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Catholic School Girl?

High school was probably the worst four years of my life.

Well, except for maybe the last year of my marriage and the following one during which I survived my divorce.

During those high school years, I just didn’t quite feel like I fit.

From what I understand years later, most of us feel that way.

Sure, there are a few people who hit the peak of their life between the ages of 14 and 18, but for the vast majority of us, it’s an awkward, emotional, painstakingly torturous time.

In high school, much like my adult self, I was able to be friends with just about anyone. But I felt most comfortable among the people who weren’t terribly interested in pretending to be someone they were not.

I’ve just never been good at not being me.

So, I spent my time with the people I felt were the most real. And we were a rag-tag group of people who, when being observed from the outside, were not a matched set.

But we had one important thing in common: we were fairly content to be who we were. Most of us weren’t athletes or cheerleaders. We were the kids who stayed out of trouble, got pretty good grades, and were far more likely to be a member of French Club or Chess Club than to be elected homecoming King or Queen.

We were a little on the nerdish side.

Catholic School Girl So I endured those years in my Catholic school uniform.

It was not a cute little uniform.

It was polyester.

We had four options: brown polyester long skirt, gray polyester long skirt, brown plaid polyester long skirt, and gray plaid polyester long skirt.

With a brown or gray polyester vest.

Yes, it was hideous.

Although in my Junior Year, the vest went by the wayside in order to “make the school look more classy” <– I kid you not. That is the explanation that the President of the High School gave in our yearbook that year.

It was almost as if the administration decided that they would go as far in the opposite direction from the white blouse, cute short plaid skirt of the stereotypical “Catholic School Girl” look as they possibly could.

I dug through every single photo album I could get my hands on, and you know what? There’s no family snapshot of me in that uniform anywhere. Either it was so ugly, we never took pictures of me in it, or I burned them at some point.

Either way, the best I could do to get you a visual is this yearbook photo of me as part of the Newspaper Writing Staff.  I was sporting the gray skirt, no vest, white socks and brown shoes. Yes, I was a teenage fashion icon.


I probably had legwarmers in my locker.

But along the way, I learned that I like being me.

Even if I am a bit nerdish.

Perhaps that was the most important lesson anyway?


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{ 41 comments… add one }

  • Runnermom-jen February 2, 2012, 8:46 am

    High school IS hard! It does help when you have a good group of friends to hang out with though.
    P.S. I like nerds ;)
    Runnermom-jen recently posted..Surrender

    • RChicken February 2, 2012, 9:11 am

      I think it makes it a little easier for me to support Thing One in his nonconformist ways because I wasn’t part of the “in crowd”

  • betsy February 2, 2012, 9:25 am

    My group of friends made high school bearable. But then I moved and had to spend my last year of high school friendless. It’s amazing how having the support of friends can make all the difference.
    betsy recently posted..I Know Better

  • Manic Motherhood February 2, 2012, 10:13 am

    LOL. A fellow survivor! I’m convinced that my inability to look fashionable in anything today is a direct result of 12 years of being tortured in either polyester or itchy wool skirts. Or possibly it’s my giant ass. Could go either way. Thanks for the laugh today :)

    • RChicken February 2, 2012, 12:46 pm

      Sometimes I wonder if that’s not my hangup with fashion too. I spent too many years with someone telling me what to wear that now I can hardly put an outfit together! (And I’ll bet your problem ISN’T your ass)

  • Angelia Sims Hardy February 2, 2012, 10:43 am

    I am so glad our high school did not have uniforms. I can not imagine the TORTURE of that, along with all the awkwardness of being a teen.

    Being nerdish is not a bad thing at all. :-)
    Angelia Sims Hardy recently posted..A Capture of Me

  • Debra February 2, 2012, 1:23 pm

    OMG, total flashback nightmare of my Catholic school uniform. Mine was that horrible blue, red, yellow, black plaid. With the white oxford and saddle shoes! How can anyone be comfortable or themselves wearing something so hideous!
    Debra recently posted..The ABCs Of Getting Into Kindergarten….

    • RChicken February 2, 2012, 3:25 pm

      I don’t think they want us comfortable. They want us compliant. :)

  • Andie February 2, 2012, 6:38 pm

    Isn’t that funny? I thought everyone else in HS was happy too! Would love to know how to teach my kids not to worry about it all so much…. Love the pic!
    Andie recently posted..What would you do?

    • RChicken February 2, 2012, 7:21 pm

      Today, on FB, a bunch of my high school friends and classmates came forward to say, “Heck, yeah! We DID feel that way!” So glad I posted this…(almost didn’t)

  • Gianna February 2, 2012, 10:17 pm

    Okay, so two blogs I followed you this week and featured you. SSSSOOOOOO I think that means I need to follow you! Oooh, I’m super excited! here we go!
    Gianna recently posted..Macgyver Mom

  • Gina February 3, 2012, 3:28 pm

    Thank goodness you didn’t peak at14-18. Me neither. I also went to a Catholic high school but we got to wear blue plaid skirts and anything we wanted on top following the guidelines, of course. Some crazy combos were created. We just considered the blue plaid neutral. My kids both made it through and one had an ok experience and the other hated it. They’re both blooming in college. Over from Mama Kat’s.
    Gina recently posted..Tired of All the Blah, Blah, Blah

    • RChicken February 3, 2012, 6:17 pm

      So glad you stopped by…pretty sure my lack of interest in style is at least in part due to those hideous uniforms.

  • Kate F. February 7, 2012, 8:05 am

    I went to an enormous, city school… well if you think graduating with a class of like 475 students is enormous? We had private schools but my parents choose to send me to the public schools and in some ways I am very grateful for this because I was able really learn all who I could be through the diversification of all the people I went to school with.

    Of course… this is all in hindsight! I hated high school at the time!
    Kate F. recently posted..The Vanishing Act

  • Julie February 7, 2012, 9:58 am

    I think high school is supposed to be hard. It prepares you for the harsh realities of the real world and gives you something to look back on, a place to be “from.”

    Also, it provides you with photographing proof of your brilliant fashion choices to share with future generations! :)

  • January February 7, 2012, 11:57 am

    I did NOT like high school…didn’t like school, never felt completely comfortable. I went to a public high school though and cannot imagine having to wear a hideous uniform. I love clothes too much. My son, however, will be going to a Catholic school and I’m happy that it’s one less thing I have to worry about when getting him ready in the morning!
    January recently posted..A Dog Story. A Family Story.

  • Ado February 7, 2012, 1:53 pm

    I think we would’ve been friends in high school. We wore (and hated) the same uniform, and I hated it just as much as you did – those 4 years. Awkward, awful, horrid. I found a small group of 3 in a v. cliquish school and their friendship was my lifeline.
    Yup, I could relate.
    Ado recently posted..The Plan / What Actually Happened

    • RChicken February 8, 2012, 7:48 am

      I’ve always been one to have just a few close friends and lots of acquaintances. And I bet you’re right, we would have been friends in high school. So, maybe we can become friends now…it’s never too late :)

  • Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms February 7, 2012, 3:32 pm

    It is a relief to feel comfortable in your own skin, especially when that skin is not covered by the polyester of a catholic school uniform anymore.
    Glad to find your through Yeah Write Me.

    • RChicken February 8, 2012, 7:47 am

      Love being me these days. Wish I had known how awesome I was THEN. That’s part of why it’s so important to me that my boys feel good about who they are right now, at this moment…and each moment as they move forward through their lives.

  • Jennifer February 7, 2012, 6:13 pm

    The coolest people are nerds. And, the coolest people peak way past their 18th birthday. Take it from a nerd. Who thinks you are cool. :-)

    • RChicken February 8, 2012, 7:46 am

      Thanks! I do love nerds. There’s a substance to them that seems to be lacking in some of the rest of the general population :)

      I’m hoping I haven’t peaked yet! Got plenty of learning and growing to do :)

  • Laura@Catharsis February 7, 2012, 8:03 pm

    Well, I for one think you look quite stunning in your Catholic school girl uniform. Really. Nerdy or not, you look beautiful.
    Laura@Catharsis recently posted..My God Doesn’t Hate

    • RChicken February 8, 2012, 7:46 am

      Thank you! I do like that picture of me. And I’d forgotten all about it!

  • Sarcasm Goddess February 7, 2012, 8:28 pm

    I wore polyester uniforms too! Ours were navy skirts and light blue shirts. We used to have navy vests but my freshman or sophomore year they stopped making us wear them. But not me! I still wore them. Cuz vests were cool.
    Sarcasm Goddess recently posted..The UPS Man is Trying to Kill Me

    • RChicken February 8, 2012, 7:45 am

      I think I burned my vests in a bonfire of epic proportions along with the vests of all my friends.

