exploring life and love with pictures and words

On being twelve

IMG_5042I remember being twelve years old . . .smart, brave, funny, and having endless energy. I was always hungry and I ate a lot. When I looked in the mirror I liked what I saw, especially my long straight hair. I wore it like Cher and thought I looked like her. Some of my girlfriends thought so too. At twelve, in the early 70s, that was a compliment. I loved school, my friends and my family.  A teacher is what I wanted to be, maybe a singer, and definitely  a mom.

In elementary school, I ran with a pack of little girls who spent recess chasing boys on the playground and taunting them with songs about kissing in trees, definitely boy crazy. But in early middle school,  I  gave it all up, left the crazy behind, and began to genuinely like boys. They were my friends and sometimes my best friends. I’m sure I loved these boys, but not in a puppy love, I want to be your girlfriend kind of way. Nope, it was definitely a hormone free zone. Sex and relationships were not even a blip my radar screen. It was that moment in time and space, that tiny window in a young girl’s life, when love came from love and nothing else. It wasn’t earned, won, bargained, stolen or lost. It just was. . . pure and simple.

Some of the boys I loved were sandy haired and tan, many of them were surfers. Smart boys with a good sense of humor were my favorite seat partners in class, and they liked to sit with me too. We were quick to finish our work so we could hide behind our textbooks, eating salted pumpkin seeds, telling jokes, and suppressing laughter until we snorted, making us laugh even harder. 

Some of my favorite boys hung out with my best friend’s brother and lived in her neighborhood. I often spent the night at her home enjoying the freedom of loose house rules and absent parents. We played late night games of hide and seek and ding dong ditch, watched scary movies, and ate a lot of crap, most of which we cooked or baked ourselves. The best part, my favorite part, was the late night talking. I have always loved the talking. Some nights we didn’t sleep at all, spending the early hours just before dawn helping the boys fold and band newspapers for their paper routes.  

My memories of this time are so vivid. I can close my eyes and see their faces, hear the chatter and the laughter.   But what I remember most is how I felt. I can actually conjure up the feeling. I don’t know a better way to describe it other than I felt powerful, worthy and strong. I knew who I was and who I wanted to be. The memory of these feelings is so deeply rooted  in me that when I observe young girls interacting with friends, I can sense in an instant if they are in that place, that space that I remember so well. I want to whisper in their ear, Think of how good you feel about yourself, right here, right now, memorize it. Lock it into your heart  because life is going to happen, the whole boy girl thing is going to get really complicated, and you want to remember who you are . . you are smart and talented and beautiful and strong You have a purpose.

There are a million reasons why we lose our way. Maybe for a minute it’s important to examine how and why that happens. But, for me now it’s more important to find my way again, to spend my love and energy on people and work that keep me true to myself. 

Over the years, I have lost and found that twelve year old girl many, many times. This is what she taught me today. . . .The kind of love I experienced then was never meant to be a fleeting moment in time and space, only to be remembered fondly, not at all. It is simply the truth, and the truth doesn’t change, love comes from love.  

You see, it isn’t enough for me to find her, I have to be her . . .worthy and strong. Twelve year olds are so damn smart.



18 Responses to “On being twelve”

  1. Lori Fernandez

    I remember those times fondly too. Life was so simple. I loved playing with the boys, I only had brothers and they seemed to have more fun doing ” boy” things than the girl things. Hormones changes and strict female expectations from my parents, society and church ( yes I went to church back then) put an end to it all for me. I questioned it over the years and I found myself angry at times, ” why can’t I be that fun tomboy girl, why all these stupid rules and stereotypes?” Now in midlife, kids grown, many life lessons and experiences I have allowed myself to reconnect with that young girl and she’s so happy to see me again, and I her.

    Christine, thank you for these stories, they really connect with me. Can’t wait for next week! XO

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jo

    You are a great writer Christine! I have a quote for you: “A work of art is a confession.” -Albert Camus

    I am really happy you have found this creative release. Isn’t it great?! xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bare Naked in Public

      Jo – you have no idea how much this means to me. I admire your creative soul and am humbled by your praise. xoxoxo Yes – the creative release is better than I could have ever imagined. thank you


  3. SoJO

    You are very good at capturing this moment. I too remember these times with vivid feelings. It is so easy to be derailed and I watch my daughters and just hope they won’t be distracted from who they are as they grow up in this complicated world for girls.
    love it…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brother Nick

    Christine, when you texted me to invite me to your blog last night, I was at dinner with my girls but took a quick peak. I was drawn in by just the first few sentences I read, curious and amazed about my sister, and already misty-eyed. But my girls were demanding my attention, and I had a trip to pack for, so I only now got back to reading it from my hotel room here in Omaha. I don’t know what to say except I’m happy that you shared, I’m proud of you, and I still see you as that 12 year old; you described yourself perfectly, then and now – smart, talented, beautiful, strong….worthy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brother Nick

    One more thing…unfortunately your text came to me in two segments and the URL piece appeared without the word “bare” in front of it. So for anyone reading, “nakedinpublic.com” WILL take you to those pictures of naked people in shoe stores and restaurants. I was on my work computer…we’ll see how that goes!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. phyllis kerlin

    Hi. I will always adore my 12 year old self as you so wonderfully do yours, i think of her often and have very few words of wisdom to give her from this tall precipice called “living life”. She cheers me to think of her…what a cool kid… and if that cool kid were to run into your 12 year old self by chance I’m quite sure we would go bike riding with scabby knees and a transistor radio.
    Can’t wait for more, kid.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Judy

    Christine, I not only love what you write, but I love you way you write.
    I remember 12 yrs old. We were living in Westminster and I was hanging out with some scary kids. They were friends of my friend. When mom told us we were moving right after the school year(6th grade) I was thrilled. Then begining of 7th grade I met Sue and Sonya and Lori and we became friends. Life was good. It still is 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. lbeth1950

    The beauty of life is that I feel that way again. I am 63 now and have friendships that are not threatened by hormone complications. I feel like I am myself again, totally free.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dan

    I wish my daughter’s 12th year had been that uncomplicated like back then. The biggest thing missing now is innocence. Don’t give up on freeing that inner girl, she’s in there waiting to be found.

    Liked by 1 person


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: