Today I'd like to share a short spin off from last weeks post, The Lessons We Learned. This week I want to recount the lessons I learned in Middle School:
1. Bathrooms must be gendered. This was a rule. If you broke it, you would be scolded and detained.
2. It is okay for your assistant principal to take you into her office, shut the door, and demand you bend over so she can see just how short your skirt actually is.
3. You could choose whatever Halloween costume you desired. Unless you were planning on cross dressing. This was a crime punishable by suspension, because folks who broke gender norms could not be seen or acknowledged!
4. It's perfectly acceptable for your history teacher to place young girls with large breasts in the front row - a better view for everyone, right?
5. Exposed bra straps diminished young boys education - and a girls body autonomy was far less important than a boys education.
Of course, I learned many other lessons throughout my three years of Middle School. However, I could not locate the 50 states, explain how to find the area of a pentagon, or quote a Mid Summers Night Dream. Those lessons are long gone.
But the lessons listed above linger. They linger in our society. In the interactions I see on the street, or those had in dark corners of crowded bars, and perhaps most importantly, in the middle school hallways of today's schools.
If nothing else, I hope this post opens up the conversation in a new way. A way that incites a willingness to share, to join together as a community, not in judgement but in support of one another. Because I'm willing to bet, I am not alone in the lessons I learned.
Sending you well wishes for your weekends! May you spread new messages, find healing in the arms of your friends, and breathe in new life from the brisk spring breeze!