Wednesday, September 26, 2012

School of Life

If you read my weekend recap, you saw I ran into an old high school friend.  There has been a lot of high school stuff floating around in my head lately.  There's a reunion coming up and even if I wanted to go (which I don't) we've got other plans that weekend since this is our busy time of year.  A classmate of mine committed suicide in August and it hit me harder than I expected because she was a very positive person and an inspiration to many people.  Then running into him was unexpected but pleasant because he was someone I got along with in high school.  We didn't hang out directly a lot but it was a friend of a friend kind of thing or if there were assemblies, he'd usually be in our vicinity.  He looks good, seems very happy in his life (I remember him as being kind of skittish and unsure of himself back then) and is doing well.  He said something that struck me as he was telling his partner that I was friends with his friend.  He said "the stories I could tell you!  Oh man, crazy!  Remember inter-mural volleyball?"  I laughed and pretended I knew what he was talking about because I just remember goofing off in general but it seemed like maybe he remembered specific things that got purged from my mental rolodex.

It took me back to something I remembered a few weeks ago when a girl I went to high school with but didn't socialize with moved in next door in our duplex.  She introduced herself to my mom and said she went to my high school and my mom asked if she knew me and she said "oh yeah, she wears all black, right?"  I don't know if she thought I was some goth queen or something (though I was into The Cure, Depeche Mode and such in high school but also hair bands.)  When mom told me that, I was kind of taken aback and then thought, "well, I guess I do have 80% black clothes" because that was the time when black = slimming.

I don't know if it's my age or what but it just weirds me out to think people still remember me the way I was in high school when one person's opinion seemed a little more spot on (crazy) and another person just remembered I dressed like Morticia with apparently no personality traits that stuck out.  I cringe to think how everyone else I didn't talk to that much remember me.  I know we all do that though.  I see the people who are attending the reunion and I wince because I literally have one person I'd care to see and I see her a couple times a year.  What it's made me realize is that while high school wasn't a bad experience for me, the really good times I had in those four years were made by a handful of people I could count on two hands, if I'm lucky.  90% of which are not going.  It made me even more concrete in my decision not to go because I'm just not in a place where I need to revisit those people that I tolerated.  If a couple of people I really wanted to see were going, that might be another story if we were free but meh.  I know there will be people that will want to talk me into reconsidering and I'll politely say it's a personal choice and I'm not feelin' it.  I do think I'd like to get together with the guy I ran into and my friend next time she's in town so for me that would count as a reunion.  In the end, I guess I'm just glad that people remember me in any way that doesn't require therapy! Whether I was known for being crazy, dressing in all black or a tough girl (my best friend said she was terrified of me because I was known for "kicking people's asses."  Apparently being tall, wearing a jean jacket and quoting Weird Science by saying "don't threaten me Al, you're out of shape, I'll kick your ahhhhsss" is enough to get you a rep in middle school?), I'd like to think for the most part I did no harm.

I ask myself if my weight is playing a part in this and I can honestly say not the part it played into not going to the reunion 5 years ago.  I was almost at maximum density then and I'm sure they would've started a death pool amongst the classmates to see if I'd be alive by this one.  I'm about 30 lbs higher than I was in high school which is about average of some of the popular snobs that most of us hope have put on a little come reunion time even if no one else is going to admit it or take the high road while secretly giving me an "amen."  I honestly don't know that I would go in another 5 years either.  I'd BETTER be at goal for a few years by then and I just know the way I feel now, I feel like high school has so much more importance placed on it than there should be.  The Mr and I were talking about this the other day.

We're all sold the notion that high school will be the "best years of your life" or the "glory days."  Um, it's 4 years of our lives.  A blip on the radar in comparison to the rest of our life, if we're lucky to live a good long one.  I refuse to believe that raging hormones, over-dramatizing every facet of life whether you mean to or not, trying to live up to other people's expectations of you rather than living up to your own and a host of other things that make that period of time utterly ridiculous are the "best times of my life."  Actually, if I were being honest...NOW is the best time of my life, so far.  I know it will only get better.  I know great things are in store.  Things that make me happy and living in a way that I accept and endorse instead of hanging around people who are waiting to be accepted and endorsed by people who will never talk to them again after high school.  (I was pretty big on the take me or leave me attitude in high school and if you left me, no skin off my rump.)

