I can hear the collective NO WAY! coming from most of the internet…just from reading that title. Of course, there are those who loved High School and still have lunch with their buddies and would go to a Football game and keep in touch with their old teachers. Mmmkay. This isn’t for you.
Let me start by saying…I HATED HIGH SCHOOL. I really hated it. I had friends. Lots. Some really great ones. I didn’t get bullied. I had interests. I took choir and was in a play. I took piano and voice lessons. I got good grades. I had a job.
But…I had horrible body image and self esteem. I was awkward around boys. I never went to prom. I got asked to ONE dance. And it was by one of my best friends…who I love…but I didn’t “love” if that makes sense. I truly loved one boy…and he, well, didn’t love me back. I had some health concerns, migraines. I know now that I suffered from depression and anxiety. But they didn’t know about that then. Especially in adolescents. I faked sick a LOT. I sluffed a LOT. And finally, in March of my senior year…they told me that my absences had added up to the fact that I would not graduate and would need to retake my Senior year.
Well, I was having none of that, and neither was my Mom. So I essentially dropped out and took the GED. (I got the highest score the GED office had ever seen. So, yeah. There’s that. I was obviously okay.)
Then I went on to college. Where I found myself and grew, and started over. My college friends are my besties. I love them to death. And they know the real me. And they still like me. I met my ex-husband there. And took choir 3 times a day and went to play practice most every night. It was heaven.
And it was there I decided to kill the High School Lara. Hate her. And hate anyone associated with her. And put her to bed.
Fast forward through the 10th High School reunion. I would NEVER! I decided never would I ever see those people or allow them to judge me ever again. Unless, and until, I was famous and could land on the football field in a helicopter. (and if it landed on the heads of a few certain people…all the better.) Plus, I didn’t really graduate anyway.
Then another 10 years goes by. (how does that happen so fast, by the way?) And I found myself in the middle of a health crisis. It wasn’t even a question whether I would go. Ummmm…no!! Too bad it wasn’t in 2012 when I was at my skinniest of all times. Then I might have considered it. Just to show off. But, alas, I was 60 lbs. heavier than ever. And boy did I not want to explain myself to everyone.
Enter Facebook. That Facebook. It has a way of letting old friends find you. And over time, I had accumulated quite a few friends from High School. And many of them had started following my blog and health journey. And oddly, some of them I quite liked. Like, more than in High School. And some…I didn’t really like in High School…and now they were cool. Weird. And I got friend requests from people, well…frankly…I thought were snotty. Why were they friending me?
The Reunion page goes up…people start talking. I’m still not interested. I had a huge surgery to go into. And just then a beloved girl from High School (who I wasn’t that close to) makes a page dedicated to prayers for me in my surgery. TONS of people join. And a lot of them from High School. Weird again. Touching. Still no reunion.
Then I see on the reunion page, a request for anyone that has the knowledge to make a video for the reunion. I knew I did. No one answered. And these cute planners were flailing. Finally, my guilt got the best of me and I volunteered. I could make it, send a video, and feel like I helped.
Well, you know how people are…I was not getting any pictures. Everyone is too busy. I get a few people. A few photos. Then one or two people step up and really send some. But it goes to the last minute. Meaning last minute for me too. And now I know…there is no way I can send this video and feel good about it. I HAVE to go in person, and make sure it works. SHIZZZZ!!!
REALLY??? I was going to my High School reunion? And alone? No husband. And none of my close friends were going. Deep breath. I even went shopping for a new outfit. Can’t find anything. I’m still working on my video up until the last minute. And to top it all off…my meds make me sweat like a pig. So my make-up is running. My heart is pounding. I’m SO flustered that I made my Mom drive me to the site.
I walk in, again alone, and wonder what the crap will I do? There is a line to get in, and two girls I know, and are also there alone, offer to get in a picture in the photo booth that they had going. Hey, sure! I’m fat…PS…in case you didn’t notice. But they didn’t seem to care.
I walk in, and am OVERWHELMED with hugs and people that want to say Hi! What is this nonsense? I see some people I know of, but wasn’t friends with. They walk over to say Hi! Then…a guy I was TOTALLY scared of in High School gives me a big hug. What the FREAK? He was NOT the kind of person I would even say Hi to in the hall. In fact, I probably would have said kind of mean and judgemental things about him before this night. And here he was…he totally helped me get the video done. And he was being nice to me. Had he changed? Maybe.
Then comes dinner. Where will I sit? GAH! But there was a seat saved for me. And I was one of the last to get dinner because I was talking, talking, talking. The guy that was DJ’ing, I had elementary school classes with him, but that was the last time I really remember interacting with him. He’s TOTALLY cool.
- He didn’t treat me like I was fat.
- He didn’t treat me like I didn’t graduate.
- He didn’t treat me like I had awkward curly hair and big boobs.
After some fun dinner conversation…we did the video. It turned out great.
Then, more talking. And I started getting…”I loved you so much in High School” and “I’ve been following your blog, I just love you.” What is this crap? Didn’t these people know I was fat? Didn’t these people know I was a TOTAL LOSER?
And then it hits me.
It’s not all these people that needed to change. It was me.
I was the problem all along. These weren’t bad or judgemental people. In fact, they may never have been. I was the one telling myself I wasn’t good enough for certain people or groups. I could’ve probably gotten dates too….had I not been so self conscious around boys. People are too busy worrying about themselves to worry about you. And in fact, there were people who said I was too popular to be friends with them. WHAT?? I was NOT popular. But they insisted I was. People said they were jealous of my curly hair. (one of the things I’ve hated about myself my whole life) Seriously, it was like fireworks were going off in my head. I even started walking up to people I didn’t know well to say hello. And no one told me to go away. It was everyone; from people I considered “popular” to people I just knew.
There was nothing but love to go around. I went home feeling like my heart had busted open. It was like an amazing therapy session, and dinner with buddies, and a trip to Disneyland all wrapped into one.
- I hated High School. But it was so much more about me than it was about anybody else.
- People change. Give them a chance to learn.
- Give yourself a chance to learn.
- Everyone lives life. And time erases so much.
- Grow up.
- Start over. Heal old wounds. Why would you leave a gaping wound untreated?
- Maybe you see yourself differently than others see you. And maybe their view is better.
- Never pass by an opportunity to love, serve, and forgive.
So should you go to your High School reunion? ABSOLUTELY!! Are you fatter than you’d like to be? Did you lose your hair? Did you get a divorce? Have you never married? Are you childless? Have you faced grief? Is your health horrible? Are you poor? Have you become a success? Have you lost your job?
None of this matters. It doesn’t. This stuff happens to everyone. And seeing the progress of others is uplifting. Life changing even. So go! GO!! GO!! GO!!!! And go with an open mind and an open heart. It may change the very life you live. The way you see your life. The way you see yourself. Give people a chance. They’ll give one to you. I promise.