The casual pose. Every former cheerleader has this picture.

As many of you know, the things that we took pride in back in our high school days are often the things that cause us to wag our head in embarrassment. Some of us are still holding on to our high school hang ups (which is why I skipped my ten year reunion without a second thought). Each time we write, we have to take ourselves back to the painful place of teen angst and general turmoil. The more crystalline these memories are, the better we can put ourselves into the shoes of our characters. So here’s to embarrassing teenage moments, the funny and the sad. Feel free to share yours.

Confession:

I HATED being a teenager. I felt like I a forty-year-old crammed into a sixteen-year-old’s body. The thing is…I ached to be one of those fun-loving teens.  So I joined or tried out for a million clubs, including…wait for it – CHEERLEADING.

Yeah, I know. You’d never have guessed from my sparkling personality. Neither would’ve my fellow classmate until I showed up game days in my cheer uniform. But I was totallylike on the squad. I was quiet, and so NOT the cheer type. I confess that I loved it. And I had some amazing experiences, like cheering at a Clippers halftime and being in a Super Bowl halftime show (the Michael Jackson one – that is a story I will tell someday). I loved cheer competitions – we took second in state – and hated basketball with a fiery if-I–have-to-do-this-stupid-We-Will-Rock-You-cheer-again passion. At 5’2” I threw basket tosses, could pop a girl into a shoulder stand in 1-2-3 flat, and could yell  like a banshee. I was co-captain my junior year and even went on to cheer in college. Kind of embarrassing but true.

A testament to flexibility. I wish I could still do this.

These days I cringe when people talk cheer, as if I’m ashamed that’s part of my past. Especially when I remember the musty wool trail of sweaters and pleated skirts in my mom’s attic, and how they would fit on my big toe now. Maybe. I think this is because I take pride in the fact that I didn’t fit in to anyone’s stereotype of who I should be. Say you were a cheerleader, and people instantly assign a personality to you (think Cheerios onGlee). That wasn’t me. And I’m glad. Still, I have these embarrassing  great pics to share for your mocking pleasure.

I know you all must have some confessions to share. Bring it on! (Oh. I. Did.)

My family hasn't stopped teasing me about being a cheerleader. I think it's revenge for having to listen to me chant cheers under my breath for years.

What can I say? The stunts were my favorite part.