Tonight is my 20th High School Reunion.
I’m feeling a heady combination of excitement and dread.
Sort of like the first week of school, but without the vomiting.
“Vomiting?” you ask.
Why yes. Doesn’t everybody throw up every morning the first week of every new school year in high school?
No? That’s just me?
Thank you, anxiety.
Fortunately, I have a few things going for me now that I didn’t have back then:
- An amazing love life
- A (mild) drinking habit
Back in high school, I’m pretty sure a lot of my classmates made up for their lack of items 1 & 2 with plenty of items 3 & 4.
I just over-compensated with what some might call over-achievement:
- Straight A’s
- Acting in plays
- President of two clubs beginning with “F” (French and Friends of the Earth)
- Peer counseling (It was a Catholic school and we called it “peer ministry,” but I hate calling it that. It sounds so evangelical.)
- “Oregon Student Safety on the Move” which had something to do with responsible drinking, and had the awesome acronym OSSOM
- Anti-war activism
- Precocious Birkenstock-wearing
- Rose Festival Court
- Lots of other things that I can’t remember
Lest you think all this student engagement meant I was popular, I will now disabuse you of that notion:
- Typical Friday night: Eat dinner with other cheerleaders. Cheer in game. Watch everybody go off to parties. Beg ride home from somebody’s parents. Go to bed.
- Typical Saturday night: Babysit. Stay up late watching Saturday Night Live.
- Typical Sunday night: Do homework I avoided all weekend, just like everybody else.
You’ll notice that “Go to party” and “Go on date” are mysteriously absent from my weekend routine.
Okay, I did go to a few parties and on a few dates, but they were unmitigated disasters. As in, nothing happened.
The highlight of my social life was occasionally going dancing at the underage club downtown. I felt so
hot cool in my uniform of white t-shirt, cut-off jeans, and black tights. They had 80s nights!
It was 1991.
Once, a friend and I went with a bunch of guys to a U2 concert in a city 3 hours away, spent the night in a motel (with boys!), drank coffee the next morning, and got to school very, very late the next day. Nobody had tried to make out with me. But I bought a cool t-shirt to prove I was there. I also got detention.
I did try having friends over to my house a few times. It always ended badly. My younger brother attacked people. He had quite an arsenal:
- bamboo pole
- super soaker
- throwing wrench*
- titty twisters
*What’s a throwing wrench? How could you have grown up without a throwing wrench? A throwing wrench is what you throw down at people from the second story stair-railing. It’s likely to miss the target, but sure gets the message across.
I had good friends. We had sleep-overs and heart-to-hearts. We gave each other heartfelt cards, mix tapes, and hand-made beaded jewelry.
Looking back, I have a lot to feel good about.
I’m glad I (appeared) to have my shit together.
I’m glad I chose the direction I did.
I just wish I hadn’t been so hard on myself all the time.
If I could go back in time, I would tell my teenaged self: “There is nothing wrong with you.”
Knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time, what would you tell your teenaged self?