Sunday, August 17, 2008

I survived my high school reunion

And yes, I feel very secure in my life choices :)

To be honest, my head is kind of jumbled about the entire experience so you'll have to forgive if this post is a little all over the place.


So last night I arrived fashionably late to my high school reunion, which was held at a "Chinese-American sports bar" near the ballpark and a cemetery. What makes a sports bar "Chinese-American?" Apparently it's if the bar serves Chinese food, along with traditional bar food. We had a fine feast of cheese, veggies and crackers, along with egg rolls, mozzarella marinara and meatballs. Random much?

When I arrived at the reunion, I must have looked nervous because the greeter girls from my 1998 class were very fake-sweet to me and the first thought running through my head as they looked me up and down was, "damn you guys got fat." Awful I know. 

This may be a surprise to some, but I get very shy in social situations like this. Normally I'm very assured and talkative, but last night I felt like it was the first day of school...again. 

Since high school, about 90 percent of my class moved back to my hometown so they all see each other on occasion and those of us who moved out of state kind of fit in where we can. I moved past a lot of my old high school drama and issues but being around these people again brought all of the insecurities back up. I was awkward and uncomfortable and somewhat hesitant to talk to some of my classmates because after 10 years, what was there to really say?

I was fortunate to catch up with a few friends, and one of them now lives in Chicago, so if nothing else, I realized last night who I should make a bigger effort to keep in touch with now that I've seen them in person.

Sadly, I did not get as many "Jess you look amazing" comments I kind of hoped for, but a few people said that so something is better than nothing :)

And another guy told me I was "brave" for living in Chicago. Apparently he wouldn't let his woman go off and live in the big city, so despite his hotness, we will not be dating.

Here are some other notable things about the evening:
  • Most of the "popular, pretty" women are still popular (with each other) and pretty, bummer
  • All of the women who had big careers plans, such as medicine, law or business are now all stay-at-home-moms and the women who just wanted to be married and moms are now in great jobs and are unmarried (me included)
  • Just about everyone in my class smokes now, which made me smell like an ashtray by the time I left
  • The obnoxious women from high school are still a pain and tried to hold on to their "high school glory," which just makes them look like an ass 10 years later. Last night there was a lot of "wooing" and one woman tried to put the mascot uniform on while her catty friends hovered around with cameras. That was cue to start gathering up my stuff
Finally, I wanted to share the best quote I heard all night, courtesy of a girl I was pretty good friends with in high school. With her husband standing next to her, she comments, "yeah I think about divorcing him [her husband] all the time, but why should I settle for part of the paycheck when I can get the whole thing?"

I had zero idea what to say in response, especially when she proceeded to tell me how much of his current wages she would garnish in child support. That's when I excused myself for another drink. But around midnight, people who had to engage in on-the-surface small talk were growing tired of straining for conversation topics (myself included) so I called it a night.

So as I walked back to my car about midnight with a belly full of MGD and a serious desire to go to sleep, I'm still glad I went and got to see a lot of the people I went to high school with. It's an experience I highly recommend to anyone, even if it's just to say you went once.

In the end, I wasn't sure what to expect in going and my thought that I would have some kind of epiphany or revelation while there didn't happen either. I'm still happier and better off than I was in high school, so if nothing else, I got to show them that and find that many of the "misguided" choices I thought I made in the last 10 years, put me in a better place than some others who made them as well.

Trust me, when you've been the butt of teasing and bullying, there is nothing more satisfying than being asked by your torturer what you do and seeing the look of defeat on their face when you tell them and they nicely say back, "wow that's great, good for you." And they mean it because they know they peaked at 18.

Woo hoo, class of 1998!!

33 comments:

Dan Mega said...

Oh man. Some of the lines in this one are freaking classic. Peaking at 18- I love this one.

I hope my 10 year, which happens next year, is as epic.

Mandy said...

I enjoyed the peaking at 18 too! LOL. Glad that you had a nice time. And the Chinese-American sports bar? Yeah, thats incredibly random, but there is somethine appealing about it.LOL

TKTC said...

This is kind've everything I thought it would be. We miss you Saturday though and talked about you with strong affection! Coffee Clutch tomorrow!

Rachel said...

I am seriously doing a couple shots because I have NO clue what to expect. I'm trying to get enough people to read my blog so I don't have to do small talk, we can go straight to how cute my kid is ;)

Glad you walked out of there knowing you turned out awesome....and you didn't even have to tell anyone that you invented post-its (I'm totally watching that before I go)

Renee said...

I'm sincerely looking forward to my 10 year so I can shove my successes in the faces of the popular crowd (who all ended up pregnant and marrying one another)... even if my successes are limited to "getting out of Indiana" and "not have children in junior high already."

veganmama said...

My ten-year was in 2001, and I'm still reeling from it -- mine was *three days long* (everything is bigger in Texas?) and the classic things that happened:

1. No one recognized me or asked who I was until Day Two, because I looked *that* different (I was overweight in high school and had lost about 50 pounds).

2. The former captain of the football team was all over me until a country song came on and I didn't remember how to two-step. For shame!

3. (My favorite) An ex-boyfriend said to me, "It must be fabulous to live in a city where things of such international importance happen." Uh, sure. Because that hog futures market in Chicago has such impact on the world.

In any case, glad you had the experience and this makes me look forward to my 20-year, which is (gulp) coming up relatively soon.

SF said...

I wonder what mine is gonna be like....u go girl

susankellogg said...

I'm so fond of such meetings with former class or collegemates. But sometimes I feel uneasy with those whom I haven't seen for ages.

Wickedly Scarlett said...

This was a really interesting reunion recap--I can't believe your friend said that to you about her husband! How insanely awkward... Colby had to miss his 10 year reunion this summer because of his deployment and I honestly am not sure I want to make the effort and spend the money to get back for mine in another couple of years. I do love reading about them though in a fascinated voyeur kind of way!

Maris said...

Peaking at 18? I'm still waiting to peak!

MORE importantly - how was the outfit? We want pictures! :)

ToughGirl101 said...

ouch. How the mighty have fallen. Seriously, talking about divorcing the husband right in front of him... AWKWARD! Any chance she was kidding at all? I almost can't wait for my High School reunion. I wanted to be an officer in the Army, and I am. I wanted to write, and I'm blogging. Yeah... I'm 2 for 2 on that one! WOO!

Maxie said...

I hope at my 10 year I can say the same. My 5 year (next year) is going to be so horribly boring though. Maybe I wont even go- lol

Alexa said...

well im glad you survived it!! and that you could show um how a cool, smart city girls works it.

was the outfit a success?

laurwilk said...

Sounds like fun! I still see most everyone from high school back in our hometown over the holidays. It is always interesting!

I'll have to plan my 10 year reunion in about 4 years. Want to share some planning tips?

laurwilk said...

Sounds like fun! I still see most everyone from high school back in our hometown over the holidays. It is always interesting!

I'll have to plan my 10 year reunion in about 4 years. Want to share some planning tips?

...love Maegan said...

I don't know how you did it! You are brave!

I ran into some friends from high school Saturday night and wanted to kill myself ...my first thought always is "if I wanted to know how you were doing, I would have KEPT IN TOUCH!" ...but maybe I"m an asshole :)

Cheryl said...

Wow. Still don't know if I want to go to mine, but it kind of sounds like reunion=exactly what I thought it would.

Glad you left feeling so good about you and your life. Really, how could you not?

Stephanie said...

I think you mean "epiphary". :)

I felt nervous just reading about your experience. I'm glad everything turned out alright. Isn't it sort of sad when you meet up with old friends and realize that you really don't have anything in common any more?

Oh well, I still have 5 years to even worry about mine.

lifeintheleftlane said...

I'm glad it turned out so well! The "popular" kids always make me laugh. They are the ones who still live in their same small towns and will never leave. Good for you for branching out!

Angela said...

Aw good! I'm glad you went and at least had a fairly good time. I think it's always good to catch up with people you used to see every day and see how everyone's lives have changed!

EP said...

I'm happy you went and that you had a good(ish) time seeing old classmates. I'm horribly curious about how my 10 year will be, and I know deep down that it will be similar to this. Popular girls will still be popular with themselves. People who were jerks might not have anything going for them now. ... It'll be interesting, if nothing else.

Miss Grace said...

There were 11 people in my graduating class, so I'm not sure that there will be any forthcoming reunions.

megkathleen said...

Well, you have me reconsidering whether I should go to mine or not. I feel the same way as you about high school so maybe I would get some satisfaction from going...

Vanessa said...

I think we all get that "first day of school" feeling at reunions. The food choice sounds like an identity crisis worthy of high school though.

Tipp said...

I am glad you got your time to see that you have become such a great person. Sometimes it is a nice reminder that we chose the right path in life.

Erin said...

My 10 year is next year. I can't believe it. I'm excited to go though and show how successful I've become. Not looking forward to the drama that goes along with graduating from an all-girls high school, though.

Blaez said...

just sayin hi! glad you had fun. i'll be missing mine...not that i really wanted to go anyways. we class of 98 folks rock anyways! wether we make our reunions or not.

i still see 80% of the folks i went to HS with on myspace (gods cursed place it is) and like you said: most of them are opposite of what they wanted to achieve and i'm definatly alot better off than they are, even if i hate chicago sometimes and i'm divorced as well as most of them. atleast i can say i moved beyond working at Tyson in our podunk shit of a town in Arkansas.

i love to sit back and laugh at my tormentors. one in particular is such a drama mamma and now hideiously fat with 2 kids and abusive alchoholic husband, etc and she can't hold down a job because she's lame.

anyways! sorry.....just leaving it with hi. diahrea of the mouth/fingers over here.

Maggie said...

Don't know if its 'legal' to ask, but did you go to one of the Tosa schools? I graduated from Pius in 98. My reunion is in a couple of weeks...in the school gym. LAME! But folks are going, so I'll be there. Yeh.

Lauren said...

Yeah! I'm glad you survived and it went relatively well. I'm sure many people were impressed with how far you've gotten in life. I'm kind of scared for mine, but excited nonetheless. I was the dork. Now, well, i'm still the dork. :P

Jamie Lovely said...

Honestly, I really don't think I'd go to my high school reunion. Not because I was tormented or because I was unpopular. I was we liked and everyone knew me.

Everyone I went to high school is fine with staying in small neighborhood and never meeting anyone else besides their high school clique.

I want so much more than that.

~Angela~ said...

Yikes. I hope my 10-year (Class of 2002, so I've got a few years) makes as great of a post as this did. I also hope I'm still blogging then. And a successful actor. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Kayleigh said...

This totalllly made me cringe. But not because of your performance, but just because I know EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN. I was too scared to go to my 5 year, and maybe I'll have the guts to attend the 10 year. However? Not so sure. Because I doubt that anyone will be really different, or normal. I don't know what hte hell it is, but high school people are absolute bitches of human beings, even if they are normal to people in real life. It's a phenomenon that I do not care to figure out.

Congrats on both attending and surviving.

Athena Valentine said...

I did not have a very good high school experience myself. And I have changed alot since high school in a good way! I'm also from a small town and I live in a way bigger city now so it's kinda ironic to go home and visit and see alot of people still there. Props to you! Your my role model for when mine comes up. :)