Saturday, May 26, 2012

Missing my twenty year

That is a picture of me my senior year of high school. I look at that photo now, and see a pretty young girl, but at the time I despised myself. High school was not a fun time for me, in fact it was downright miserable.

My mom, sister and I (on the right)
This weekend is my twenty year reunion in Madison Wisconsin. Needless to say, I decided not to go. When whispers of the event first started happening on Facebook, I truly thought I would attend. I haven't been back to Madison for six years and this would be a terrific excuse. But as plans were made and emails went back and forth referencing inside jokes about parties and dances I never attended, I began to change my mind. What was the point of going back?

I had few real friends in high school and most were not in my class. I had terrible self esteem and desperately wanted to fit in, but  never did. Not with the cool kids, not with the "bad" kids and not with the theater kids. I really was on my own. I have no idea why. I had a few boyfriends, but mostly pined away for an uninterested boy (you know who you are) and was riddled with angst. I strove for perfection, studying my ass off and starving myself to a pathetic 87 lbs. I was a hot mess.

But high school didn't last forever, and lucky for me, I changed.

I did make it back for my ten year reunion, which was sparsely attended. At my ten year I was out to prove something. While I went largely ignored during my four years at Madison West, I was now worth admiration. I was happy, well adjusted, had a decent job, a charming husband and was feeling better about my physical appearance then ever. I flat ironed my hair, put on a mini skirt and dragged my handsome man to the party. Nobody was impressed. Nobody cared. I saw a few old friends which was nice, but really I left feeling unfulfilled, let down. What had I expected? Did I want that evening to somehow make up for four lousy years?

We have all grown up. I have no doubt that I would have chatted with some very nice people at the reunion however, I simply didn't see the point in going back to reconnect with people I was never really connected with in the first place. I have decided to experience the twenty year extravaganza as I did my whole high school experience, watching from a far, a quiet observer.


  1. I love the honesty of your writing. I don't know if I'll ever go to any high school reunions...if someone ever actually organizes one! My ten year was a couple years ago and to my knowledge it never happened.

    I still find myself the "quiet observer."

  2. I'm about to head to Hoyt Park--where I did attend those cool kid parties and often felt like an observer myself.

    The people I look forward to seeing are largely people I've kept up with anyway, but I do love meeting people anew. It's interesting to see who you connect with now that you didn't then and vice versa.

    In any case, I think you made a good choice.Why immerse yourself in bad memories.

    You've never looked more gorgeous and I'm so glad you've created such a beautiful life for yourself.


  3. I remember the first time I saw you. It was in eighth grade, we were both in English class, last period. You were new to the school. I remember you walking into the classroom and thinking, "Who's the new hot chick?"

    We became friends in high school. I remember us running around outside after high school with a regular group of people. Junior/senior year I remember going to pizza hut and splitting a small pizza because you were dieting and I was cutting weight for wrestling. I don’t think we even finished the pizza. I fondly remember going to high school dances and theater parties together.

    High school sucked for me because I didn’t feel like I fit in. My dad was a jock so I tried to be one. I stuck with music even though I was never good at it. I was good at math/science but couldn’t relate to the other kids that excelled in the same areas I did. My home life sucked and I was super insecure. I was never bullied but I was mostly miserable in high school. I sometimes wonder if anyone was happy while they were in high school.

    College was the best thing that happened to me. I found several groups of friends where I was able to really connect. I was challenged academically. I was good at whatever college job I took. I had (essentially) a live in girlfriend. I started to develop some self-esteem.

    I’m not going to the reunion because I’m in regular contact with the people that I care about with the exception of you and a handful of others that are not going. I’m also going back three times this year for weddings and a holiday. I feel like if I went it would be an opportunity to meet some cool strangers that grew up in the same hometown, but meh, at this point in my life I’d rather spend the long weekend with my wife, kiddos, and my friends out here. And traveling with two little ones kinda sucks.

    I’d love to see you and your family sometime though. People change over the years and I’m curious to get to know the person you have grown into.


  4. "Nobody was impressed. Nobody cared." For the record; I also attended the 10 year. I saw you and your Hubby. I was impressed. I was intimidated. You seemed to have your Sh-t together" while I had several children out of wedlock (at least they were with the same woman who I had just married), had not pursued my artistic endeavors or post-graduate work, was gaining weight and feeling lost. I was intimidated.

    I think we all felt alone in high school. To some I was a "bad" kid, to others a nerd, to some a theater geek, to myself a disappointment.

    I did go to the reunion this afternoon, primarily to see two or three of my old friends whom I had lost touch with. I fell into my tortise shell though. Barely recognized anyone. Put on my smile. Said my "hi"'s, then left.

  5. I haven't attended any of my reunions. I am sure they would have been fun, but I also feel like I have moved on from those days.
    You certainly seem to have your act together these days!

  6. It's hard for me not to go to my reunions since they're right here in Scottsdale! It's very convenient. For my 10th somehow the organizers couldn't find me, despite the fact that my mother's lived in the same house continuously and would have gotten mail to me! I went to the 20th and 30th (I know, I'm old) and found that, despite my changes, I'm still lumped in with the same social group I was in during high school. I'm still, somehow, being snubbed by the cheerleaders. I'm still a hippie, though I very much am not.