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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

I am further dissociating from my middle school self

My friend Ella and I in seventh grade when I was obsessed with both musicals and Ariana Grande (and wore my hair in high ponytails)

I, like the majority of children, had seemingly random obsessions on which I fixated as a child. 

To clarify, by childhood, I mean the years between third and eighth grade, otherwise known to some as the “tween” years. 

Regardless of how one refers to those years, I can confidently say that I developed interests in those four years that I held on to for quite substantial periods of my life. 

One of my most in-depth obsessions began around my fourth-grade year: my hyper-fixation with the pop music singer, Ariana Grande. After watching one of my favorite childhood TV shows, Victorious, and further researching the cast, I discovered Ariana Grande’s chart-topping discography and decided that I wanted her—at the time—three albums to characterize my life.

I loved virtually everything about Ariana Grande, from all of her songs to the minor roles she played in films, and could practically recite her entire life story to anyone willing to listen. While, looking back, my hyper-fixation was a tad odd, I continued to consider myself one of her most devoted fans up until I was about fourteen and a half years old.

As the reality of entering high school approached me, I no longer constantly shuffled my “Every Single Ariana Grande Song” playlist daily, as I had in the past. By that point, I had come to know each and every track associated with her as if I had written them myself, and it began to feel like a chore to listen to my favorite musician’s music. Perhaps because I was growing tired of listening to the same ten hours of music, or possibly because I had found alternate artists whose music drew me in more, Ariana Grande slowly faded out of my listening habits.

When I reflect on my preteen years, a concrete facet of the eleven-year-old Elle will forever be her fixation with Ariana Grande, and now, there is nothing I can do to change that fact

However, if someone had gone back and told my eleven-year-old self that the fourteen-year-old me no longer listened to Ariana Grande’s discography religiously, I would have been taken aback. If I, at one time, believed myself to be her biggest fan, how was it that I suddenly held little interest in her compositions?

A similar, though less extreme phenomenon took place around my seventh-grade year—my musical theatre addiction. Though I was never much more than a mediocre singer and a subpar dancer, at the time I believed that my future was destined to be characterized by dress rehearsals and Broadway performances. My experience, though limited to summer camps I had attended downtown, transfixed me and fueled my passion for theatre. 

Despite the fact that I was mesmerized by musicals, as high school loomed closer, suddenly I became less devoted to what I believed was my seemingly set-in-stone career path. So much so that I never seriously considered trying out for our high school’s theatre productions, which I had predetermined that I would audition for in middle school. Sure, I still enjoyed Broadway performances, but my obsession abated until it was seemingly no more than a casual interest. 

Now, as a sixteen-year-old, neither Ariana Grande nor musicals compose a significant portion of my everyday life. I’m not sure I’ve genuinely listened to Ariana Grande in years, and I no longer fill my Pinterest boards with her red-carpet looks and music video screenshots. As for musicals, every so often, when I reminisce on the carefree nature I had as a thirteen-year-old, I will shuffle some of the Broadway soundtracks I once held so beloved. Otherwise, I rarely find myself with musical soundtracks playing on repeat in my head, as I once did. 

Regardless of the fact that there is a slim chance I will ever retreat back to the undertakings that consumed my time and energy during my older childhood to early teenage years, I believe that I will always feel like they make up a minor percentage of who I am. Particularly when I reflect on my preteen years, a concrete facet of the eleven-year-old Elle will forever be her fixation with Ariana Grande, and now, there is nothing I can do to change that fact.

For others as well, maybe I will always be seen in the light of faded fascinations. Someone who had only known me at age thirteen from a theatre camp possibly still associates me with solely musicals when they stumble across old photos I appear in, which is perfectly rational.

Nonetheless, even though I would no longer consider myself an “Arianator” or a “theatre kid,” when these topics arise in conversation, I listen as if I still am a member of the respective “fandom”. In my head, part of me is still participating in theatre camps and streaming Ariana Grande, though neither is true in reality.

 I still feel a connection to the childhood interests I once let define me; I’m not quite sure I’m ready to completely let them go even though I am no longer as committed to them as I once was.

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About the Contributor
Elle Manning
Elle Manning, Staff Writer
Elle is a sophomore beginning her first year on The Central Trend. She loves to read novels, create extravagant Pinterest boards, and journal in her seemingly scarce free time. Her biggest passions include writing and fashion, and she hopes to one day be able to combine the two into a future career. She has been a cheerleader since fourth grade and continues to spend her time on the sidelines every football season. In the spring, she enjoys playing tennis, even though she is still learning. She is often found with Spotify open; she loves to listen to music from a variety of different genres and decades. Most recent musical fixation: Weyes Blood Dream school: Columbia University Favorite book: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt Favorite comfort films: All of The Twilight Saga (primarily the first two movies)

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