify common assumptions that their peers have about each one of them, and how the assumptions are as real as the ones assuming. All of them are putting on a mask one way or another to be ³normal´. I took this to heart while I was in high school, I never embraced rumors as fact, nor did I not talk to someone because of their reputation. I always believed that there was more to the person besides what was perceived as ³common knowledge´. At the very least, I knew that this was true in my case. In 7th grade I moved to New York. On my first day, I was walking into my 6th ³new school´. Schuylerville is a small town, and everybody knows everybody, usually through relation. In Schuylerville, being new automatically makes you the focus of the school. Rumor had it that I was a hardcore military kid, which woke up at 6 to work out and only referred to my dad as sir. It gave them the excuse they were looking for to treat me even more like an alien. In tenth grade I decided to join cheerleading. I remember that everybody I knew was against it. They said everything imaginable of why I shouldn¶t join. My mom told me that she hated cheerleaders while she was in high school and made fun of them with her friends. She never thought one of her kids would ever join. From my peers, I heard that it wasn¶t my style, I didn¶t fit with those mean preppy girls, they were so opposite from me etc. I even had negative remarks from my teachers who I cared deeply what they thought. They questioned me, and said that they never pictured me to want to be a part of that group. I didn¶t see what the big deal was about joining. I was a happy person, who was very loud and very enthusiastic about school. I spent almost every day of my life at school and I was beaming with school spirit. I thought that

was cheerleading requirement, enthusiasm, school pride and the ability to yell in support for your team. Many were skeptical. But after such negative reaction I took it as a challenge. I went to every practice and did my best to learn what was going on. I think that was the first time I realized how different I really was. Stepping into my first cheer practice was like walking into a room of Barbie dolls. I remember being intimidated but ready to beat the status quos that was laid upon me from everybody I knew. I went in with long basketball shorts and a long graphic tee and my converse. The Barbies were all wearing teeny tiny shorts and some form of a top that had the uncanny ability to flaunt everything they had. Tryouts came and I made the team. There seemed to be a shift after that, all though I hadn¶t changed myself. I had just joined a sport. The ³hierarchy´ that everyone had been referring to, finally hit me. I must have always been in the middle, because I suddenly realized more people were willing to smile when you smiled at them. More people were willing to have a conversation. And boys more often turned their heads towards you on Fridays when we had to wear our cheer uniforms. I didn¶t change the way I acted towards people, they changed. I feel that my life has had a lot of turn of events, and life lessons for me to learn. I feel that being different was never a bad thing and conforming was never a good thing for those around me. Cheering was not conforming to me because I stuck with what I knew and didn¶t change how I acted towards people. Being in high school is a challenge for most people, and I realize that a big part isn¶t necessarily because of the work at school, but from home. I know that I will be open minded towards my students, because I¶ve always displayed respect towards others. As a teacher I will be more observant of behaviors, like many of my teachers were for

me. They gave me a safe place and outlet from my home. Treating others with respect and not casting automatic judgments are important to me. My students, I feel will always have and open door policy with me.

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