In 2010, I had just transferred to a Catholic K-8 school. I wanted a change from Montessori school and thought that a more traditional school setting would be good for me. As weird as it sounds, I romanticized the whole idea of traditional school– the homework, uniforms, lectures, school dances, etc. That definitely came from watching movies and tv shows like Nancy Drew, High School Musical, A.N.T farm, and more.
My transition into my new school was pretty smooth. I made good friends within the first few weeks and certainly enjoyed the structure. The main difference between my old school and new school was the people. At my new school, there was some bullying, people straightened their hair, wore makeup, shaved, and were more image oriented. It didn’t really affect me until one day after school, my friend, Matt, came up to me, examined my face for a second, and told me that I had a mustache. It was the way he said it that made me feel ashamed. He was disgusted. This was the first time that someone had pointed out a physical part of me in a negative way. I went home and told my mom what Matt had said to me. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but she did offer to take me to the salon to get my upper lip waxed. I agreed. I didn’t want to be gross and unlikable, especially to the guys. So, I got my upper lip waxed and ended up waxing my eyebrows and legs too. Following that, I started experimenting with makeup, clothing, and hair as well to fit that conventionally beautiful look. I thought people noticed and I felt more beautiful and likable.
I feel sad looking back on that transition and experience. I wish that someone would have told me that I didn’t have to change the way that I looked for the convenience of others. I’m a strong believer in that now. I don’t think I was too corrupted by my experience at the Catholic school. I only ended up going there for 5th and 6th grade, but my time there was valuable because I was exposed to a community of different values.