  • jenn @ so this is love February 7, 2012, 8:49 pm

    So glad we didn’t have uniforms! But hey, you are ROCKIN’ yours ;)
    jenn @ so this is love recently posted..a pocketful of sunshine

    • RChicken February 8, 2012, 7:44 am

      Thanks! When I found that picture, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was kind of a cute chickie!

  • Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy February 7, 2012, 9:02 pm

    Proud, card-carrying nerd here! But in high school, I wasn’t quite as comfortable with that fact as I am now. I’m glad those days are over…and I didn’t even have to wear a polyester school uniform. :)
    Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy recently posted..Crazy as a Betsy Bug

    • RChicken February 8, 2012, 7:44 am

      NERDS unite! I am so glad we’ve grow into loving that part of ourselves. And (just between you and me and the rest of the world who reads my blog) I’m looking for a Nerdy man to be my boyfriend.

  • Kristin @ What She Said February 8, 2012, 8:44 pm

    That uniform? Hawt.

    And yeah, high school pretty much sucked donkey balls. Also? The people that peaked during those years generally have the life to show for it later. I personally have preferred to continue evolving since that time and, in hindsight, wouldn’t do too much differently if I had the chance to do it all over again.

    Well, maybe I’d do a few things differently.
    Kristin @ What She Said recently posted..Do Unto Others

    • RChicken February 9, 2012, 6:20 am

      Amen to evolving. Which means…if I was hawt in that uniform 25 years ago, I must be absolutely smokin’ in my flannel pj’s and stretched out sweatshirt today, right?

  • KindredAdventures February 9, 2012, 7:31 am

    I never had to wear a school uniform. I always went to public school. High school though… yeah rough for everyone. Although while you compare your high school years to the years of your divorce… Ouch girl!! The friends you had do not sound that bad and I am amazed at how well you knew yourself back then. A nice trip down high school memory lane. -LV
    KindredAdventures recently posted..I Hate You

    • RChicken February 9, 2012, 8:20 pm

      I didn’t really know myself that well back then. It’s hindsight that’s 20/20, really. It’s just that I can’t be fake. I don’t lie well. And I’d rather be happy than popular :)

  • Kimberly February 9, 2012, 10:30 am

    I used to get so stressed and sad when teachers in high school teachers would say, “High School is the best time of your life!” I would think, “If this is it, I am in for one hellish trudge of drudgery accompanied by very mean people.”

    Glad it’s over 20 years ago. . .

    Obviously, I related to your post! Thanks for writing it. (I mean that)
    Kimberly recently posted..Smart Phones and Build-A-Bears

    • RChicken February 9, 2012, 8:19 pm

      Oh yeah…forgot about those people who used to say “This is the best time of your life.” <– They must have been the people who peaked between 14-18, no?

  • Jackie February 9, 2012, 3:27 pm

    I’ve often wondered if I asked my peers in high school to describe me what their collective response would be? I seemed to be fluid from group to group. Not really popular, or a loner, or the like, just sort of there. Ah, high school. I don’t miss you.
    Jackie recently posted..Big Ol’ Love

    • RChicken February 9, 2012, 8:17 pm

      Me either. I don’t miss high school for one single solitary moment. I do, on the other hand, occasionally miss college!

  • KindredAdventures February 9, 2012, 8:44 pm

    So true… Hindsight. I also know myself now WAY better then I ever did back then. I am a terrible lier too. These are just all the reasons I like you and why you are amazing!!! xoxo LV
    KindredAdventures recently posted..I Hate You

  • Christine @ Quasi Agitato February 9, 2012, 8:54 pm

    Wait. The student president of your high school said that, right? Please tell me it was not an adult. “more classy.” that is hilarious.

    I did the catholic school uniform thing, too. And, although I think I hid it pretty OK, I was wildly uncomfortable in my skin in HS. Wouldn’t go back for a million dollars. Well….maybe a million.
    Christine @ Quasi Agitato recently posted..Friends.

    • RChicken February 9, 2012, 9:04 pm

      Um. No. It WAS an adult! Ha!

      And a million dollars? Sure, I’d do it. That’s $250,000 a year. Way more than I’m making now! :)

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