So my 10-year high school reunion is set to be in Wisconsin in August, on a Saturday at a bar on the west side of town (which I find somewhat interesting yet fitting), and for $25 I can relive all the painful anxiety and low self-esteem emotions that made three of my four high schools years awful. Ah the memories, me with thick glasses, baggy clothes, braces, big boobs, long blonde hair, my ears fully pierced and making it through each day with one thought: "I can't wait to get the f*ck out of here and away from these people."
I don't want to misrepresent this, but high school wasn't all painful. My senior year of high school was literally the best year ever. Had my first kiss, first real "boyfriend" and date, got contacts, started to not be afraid of my breasts and body and the biggest coup, I was a forensics, a.k.a. debate rock star. Medals, first-place trophies, recognition and jealousy from my teammates, including my former best friend. I drank that shit up like it was wine and I wanted bathe in it. Suddenly the chubby, petite girl got kind of better looking and was good at something, wha????
Oh the chance to see them all again, especially the guy I crushed on for all four years of high school, who conveniently lost his virginity to my former best friend on her couch because "they were feeling horny one night." Ah high school, misty water-color memories. Ironically, he went on to pursue "music" at college and illegal substances so I think I got the better end of that stick in the long run.
A lot of things have changed in ten years and thanks to Facebook, I've been able to follow many of my old classmates, many of which fall into one of three categories:
- Unmarried with a kid (some with multiple kids)
Fortunately, I seem to fall in the outlier category from this: single, working and content.
I'm not surprised that most of my old classmates ended up back in Wisconsin, living in the city we all grew up in. One old classmate, who recently friended me on Facebook, was so excited for me that I was living in the big city and said it was brave. BRAVE? Maybe to them it is, but to me, it's second nature. It's interesting to see how you grow up and away from the people you once held so close to you. Even relationships with family members have changed in that time. Some I've grown closer to and some I've drifted away from for better and worse.
And thinking about this reunion has prompted me to start taking a trip down memory lane, looking at pictures of me and seeing how dramatically different I am now from the timid, insecure and scared girl I was before. Heck if I look dramatically different from a picture that's two years old and posted outside my work cube, imagine what has changed in 10 years? Some of the funniest memories I recounted while looking back include smoking my first cigarette outside the mall with a friend of mine, thinking we were so "bad ass" and how I smoked cloves at the bowling alley "lying" that it was from someone else. And who could forget sipping a screwdriver from someone's thermos, again thinking I was "bad to the bone."
But as I look back at the girl who was 18, miserable and at a huge crossroads in her life, personally and emotionally, I look back at her and the 28-year-old me would tell her this if I could:
You will be okay and all this confusion and insecurity will work itself out. Be strong and don't let the bumps you're about to go through and the heartache you'll encounter break your spirit. You are strong and you will make it through.
And I can imagine the 18-year-old me would look at me (timidly), initially say nothing and then say something like, "well I'm glad it works out, sort of, but damn you're kind of mean." Grow up girl.
So yeah, what the hell, I'll pay $25 to see some people I used to crush on and feel insecure around. I have a feeling it'll be more of a self-esteem boost and "life choices" affirmation than anything else. Woo hoo! Class of 1998!!