Tuesday, April 12, 2011

High School Reunion: Or, Hell's Ante-Chamber

My parents were cleaning out their house and my sister put together a big pile of stuff for me.

In that pile of stuff was my senior year high school year book.

The husband ran across it the other day and started looking through it, reading things that people had written to me.

And I was seriously ready to knife him to make him stop.

I don't even know how to explain this - Thinking about high school, being reminded of it, of myself during that time - I can't handle it.  Not even a little bit.

There's just this visceral, white-hot wave of shame and embarrassment that floods me when I see pictures of myself or find notebooks or, as evidenced the other day, have my husband read all about it in my senior yearbook.

I was completely mortified and uncomfortable and ready to run out of the house or punch him in the junk to make him stop.

I did neither, because I'm a grown up and he's pretty fast on his feet, so I couldn't catch him.

I did, finally, ask him to stop reading it because it was so embarrassing. To his credit, he stopped, even though he couldn't understand why I would feel so . . . awful / horrible / mortified by him reading nice things that people had written to me.

I don't know that I can even explain it - I'll need years of therapy, for sure, to work through this, so I just kind of shunt it aside and ignore it.  Easier, right?

I wasn't all that different in high school than I am now, I guess.  Is anyone?

I was weird and smart and sarcastic.  I was thinner and had cooler hair [but not by much - my hair is glorious lately] and dressed way funkier.  I knew a lot of people, but wasn't close with many, or any, really.

Maybe that's what makes me so uncomfortable - the fact that I have changed so little.  The fact that my expectations of BEING SOMEONE and DOING SOMETHING have come to me living in my tiny house in my whitey-white suburb, married, with a kid, and being president of the PTA.

This was not the life I was expecting or wanting back then.  It's not the life I want sometimes right now.

That's hard to reconcile.  So it's just a lot easier to push it away and set it aside.  That's easier, since the angst only shows up on those rare occasions when my past plunges its way into my life and bites me in the ass.


  1. I've been the same height/person since the 5th grade! Total bummer.

  2. Funny that you mention this...I was thinking about how I pictured my adult life back when I was 16 and OMG this is so not it. I thought I would be a hip cool chick living in NYC with some artsy fartsy guy. Total opposite here.

    Kinda strange!!

  3. My yearbook mortification lies in the fact that I put on a pearl necklace (shudder) and wore a little pink sweater for my senior portrait.

    And my hair? Holy crap.

    What was I thinking in the 80's.

    Also, I'd shared an entire bottle of Southern Comfort (mixed with grape juice) with my boyfriend the night before pictures (my parents were on a summer vacation, so....)

    My picture does not bring up good memories. Or "portray" me at all.

    It does make my stomach heave a bit. And grape juice?

    Never again.

    (p.s. I actually do like myself better now than I did then. But that wasn't a hard bar to exceed...)

  4. the longer i live, the more i realize that my high-school experience was nothing like anyone else's. i actually enjoyed my years there, and even my 10th reunion a few summers back. 'course, the reunion was a schadenfreude festival of just biblical proportions: all the supposed popular people who had never been anywhere or done anything; all the mean girls who plumped up, when they'd spent high school cracking on each other for being fat; the terrible people who are still terrible.

    'course, schadenfreude is my favorite emotion. :)

  5. I went to high school with my groom. We were a year apart and didn't date back then.

    But still.

    There is no hope of keeping my high school self from him. He has his own copy of all the yearbooks. Dagnabbit.

  6. You have glorious hair? Sorry, we can't be friends any more. I hated high school.

  7. My high school yearbook reminds me of the hours and hours it took to put it together since I was the editor-in-chief senior year. There were nights when I was at school til 8 or 9:00, by myself. And this was before I had a smartphone/Twitter/blogging to distract me! I wonder what happened to that over-achiever?

    Oh, it also reminds me of the days before I started tweezing my eyebrows. *shudder*

  8. High school? I spent those years counting down the hours until I could move far, far away.

  9. the highschool yearbook: ooooo YUCKY. That thing evokes all the gross, never quite fitting in, unrequited, shallow bitches mentality of a time when the right shoes meant being cooler, and beauty was EVERYTHING, and intelligence was MEH. Blech.

  10. without even knowing it, until I read this post, I know exactly what you mean.
    I have changed very little, I am still KK to so many people, the girl with the great big heart and smile, but I wanted to BE someone else, do SOMETHING BIG and awesome and I haven't...and while I am not ashamed of my life or my choices (well not all of them) I am ashamed that I dreamed so big and lived so "little"

    I totally get it. xo

  11. I hear you. I never imagined myself being what I am today. I had better and more fantastic dreams for myself.

  12. What I don't like about my yearbooks, is how they remind me how little self confidence I had.

    Man, I was gorgeous, smart...I should've gone for it.

    But, I was so dependent on wanting to fit in and NEVER fitting in.

    I was too different.

    I should've gone for it.


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