Right Back Where We Started From
I was in Boot Camp at the gym the other day and the music mix that accompanied our sweating included a bunch of songs from the ’70s. Right in the middle of a killer set of lunges and squats, I nearly stopped cold when the song “Right Back Where We Started From” by Maxine Nightingale came on.
Oh man, that took me back. 7th grade. The drama and the trauma of junior high. Mean girls. School dances. SO frustrated that I was consistently the second smartest kid in class, never the first. (But the smartest was sorta my boyfriend and walked me home from school everyday, so that was a consolation.)
And “Right Back Where We Started From” was my favorite song. Yeah, that was the year of “S-a-t-u-r-d-a-y Night” (the Bay City Rollers), “Rhiannon” (Fleetwood Mac), and “December, 1963” (Four Seasons). But Maxine Nightingale got me, and I listened to that little 45 over and over and over.
I thought about all of this at the gym while I continued lunging and squatting, and I thought how weird it was that 35 years later, here I am listening to that same song. I would never have pictured this. As I agonized through the trials of 7th grade, finding solace in disco music, I never would have pictured myself, 3½ decades hence, literary agent, mom of 2 (including a 7th grader), exercising to the oldies at the local gym. And still liking that song.
I don’t know what I pictured but it wasn’t this.
I suddenly wished I could go back to that shy, insecure and constantly worried 7th grade girl and tell her, It’s going to be okay.
I want to tell her that 7th grade isn’t as important as it feels, and not to worry so much about that lousy school picture, and maybe she should ease up on the blue eye shadow. I want to tell her that life’s going to be hard sometimes, but that there will be blessings unimaginable. And that she’s going to find real love, but she needs to be patient, because it’s going to take awhile. And that it wasn’t a bad thing that Donnie never once kissed her throughout an entire school year of walking her home — she’ll be kissed when the time is right.
What do you wish you could tell your 7th grade self?
And what was your favorite song in 7th grade?
P.S. My second favorite song from 7th grade was KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight.” Ah, memories.