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Junior High Questions! Pt 1!
Junior High Questions! Pt 1!
Bullying, black eyes, and the chaos of teen social hierarchy.

Tegan, just shy of her 12th birthday, seventh grade.
Sara, just shy of her 12th birthday, seventh grade.


This week we’re trying something new! We left each other voice notes answering two questions we got from Substack Notes about our new graphic novel Junior High, which is out May 30th! So you can listen to the post! Or below is a rough transcript of the audio!

We are going to answer more of your questions about Junior High in written form, video form, and voice note form in the coming weeks! If you have questions about the graphic novel, about our process, about stories that didn’t make the cut, or just want to share your experience of Junior High, leave all that in the comments!


PS: We just announced TWO new Junior High shirts that are available for pre-order in our online store (USA / CAN) to celebrate the release of Junior High! One features us dressing like we did in Junior High – no wait, it was us on Halloween – and the other features Tillie Walden’s incredible illustration from the book. For that one, 50% of the proceeds from the shirt will go directly to the Tegan and Sara Foundation.

Pre Order Now!

Share this post with someone you went to Junior High with!


TEGAN: Things have been pretty busy over here in Tegan and Sara world getting ready for the Crybaby tour and getting ready to put out Junior High, our graphic novel, which is out May 30th, so I had this idea to post on Substack notes and ask people for questions about junior high. So many of you sent so many great questions. So Sara and I are going to tackle them over the next four or five weeks. But I decided to send Sara some via voice note, and just have her respond that way. She's been super, super busy. And I know some of you are really busy, too. So here are just a couple of questions that we got from Substack Notes. Thank you, again, to everyone who submitted the questions. And let us know in the comments if you like this format if you like listening to voice notes, or something a little shorter. Okay, bye.

TEGAN: Hey, so I'm just pulling down these questions from the Substack post on Notes. And here's one for you that I thought you might, like it's related to the black eye on High School, where I give you a black eye, and this person was wondering if we ever actually really gave each other a black eye. I don't think we did. Right? Like we never actually hit each other in the face.

SARA: The answer to that question, which you kind of answered yourself, which I'm not sure if you understand how Question and Answer works, but in any case, no, we did not ever give each other black eyes. And there were times when we fought each other. But I think we generally stayed away from punching each other in the face. That seemed pretty gruesome. Although in the case of the movie poster that we made for Get Along, I had thought there was no reason to be subtle. Hence, the black eye.

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TEGAN: Another person shared that their middle school experience was the most awkward time of their youth. And they had this really stressful memory of a mean girl locker room situation where a boy pushed them into a locker and said, “Are you a boy or girl” because they had short hair. They were a girl. Anyway, the question for us was, “Do we have any traumatizing locker room stories? And or did we have bullies in junior high? And how did we handle it?”

SARA: Junior High was definitely a nightmare. And no we didn't necessarily have bullies in the traditional sense, getting pushed into lockers or called names or that sort of thing there was a kind of psychological warfare that was pretty prevalent among the girls in the school. And we got caught up in that both as friends of those girls, and then kind of as enemies of those girls later on. It's weird, because now when I look back on it, you know, I have a subjectivity that maybe we were also part of the kind of toxic-ness of that time, in our own ways. Like we ended up ditching a lot of our former friends who were sweet and nice, and perhaps not part of the cool clique, but were genuine friends. And then we kind of ghosted them socially, which is its own kind of bullying, I suppose. But the more acute trauma we have or that we share from that time involved girls who, you know, were one day your best friend and the next day, were saying terrible things about you or ignoring you or turning other people against you. And it was completely inexplicable to me, I was just not tuned in to that kind of conflict. I just never was really possessive or jealous or competitive with girls in that way. So everything that was kind of required of us socially to be popular, I think we abandoned that by the midpoint of grade eight, we just kind of let go of the idea that we could make any sense of that social hierarchy. And then we thankfully made new friends in grade nine. It was untenable to continue being friends with that group of girls on those terms. And then by the time we made new friends, it was kind of like, we became a different kind of popular and then everybody from our former group of friends wanted to still be friends with us, but it was a lot more civilized moving forward.

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