Continued from here.
As aforementioned, I transferred from my all-girls boarding school in the middle of the English countryside to The American School of Paris in France. Despite being overjoyed that I could now see my parents daily, the transition to a day school was more difficult than anticipated. Not only was it unusual to go home to my parents everyday instead of just hanging out with friends in our dorm room, it was also hard to grow accustomed to the American system of schooling; I wasn’t used to discussion-based classes, and, above all, I wasn’t used to being around boys. I even struggled with opening those classic American high school lockers. A shy girl by nature, making friends was challenging, and because I was so attached to the girls back at Tudor Hall, I had a hard time connecting with people at ASP. Sure, I had a group of girls that I hung out with, but I always felt like an outsider. What’s more, I have never been one to ‘belong’ to a single group of people, so I didn’t form the close bonds I desperately yearned for.
Paris, undoubtedly, was a great city for a teenager, but due to my mental and physical circumstances, I didn’t get as much out of it as I should have. While my friends flocked to cozy French bars, I stayed home and watched movies, and when they went shopping together, or to restaurants together, I opted to venture off on outings with my parents. I suppose the years of separation from my mum and dad made me want to spend every possible moment with them, especially because I knew that after two years, I’d be off to college and torn away from them for the second time. Yes, my parents are my best friends, but being so connected to them did make me feel that much more different. Of course, on the odd occasion, I hung out with my peers, but, in the back of my head, I always feared “losing” my parents again, which prevented me from fully jumping in with the other kids.
By this point, it shouldn’t shock you to learn that I suffered from an intense fear of growing up. On one hand, I was very mature, but on the other, I was stuck in that little girl mindset, the mindset that prevents one from embracing independence and womanhood. I was excited at the prospect of finally heading to America, but I truly dreaded being separated from my parents; eight years “locked up” in a boarding school meant that I had a lot of mum-and-dad-time to catch up on. This fear, coupled with the sudden feeling of loosing my childhood too quickly (by the way, irrationally, I thought that my dad, in particular, would stop loving me when I became a full-blown woman) lead me to take control of my life by turning to food and exercise. And this is when things, paradoxically, got really out of control.
To be continued…