Monday, September 13, 2010

going back

my twenty-year high school reunion is this weekend. until about seven days ago, i had not even considered going. when i graduated, i left and never looked back. though i did go teach in the same high school from which i had graduated, but that's a different story.

as i have been thinking about what to wear (do you have any idea how stressful it is for a work-at-home mom to suddenly have to buy a cocktail dress? what is that?), about who i will see, about what i will talk about, about whether i will dance or sit still, i have been thinking, "no one will even remember me. no one will care about asking how i've been."

and i am not saying that in a feel-sorry-for-myself kind of way. more because i attended three different high schools before i graduated. so i always feel out of place in those conversations about "where are you from" and "what school did you go to."

i moved to this small town in virginia when i was 15, right before my junior year. i went on a church trip before school started, and that helped me meet new people. in general, i hate meeting new people. i think i'm bad at it (though i've been told as an adult that i'm pretty decent at it). i generally assume no one will really want to know me, want to know the "real" me anyway.

my junior year, i took a year off from band and just was a "normal" student. (those of you who were in band will understand what i'm talking about.) it was boring. i didn't have a natural in-group. so my senior year, i joined, and even though there were only about 35 of us (i told you it was a small town) and we sounded totally pathetic, i ended up leading the band as drum major.

i was bossy in high school. prudish. judgmental. bookish. pious. academically competitive. a know-it-all. all the while, i desperately wanted to be popular. to fit in. to have the "preps" include me.

naturally i assumed that at a reunion no one would even notice if i was there or not. i probably had a lot of enemies. well, maybe not enemies. but probably a lot of people who thought i was, well, a stuck-up bitch.

in contemplating this spur-of-the-moment decision to attend the reunion, i have come to realize though that my only enemy was me. and i think this is true of everyone with whom i went to high school. i mean, we were all teenagers. we didn't know who we were. now most of us have families of our own, we have wrinkles, we have muffin tops (though mine is slowly shrinking thanks to my workout program and diet--can i just say i would have started this a few months ago had i ever planned on going to this thing?!). we don't have time to be petty anymore because we are too busy living our lives, dealing with the real world.

at least that's how i hope it will be. maybe revisiting this part of my past will help me move a little closer toward learning to accept myself, past, present, future.


  1. I think that you will have a good time. And I am sure that your memories are magnified only to you. Do you know how insecure most of us were in high school. Even the ones who "had it all together?" Plus, you are going to knock them out with that awesome dress! :)

  2. I don't have much to say having been homeschooled except that I only know one person with a cocktail dress "on hand" and she sings opera. Have fun!

  3. I bet you will have a great time. I always felt like a bit of an outsider and wished I attended a more artistic school. You know I was in the band in the first year and then towards the end I was a cheerleader. Though I never really identified myself through those things there is such stigmas. Well who a person is now is so different and you never know who you might connect with and maybe even make some new/old friends. Have fun

  4. love that pic of you. you expressed the pre-reunion angst beautifully. Please let us know how it goes!

  5. At my 20 year last year, our two co-chairs drank too much and cried in their hotel room because no one was dancing. Sadly they were the two of the ones who had obviously dieted and tanned excessively to try to look 18 again. My friends and I (the bookish types, with preschoolers and rather fresh muffin tops!) had a great time reuniting and catching up. Hope you have a fantasitic time! Enjoy!