I know the world (especially the online kind) is a whole other level of high school to some degree because you do find those same cliques, hair twirling popular girls and bullies who try to bring you down but then you realize that there are far more people like you guys.  Wonderful, supportive people that are happy for your successes and comforting in your challenges.  People that remind you what you mean to them even when you're not sure if anything you say in real or online life falls on deaf ears.  People who have never met you yet they root for you because they believe in you and remind you to believe in yourself.  That is the reunion I want to attend.

Do you go to your high school reunions?  Why or why not?  What would you tell your high school self knowing what you know now?

====================
Like this post? Don't miss another one...subscribe via email or RSS feed. Prefer Facebook? Come like my Facebook page.

43 comments:

  1. My school was so, so small that the town does a reunion every five years. I don't go to my HS reunions for a couple of reasons. I live on the opposite side of the country from where I grew up, so that's a factor. Also, I weigh DOUBLE what I weighed in HS, and I'm embarrassed. I already keep in touch with the people who really mattered to me, so I don't feel like I'm missing out when that time of the year rolls around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do the same as far as keeping in touch with people who really mattered (well until 2 of them seriously wronged me then ties cut). When I see the list of people going it's like "yep, same people running the show just like back in the day."

      Delete
  2. I have never gone to a reunion and never will. The two people who meant anything to me (in a real way) from high school are STILL my friends to this day and I talk to them (via email) regularly. So there is no need to pay a fee to go to some crappy hall in the crappy town I grew up in to nibble crappy food and feel awkward around folks I don't give two shits about.

    That was blunt but the god's truth.

    While I'm being honest, there is exactly ONE person from high school who I would be curious to see now, mostly just to know he's still alive and doing well. But I doubt he'd be the type to go to a reunion either (which is why I liked him so well in high school).

    I'd never go to my spouse's reunions either (if he wanted to, which he never has).

    I think a lot of the hype of high school being the best time of your life is perpetuated by popular culture. We watch movies/tv about how fabulous (or not) it was and it infects our actual memories making them either better/worse.

    You can see it very clearly with the popularity (if you will) of "bullying". Bullying (on some level) existed since the dawn of time but only now is it the cause of the moment, so now pretty much everyone you talk to claims they were horribly bullied as a kid. But it's just not mathematically possible for everyone to be horribly bullied. I'd wager everyone gets minor bullying (called a name here or there, that kind of thing) but because we hear more horror stories, it contaminates our memories.

    (and for the record, I got my share of minor bullying and I bullied a bit myself--the worst bullying I ever did was to a girl who was my friend--we had a minor falling out and I got mean about it but we sorted it out. More folks need to admit they did their share of bullying).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I ever bullied anyone, I don't remember doing so intentionally because I had close friends who were bullied and I hated it with a passion (and didn't accept it either when it was attempted to be inflicted on me). The only time I can remember doing something to someone else that could be considered "threatening" was when I found out a girl at work wanted to take the Mr from me and I found out she went to my school. He couldn't stand her so I marched in to her homeroom my last week of school and told her basically stay away. That's as far as I'll go with that. She didn't talk to him again. :)

      Delete
  3. I don't want to go to my 20th high school reunion. I would have to see people I don't want to remember. Not that it was all bad. It's in the past, and I'm ok with that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed...the past doesn't always have to be revisited.

      Delete
  4. I haven't been to any of mine so far and don't intend to go. Heck, I didn't even want to go to graduation. As far as I was concerned high school was over, mail me my diploma. I wasn't even invited to my 10 or 20 year reunion. I assume they had one, but I don't live in the same town anymore so I don't actually know.

