Revisiting a childhood favorite recently, Welcome To The Dollhouse solidifies my hypothesis: the middle school years are the most formative in shaping one’s personality, at least socially. Think about it, elementary school there are only play dates monitored by some sort of parental figure. There’s also after school, which I always loved, going to museums, parks, also monitored. Middle school is where you start to fly solo, the beginning of your social life: hang outs, dances, birthday parties, weekend events and let’s not forget the all important lunch outings. Who you eat with makes or breaks your level of popularity, although I’d been going out to lunch since 4th grade, it didn’t define me until 7th. By that point you’ve already made a name for yourself in the hierarchy of popularity. Mind you these are your most vicious years, you aren’t concerned with anything but being cool, you have no sense of compassion, and you’re willing to cut a bitch for crossing you. If you don’t you’re labeled weak and a social pariah. You also start rebelling for fomo. I spent 2/3’s of my middle school years grounded every other weekend, from 7th to the beginning of 10th. I never called when I was suppose to, I stayed out too late, I always ruined my freedom, no regrats.
I was cool in middle school, winning student body president by a landslide in my 8th grade class. Mind you the idea came from myself and a friend, but we still had to be elected. Both a boy and a girl were to represent each class, I got elected my co-founder didn’t. Although I was popular I was nice and spoke to almost everyone, unless you were the days target, pissed me off, or I had to choose sides in a civil war. One of the people I always spoke to was a girl who became a really good friend, Gina. Truth be told no one noticed she was there, nor remembered she went to our school. I always spoke to her since we had to do a math make up elective every Monday from 3pm to 4pm in 6th grade (I’m not bad at it I just lose interest, when I focus I ace it). She’s one of the two people who helped me formulate this theory.
Gina was a loser, she never got invited anywhere and went out to lunch with the nerdiest people. The leader of her group was Fayanne, a robust girl with lots of confidence for someone in her position. This was the second lowest rung, Fayanne’s bitchiness made them stand out next to an invisible group of blondes, which included another person who become my friend, Laine. I miss Laine often actually and will def be inviting her to my wedding.
Now Gina and Fayanne were bff’s until we got to high school. I witnessed the disintegration of their friendship. Gina sick of being a loser decided to form a new identity, she completely ditched Fayanne, started wearing slutty clothing, got in with the popular kids who had no idea of her past (they were from a different school, I wasn’t blowing up spots), and would go as far as lying to make sure she fit in. As time progressed people got weary of her lies myself included, but I understood why she did it.
Fayanne confronted her in the beginning, calling her out for not returning calls, or going to lunch, but Gina wanted a brand new start by any means necessary. Scarred by middle school, she refused to be unseen again. It was literally a Manny Santo’s thong moment. What was effortless for me, wasn’t for her. I could just be myself, people didn’t like her for who she was (except me). She took it all too far, copying bits of peoples personality, repeating your thoughts/ideas as if they were her own, anything not to be invisible. You can’t fake cool though, and the cool people she was taking from were over it. Still she was down for anything and we had a fucking blast.
Then there’s Laine, the queen of rage, my down ass bitch. I never even spoke to her in middle school, she was in the lowest caste (those invisible blondes). Although she went to a different high school, she much like Gina switched everything up refusing to be unseen again. We became friends, because she was friends with Derek. They went to summer camp together. I became friends with him when he ditched the Japs in tenth grade. Laine got a ton of friends who didn’t acknowledge her prior due to him and he never let her forget it, constantly smearing her name, openly disrespecting her.
Even though she secured status, her middle school years plagued her with an anxiety of being a loser again. Making her a people pleaser, an over thinker, not fully confident in new domains. Those years stayed with them both, becoming the source of every social interaction they had afterwards, carrying over into their careers.
While nobody bullied them to the extent of Dawn Weiner (played by Heather Matarazzo) in Welcome To The Dollhouse, they were forever changed. Your middle school experience defines who you’re going to be in high school and what you’re willing to do for it. Fayanne remained a loser, while Gina and Laine skyrocketed. Dawn probably spent the rest of her life in her beautiful sisters shadow, constantly being called ugly by family and peers. That’s why Melanie ugly Hamrick sold her soul, she was Dawn all her life. She wanted to be in, she wanted to be L’wren (note to self make that a slogan for merchandise). Unlike the aforementioned parties, she couldn’t change her looks, or personality to be cool, she had to murder, rape, stalk and commit felonies.
Another reason I know middle school is key, my sister Whitney and I went to East Side Middle School, we’re both bitches. Whereas our younger sister Jasmine went to rival school Wagner almost a decade later, sweet as can be. She wouldn’t pull half the shit my sister and I would, nor did she do drugs (which was normalized at ESMS, with other schools saying we taught them to be bad), or go to parties. Think about it, who were you then? Who are you now? How did those years, your clique, the environment factor into what you became? Middle school is the origin of your socialization. Do note I’ve also watched many people peak there too, which is far worse. Via: CineoCultoOficialt