In this diary, I am entering high school. My older sister was a sophomore there, but provided minimum guidance and social support. Luckily for me, I was in the school dance company. I was passionate and motivated to eventually become one of the top dancers. My only dance experience before high school was in church and after school clubs. I did not have the privilege of taking lessons at a dance studio, though it wasn’t for a lack of asking my parents for that opportunity. They repeatedly told me that they could not afford the classes.
This diary covers the months of August 2007-December 2007.
I wrote this journal in neon yellow, bright pink, green, and blue gel pen. While reading it, I had to enlist the help of my boyfriend to change the colors of the lights in the living room to read each gel color better. Sometimes I had to hold up the pages at an angle to decipher my teenage handwriting.
“August 27, 2007: Today was the first day of high school. Mrs. Henning dropped us off. You should have seen the way her son John looked at us when we came out of the house. We were cute. I got my schedule in the cafeteria and Nicole showed me my classrooms. Danny said hi to me. I said hi to Taylor Ketchup too and he said he was looking for me. He’s hot! Bryan McGee looked good too. I left my language arts essay at home so I had to turn it in after school. Lee is in my health class. We’re going to have to wear something comfortable tomorrow to dance. There’s this new hot Black guy with long cornrows who’s in our dance class. He’s a good hip-hop dancer. I hope I can impress him. He seemed interested in me during the mixer game. I shook his hand twice. I’m boutsta do my nails. Holla!”
The boys I mentioned that I said hi to me on my first day of school were my sister Nicole’s friends. She had this core group of friends she always hung out with since middle school. Bryan McGee was a senior in the U.R. dance company.
“August 30, 2007: Tomorrow is tryouts for the rally. I am so nervous except for Vicky’s dance. There’s this guy named Caleb who joined our class. He’s a 14-year-old and a professional dancer. He’s with an agency and everything! He has long braids. They’re pretty. He’s Black and does hip-hop and has done commercials and danced with Missy Elliot and Michael Jackson. He taught us a hip-hop dance. It’s exciting. He’s very modest. Everyone likes him. Everyone laughs at everything he does and hangs on his every word. It’s all good though. I think he’s my new crush. I don’t want to have a crush because I can’t have a boyfriend. It’s too many mixed feelings.”
I just lifted my diary to try and get a better reading angle and a little green envelope fell out that says “The pink paper inside this carrier contains wildflower seeds – plant it and watch it grow.” I remember having a flower pot with yellow and red flowers. Over time I forgot about it and it died.
“August 31, 2007: We did a good workout. Placement testing went pretty great. Tryouts are on Tuesday now. Caleb comes every other day. He wasn’t there today.
I think that placement testing was for our dance instructors to see our skill level. I’m not quite sure what they did with this information. Perhaps it helped them with choreography.
“September 2, 2007: Today we went to Great America. I had a lot of soda and ice. They had karaoke and the people were awful. The fireworks show at the end was so cool! Every time it went boom I could feel the explosion in my chest.”
“September 5, 2007: Rally auditions were Tuesday. I’m really nervous. People cheered and gave me high fives when I was done. My birthday is in two days!”
“September 9, 2007: It was my birthday Friday. I got a skateboard. The next day I went to Jo’s house. She got a new GoPhone. I made all four dances for the rally but I couldn’t do Love Stoned because there’s a population problem. Anyway, I can’t believe it! They can still cut people though so I have to be careful. Sometime this week me and my dad are going to get me a radio you can plug an iPod into and baby turtles! It’ll be exciting. Wish me luck in dance tomorrow!”
The radio and baby turtles were birthday gifts I was promised. I remember the radio. It was white with a CD player and an iPod dock. I never got the turtles.
Anytime our school had a rally in the gym, our dance company performed a routine consisting of four dance numbers. Two of those numbers were the opening number and the finale number. For my first audition I was chosen for all of the routines. Everyone could be in the opening and finale, but for the middle two dances, only half of the company (25 dancers) were allowed. This meant I had to pick the dance I liked most to perform.
Jo, my best friend since the fourth grade, and I have the same birthday. I thought her gift was better than mine seeing as she received a cell phone. I was not given a phone until the second semester of my senior year of high school. I didn’t remember ever having a skateboard until I read the entry. I know I didn’t learn how to ride the thing.
“September 14, 2007: I’m back from the football game. I talked to Manny, Jose, Lynn, Huston, Jesse, and Khan. When I was talking to Lynn, I felt someone pulling me by my hood. It was Bryan McGee! He held out his arm and we hugged! He actually wanted to hug me! I sold a ticket to Ms. Tasha for our upcoming dance event and I told Bryan that I needed change. He didn’t have any, but he said thanks and smiled at me. Another time when I was sitting in the bleachers and I was leaving, I felt a hit on one of my legs and it was him! He waved to me. I smiled and waved. I can’t believe I’m getting attention from him. Sigh. Huston seemed a little nicer. Jamie gave me a bear hug twice and crushed my lungs and chest. It hurt!”
“September 20, 2007: There were two tryout days this week. There are six dances. So far I’ve made two.”
“September 21, 2007: Today we dressed in wacky outfits. It was ok I guess. We practiced in the cafeteria about twice, and then in the dance room twice. Today after school, I helped the decoration committee. Lynn accidentally slipped that I like Bryan to another guy on the dance team named Matthew. I couldn’t believe she did that! I do not want him to know. Oh well. As long as no one else finds out.”
I bet she told Matthew on purpose.
“September 23, 2007: The Wacky Ball was so fun last night. The performance was great except I bumped into Matthew in one of the dances. It was still good though. I danced with Lynn and her friends.”
The Wacky Ball is a fundraising event put on by the dance company. There were raffle prizes for items donated by community members, dance performances from U.R. and few other dance groups, and a regular school dance to finish it out. Everyone was required to dress in wacky clothing.
“September 24, 2007: I told Shelly I have a crush on Bryan. She liked Adam. Adam’s so nice! He gave me a hug. It kind of squished my boob. I hope he didn’t feel it.”
“September 25, 2007: Today was my first after school rehearsal. We added onto Christy and Layla’s routine, including an intro. The intro song was Shoes. I got cut from Layla’s dance. It feels wrong after I already auditioned, but oh well. I’ll just have to fight to stay in the other two dance numbers.”
Veteran students were allowed to choreograph routines. This routine had two choreographers.
End of Part 1. Part 2 will be posted soon