    There's only one person from high school I'm still in contact with and she wasn't in my graduating class. I'll admit to a curiosity factor about what some of my high school friends are up to now, and I wouldn't mind reconnecting with some of them. Then again,if I really wanted to track them down I could always make a Facebook page and they'd probably be there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, trust me, if you make a FB page, they will come. This is why I blocked the people I have mine locked down like Fort Knox, don't list my high school, etc. I can see pretty much all I need to know from creepin' on FB and so far, no desire to reconnect with anyone.

      Delete
  5. Well I guess I am in the minority (again) I went to the 20th. Enjoyed it alot. Small town girl, and I guess by then we had all outgrown our "childishness" Was nice to see people I have not seen in years. The best part was looking around and my DH saying to me "Man I am glad we don't look this old?" (OK so not all the childishness is gone) LOl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen some people from high school online and showed the Mr and said "holy crap, do I look that old!?" He assures me I don't. But yeah some people do not age well.

      Delete
  6. Haven't been to a reunion because I've never received an invitation, even when my mother was alive and still living in the house I grew up in. Can't say that I have any desire to go to one, but it's irritating that they "can't" find me to send an invitation when it's time--obviously I was not part of the circle that organizes these. I lost touch with most people from HS until I reconnected with a few on Facebook, and I've had the chance to get together with one of my best friends from HS in person. There are only a handful of people I would be interested in seeing, and I'm in touch with most of them; I don't need a reunion with mostly people I didn't hang out with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh, yeah it's not like they couldn't have found you. I think a lot of people expect that you'll get in touch with the popular people arranging the event and give them your info too. Yeah, like I want any of my former classmates knowing where I live.

      Amen, me either!

      Delete
  7. Every time I go to my kids school, it's a high school reunion. Apparently, we've all moved back after college. I have a lot of GREAT memories from HS, but as time presses on, and this journey continues, a lot of NOT so great memories have begun surfacing. I've only attended one reunion, and that was my 5yr. I'm pretty sure everyone came back for that one, but I haven't been to one since. I'm not "friends" with anyone I went to HS with, and now, they're just my kids- friends- moms. We attend bday parties, school functions, karate and gymnastics together, but we don't hang out. My REAL friends were made in college, and there are only 2 of them I choose to keep in contact with. Maybe I'M the sucky friend, I don't know. I'm pretty sure if I could tell my HS or even college self something, I guess it would be that this is only one moment in time, and good or bad, it will end. So take advantage of it or learn form it. But I guess that's my OLD ASS talking and not the fun 20 something, right?!? How do you tell a KID anything anyway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, I think that would irritate me especially if it was people I didn't care for. I'd be tempted to ask the kids what the house looks like inside or if they see anything weird. LOL

      Delete
  8. I dont really care for HS reunions or college reunions. In INdia, we study 4 years of college in the same major and same group..I keep in touch with a few close ones, the others dont even acknowledge group emails..Most of them didnt even reply "congrats" to my wedding invite. I invited them just to keep them posted..Bleh!! Well as u said some people still behave like high school kids..I dont need to attend one of the reunions to go thru what i go thru in every walk of life..lol...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, like it would've taken so long to just say "congrats" or wish you well. Jerks!

      Delete
  9. Never gone, never will. High school was definitely the worst of times for me. I was heavy then (although I am heavier now). I was one of the "smart" ones and only bumped against the periphery of the "cool" kids through a girl who transferred in our sophomore year. I don't know why she liked me back then, but we've kept in touch over the years. But people change and frankly I would not like her if I just met her today. Several people I knew in HS have friended me on FB and most of them didn't give me the time of day back then. I do think I would go to a college reunion if I knew some friends were going but it's pretty far away from where I live now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I refuse to friend people from high school that never bothered with me back then. I added someone that I worked with when I was a teenager and the way she lived her life was SOOO different from when I knew her. The more she posted, the less I liked her and it was clear she now had issues. I quietly defriended her after a seriously offensive post. It just goes to show that people do change from high school/teen years and not always for the better. :(

      Delete
  10. First off..phenomenal blog, sista! The best years of your life...hahaha well I guess for some it probably was, and the rest of the existence is pretty sad. There was a girl that I went to school with the whole 12 years. We were besties until 5th grade. In 5th grade, our school merged with the other town schools and all of a sudden I wasn't pretty or cool enough anymore and certainly not rich enough. I became a chubby teenager just trying to fit in and get along while she exceled at everything, even becoming the desireable prom queen. Well life moves on past high school. She went on to marry a very rich banker who cheated on her and left her and she got really really fat. I will tell you the truth and say that everytime I see her picture on facebook, I smile. Just not inwardly, but outwardly. Karma. Karma, karma, karma.

    But one question you asked, what would I tell myself if I could go back. I would tell myself that being the person I've always wanted to be isn't hard. It's actually not bad at all. I would tell myself to get up off the couch, dust the dorito dust off my butt, put the coca cola down, and go for a walk. Just start walking. Then push yourself harder. Don't wait until you're in your mid thirties to start living! Life is too short, don't waste your teens and your twenties wishing you looked differently. It's so doable! You can do it. You can. You will. You have. So why wait?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, it's hard not to smile a bit when someone who tortured your friends or was a jerk in school or whatever looks a little worse for wear. ;) There's one guy in my class who was notorious for bullying fat girls to the point of dropping out. I pray he is huge now and gets some of what he dished out back in the day.

      Delete
  11. As far as I know, and I would know because I stay in touch with two of my best friends who still live in the same small town, my class hasn't had a reunion in the last twenty years or more. I didn't go then because I lived all the way across the country. In the intervening years, I may not have gone if they had held one because of the weight I gained, I'm not sure. Now I would, even though I'm still quite a bit heavier than I was in high school. I would go because based on the few people I've seen since then when visiting back home, I look younger than any of them, bwahahahaha. Oh, yeah, high school still lives in most of us I'd say, even 46 years later. Hmm, guess I'd better get the last 25 pounds off before they take it into their heads to do a 50-year.

    BTW, my mother went to her high school reunion (class of 1940) a couple of years ago, and one of her classmates ended up wanting to date her, almost to the point of stalking. Do the math, people, and then enjoy the chuckle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hee hee, go on with your young self! It's always interesting to see who looks pretty much the same and who is like "Ahhh!!! What happened!?" That is so funny, your mama got hit on! Not funny it borderlined stalking!

      Delete
  12. I am going to my 20 year reunion next weekend with my best friend. We were two peas in a pod all the way through, we even got suspended together. Neither of our husbands want to go so I'm driving, her crazy ass is drinking. I didn't really like high school and certainly don't think it was the best years of my life, but I have over the years met up with quite a few of my high school classmates and they are not quite the douchebags they used to be. I guess responsiblity for your actions changes some people for the better. We'll see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well if you got suspended together, it only makes sense you should go together! :)

      Delete
  13. My high school was closed down 2 years ago, so I don't think we will ever have a reunion. I went to a small Christian school and only had 23 people in my graduating class, many of us had been together since kindergarten. However, I was always overweight and painfully shy,so I never really got close to anyone. Even my friends didn't really know me very well.
    When I think of high school and college I think of a lot of hard lessons I have learned. I didn't make any lasting friendships, I didn't learn how to be a good student, I didn't really let me be me, I didn't have fun. I also went through two eating disorders (anorexia followed by binge eating disorder). I feel like I wasted a lot of time
    Luckily by the time I entered graduate school I had learned my lessons! Now I am married, I have a wonderful group of close friends,and we have some awesome memories. I am still struggling with my weight and confidence, but I have come a long way, and I am working every day to be healthier and happier.
    I'm pretty sure my high school classmates would be totally shocked at how much I have changed. Especially if they could talk to me now. I think that is pretty cool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They just knocked our high school down so no roaming the halls nostalgia for us either. You would make jaws drop baby!

      Delete
  14. My 30th reunion is this weekend. Yea, 30 years, how did that happen? I have gone to most of the reunions and have discovered that, except for a few friends, most people don't remember me. What is exciting about this weekend is that there is also a multi-year reunion band concert. Yes, I was a band geek back in high school - played the bassoon (which increases the geek by a factor of 7). However, I am very excited to see fellow band people and get a chance to play under the direction of our director back then.
    Was high school the best time of my life? Heck no - college was way better. I felt more comfortable in my skin in college - in fact more comfortable than I do today (some days). I would tell myself back in high school that I was in a good place and had good friends and not to get all crazy about boys - cause they suck in high school. And not to get all intimidated by the "popular/pretty/well dressed/snotty" girls. I would also tell myself that I was nice and funny and quirky and to not be embarassed that I was.
    Great timing on the blog - as I have been ruminating about this for the past few days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That band concert sounds like fun! My friend and the guy I ran into were in band. I wonder if they've considered doing the same kind of thing.

      Delete
  15. No, I don't go to my high school reunions and I was "popular" back in the day whatever the hell that means. But really, I didn't like the people then and I have nothing in common with them now, so why go? I was a teen mom, so there was a lot of judging and a lot of "you guys (me and hubby) will never make it". Well, 24 years later and going stronger than most anybody...take that people! The reality is that I saw my "best friend" from school on the 4th of July and it definitely made me realize that I could care less about what high school meant. So I'm definitely with you there - nowhere near the "best years of life".

    If I could go back to my younger self and tell her something, I would let her know to not take high school and all the drama so seriously. Real life is NOTHING like HS. I would also tell myself to be true to who I am regardless of what others think...being popular isn't as important as some make it seem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man, I would be tempted to go just to show "HA! Eff you! We DID make it you jerks!" I kind of feel that way when we see the in-laws because I know 3/4 of his family were hexing us to split up and when we walk in so happy it's kind of the best revenge.

      Delete
  16. I went to my 25th reunion, but was conflicted on going because my desire to go was really for all the wrong reasons. The people I was friends with or who want to be my friend now communicate with me regularly on FB and in real life and there aren't very many. My life will go on if I don't know anything else about other high school classmates, and I assume their lives would be ok not knowing what happened to me. At my high school alumnae are a big deal, especially the successful ones. So, I went for some of the activities of our reunion but missed the class-only get-together, which I do regret. Everyone at the event I missed shared what they were doing now. And about 2 months after the reunion, one of our classmates that was there committed suicide. It was a small school and this was the first person in our class to die.
    Aren't all reunions about the comparisons - how much weight has everyone lost or gained, how successful or unsuccessful has everyone been? Our friends are the people we stay in touch with and meet up with by choice. I will probably go to another reunion, for the amusement factor if nothing else. Perhaps the next time I will be thinner than in high school and in awesome shape!
    I did make life-long friends in high school and it was one of the best experiences for giving me the foundation for who I am. What would I tell my high school self? Pursue the things that interest you. Take a chance.
    The other part of your post that interested me was about people's perception of you. This is something I've experienced also. We don't all have the same memories of the same event or time period.
    Very thought provoking post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, reunions are all about comparisons which is probably why I don't care to participate. I don't want to be tempted to judge and don't care to be judged.

      Delete
  17. My 10 year reunion just happened and I had no desire to go. Most times I run into someone from high school the experience is rather awkward, dull or disappointing.

    On the black clothes though- I admit I had a decent amount of black clothing and stuff (book bag, notebook etc) in middle school. It had a lot to do with simply going against the idea that girls like pink. It wasn't until I was 20 that I found out that there were rumors that apparently lasted for years that I was goth, or into witchcraft or any other thing that 13 year old imaginations could attach to the color black.

    I also ran into an older sibling of someone I went to school with once and she was like "Oh yeah! You're the girl who wore black all the time!" It took me a minute to even realize what she was referring to. I had never considered that a designation for myself. I have a feeling if I had worn a lot of blue, no one would've remembered!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that funny? People don't care to get to know you enough to wonder why you wear all black (rebelling, looking to hide some weight, etc) and assume you're a witch, goth (emo) or a "hood." So funny/weird.

      Delete
  18. I totally relate to your desire to not go to your class reunions. I have not gone to any of mine, nor do I care to. I only had a handful of friends back then and secretly I'm afraid that if I go, people would wonder who I was. Not because my looks or weight have changed so much since then but because I'm pretty sure I was invisible to most people then. Its true. I tolerated my 4 years (not all completely bad either) but I don't think I made a huge mark on anyone there. Actually thinking about high school gives me a little anxiety. I am sooo much happier with my life right now, why would I want to relive 4 years of invisibility?

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've never once considered going to a reunion, the people I care about from high school are still in my life 27 years later. I do wish sometimes that I had been more involved in things back then but just didn't have the gonads to do so.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I went to my 20th because facebook got be back in touch with people that I wanted to see. Otherwise, meh.

    Justemily.blog.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have never attended a reunion - my 30th was last year. I had considered going and then FB came along and I decided from most of their musings that really I didn't want to re-connect with them. I was never "connected' with them in high school- a handful of them yes but for the most part I just endured that four years of my life. I'm a different person now and the meaningless BS of the whole popularity( even with FB) thing just doesn't float this chic's boat.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh high school.....the time where everybody was super awkward. Here's my thoughts on reunions, they are only put together so people can brag about how their lives are better than someone else's. Much like it was in high school. I run into people I went to high school with fairly often and they never recognize me. So maybe I'll go to my 10 year and just sit in the corner and see how many people know who I am. Lol. They will all probably still be looking for the 300lb girl with short blue hair dressed in a band tee, who they all thought was a lesbian. Not the girl who is 150lbs lighter, long hair, and has one smoking hot hubby. Haha.

    I talk to the one girl I liked in high school....forget the other 34 people. :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I feel sorry for anyone who considers high school to be the best years of their life. And yes, I say this fully knowing that may people feel that way. But really, isn't it depressing to think that your life peaked at 16?!

    I only wore black in high school and lots of band shirts (definitely some Depeche Mode & Cure t-shirts!). It wasn't awful, but I was miserable and terribly depressed. People from back then are always surprised that I'm not still that way, which is weird to me, but so many of them haven't changed much since high school, so I guess they expect that of everyone else too?

    ReplyDelete
  24. I went to my high school reunion and the funniest thing was catching up with people and seeing how different they were now. Several people I remember as jerks were were now human beings. And how different I was to them (or how wrong their impression of me was). Most guessed that I was a librarian or scientist now (being studious then) and I got a big kick out of telling them I work in public relations.
    Of course some were still dinks, full of themselves but I took satisfaction in ignoring them/brushing them off.

    ReplyDelete
  25. High School was a horrendous experience for me for the most part and when I left, I left for good. I had no desire to go to any of the reunions, although I often thought of some of the really nice people I knew at one point. I've worked really hard to get rid of the sticky tape that seemed to keep me stuck in the past because it was just such a brutal upbringing. Lord knows I still bear the scars (literally), but I get stronger and more at peace with myself as time goes by. One of the best decisions I ever made was to move away to Arizona. We ended up coming back to this state, but now I live a comfortable 75 miles away from "the memories". That's the main reason I don't do social media at all...school and certain family members. My privacy is so important to me and anyone I need to be in contact with I do via email or phone. My friends crack up at me because I'm the only person they know who doesn't even have a voicemail option on my cell phone (the phone and the plan are that old...plus my phone still has an antenna. Yep, I said it). The social awkwardnesses of yesteryear are still so prevalent in my mind, and still cause those scars to flare up bright and red on occasion. So no reunions for me...high school or family! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I,too, skipped this year's class reunion b/c there were 3 people I wanted to see. We 4 (and our families) got together for the weekend instead!!! No class reuinion but we got our time together!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment! I appreciate thoughtful readers like you! If your comment doesn't show up right away, check back in a few minutes. I promise it'll get posted. The system can get a little glitchy. (Rude or spammy comments will be deleted. Fair warning.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...