Bulldog Bugle

The student news site of Animo Jefferson Charter Middle School

Bulldog Bugle

Bulldog Bugle

JMS finalist: Finding Me


I was supposed to be excited, I was starting a new chapter in my life, 7th grade. That summer had been one of the happiest. I don’t know why. The new school year was just intruding on my happiness. School seemed so intimidating, the type of intimidation that makes you feel small. I don’t think it was the actual school but what made up the school. I felt so out of place, everyone was changing, becoming different people. I was still stuck in elementary school. I guess in the summer I could be unapologetically myself, which is probably why it was enjoyable.

For the first few days of school I was completely lost, nothing excited me. My days were fusing and it felt like one long line of hours that I just tolerated.

Eventually, the anxiety got too bad for me, I didn’t want to go back. My mom would plead with me- while I buried myself in my bed- to go to school because it would look bad for both of us, her as a parent and me as a student. To be completely transparent, I couldn’t care less. The academic mindset that had latched on to me my whole life had completely fled from me. School used to be my main focus, but not anymore, my mindset at the time was, “Well we’re all gonna die anyways so what’s the point of working so hard for a life that will mean nothing when we die? In the infinite space of the universe filled with millions of miles of literally nothing, my existence, and the good life I wanted to live means nothing.”

I had completely lost myself, completely and utterly. I didn’t know who I was, my identity was something completely blurred. Being alone with my thoughts was scary, and with my anxiety, that’s something that I did a lot.

My mom didn’t give up on me and she got me the help I needed to be able to come back to school. So that’s what I did, I wasn’t completely okay but I was better than before. 

“Oh look!” my friend said pointing at a piece of paper stuck to the wall with the words,


“Oh that’s cool, we should go,” I said. Me and my friend have always had the dream of becoming cheerleaders with skirts and pom poms.

When we walked into the meeting that Thursday there was a woman with black leggings, a white shirt, and red glasses. She was also pretty tall.

“Welcome, sit down and we’ll start in a bit,” the tall woman said welcoming us in, she seemed kind. My friend and I sat down patiently waiting.

She began giving us a presentation on what we were going to do in this club, which included a purge dance, costumes, a Christmas show, etc.

All the girls in the meeting cheered excitedly, my friend and I included. Most of the girls in this meeting didn’t end up joining the team but hey, the excitement was there. 

It all seemed promising and God, I needed a hobby. I needed something to do with my free time to make the long line of hours pass.

The tall girl sold us, the club seemed promising so we went to the first practice. We all waited on the lunch table in the courtyard for her to arrive.

When she got there she led us to the same room our meeting was in for our first practice, room 105. Our dance coach wasted no time and we got to practice for our first performance, Halloween Purge dance. 

We practiced for weeks on end, staying long hours after school. 

With the constant, “ 1..2..3..4 and 1..2..3..4” ringing in my head. I was exhausted, to say the least. 

The long hours of practice eventually led to performing for our program. I was anything but excited about performing in front of MIDDLE SCHOOL students. But it was too late to turn back now.

On the day of the performance, throughout the school day, I felt nothing but jitters. Right after school, we met again in that room, 105. We got ready by putting on our costumes and putting scary Halloween makeup on each other. It quickly got chaotic with all of us racing to get ready on time.

“I’m nervous,” I said to the group of girls running around in a panic.

“Me too!” all the girls said as they prepared.

We all laughed about how we weren’t the most professional of dancers and neither did we look the part.

It was a very “girlhood” moment, a group of girls getting ready together, laughing and joking and I liked it. In these moments you are so distracted by your happiness that you forget there was ever sadness.

“This is nice,” I thought.

“Girls, are you ready? It’s time!” said our dance coach immediately, giving us all the jitters.

We all squealed nervously down the hallway, already shaming ourselves for the bad performance we knew we’d give.

The students were all waiting for us in the gym and we were behind the doors waiting for our cue to start. Then the Purge alarm cued– it was time.

We walked out there and we did our thing. Walked creepily, danced, tumbled, you name it, we did it out there. 

In the end, it ended up kind of being fun, once all the jitters were gone. The students weren’t even slightly impressed, some even let out giggles. But it didn’t matter to us. I went home that day feeling good and looking forward to our next performance.

That is how it went for the rest of 7th grade, cheering practice every day of the week, cheering at games, dance performances, and I loved it. 

Although we would separate during the school day as students, we would all come back to room 105 and become a team, and that felt good.

As the year came to an end and it was our final show after months of performing as a team we were officially ending 7th grade. I was so ready to see what the new cheer season would bring. 

But then it all came down.

“Did you hear?” My friend suddenly texted me.

“No, what?” I responded.

“Coach is moving to another school, so no more cheer,” she said, completely crushing me.

When we went back to school the community we built was not the same, it wasn’t a team anymore. It was just students who passed each other in the hallways. I will never forget Cheer and I’ll always cherish the memories I made with the people I met.

So to answer the question, who am I? I have completely no idea. As disappointing as that sounds, I’m a teenager who’s constantly growing and changing, how could I possibly know who I am? 

Although I don’t think age has anything to do with maturity or knowledge, I have only lived 14 years on this earth. My life experience is minimal and I don’t know a lot about this world, let alone the person that I am and what makes me, me. 

But my experience with Cheer wasn’t completely useless. I believe that Cheer was put into my life as a stepping stone to get out of the maze I was lost in. Cheer got me out of that slump of completely losing myself. I didn’t feel out of place anymore, It was hard to, in such a welcoming community, which as a tribal being was reviving after my period of solitude.

Everything I do is helping me get closer to knowing more about me. What do I like? How would I react in this situation? Or do I even like writing? Am I a writer? I’m still figuring myself out. 

But for now, I don’t know who I am. All I know is that I’m open to trying new things every day to get closer to helping me figure it out … just like Cheer did.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor

Comments (0)

All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *