There is no question for me at this point. I’ve agonized for a few days and will do so no longer. Too much time has been spent by me lingering in the past. Time to move along.
The question refers to an upcoming class reunion, my 40th from high school. I won’t be in attendance. No one should take it personally. I’m saddened by references on the reunion page to not being included with the cool kids, hating PE classes, etc., and was mortified when I actually posted a comment about my never being asked on dates. The latter was my wake up call. As one who spent 25 years teaching at the same high school I feel blessed to have seen it from an adult perspective. And besides, if anyone has wanted/or does want to see me I’ve been here in town forever. I have a presence on social media.
Overall high school was a good experience for me. I was a competent student, played on teams, and met many nice people. And along with everyone else I had my heart broken and was betrayed by people who were supposedly my friends. Our high school is/was very competitive in all ways. I never wanted to work hard enough to excel; I never wanted to be in AP classes; I never wanted to join clubs or organizations. That was my persona. I was not a joiner. Yes, I played Varsity level sports all four years though the number of sports dwindled each year: from 4, to 3, to 2 my last 2 years. I had no artistic talent nor did I have musical talent.
And yet, I was fairly social. I attended many parties, had Prom and Ball dates, spent a great deal of time laughing. What I know now is that I am a survivor. I built such a protective wall around myself that I had no earthly idea I was deeply sensitive. Nor did I know that I was attractive.
I was an “early bloomer” as the old expression goes. Even though I was one of the youngest in our class due to my November birthday, I “developed” at an alarmingly early age. Girls gawked at me at summer camp, in locker rooms. Because I was tall and had broad shoulders, I was called burly, a dyke and many other names. Hell, in those days I thought a dyke was a wall that held back water. I was a tomboy who never understood why I was never asked out on dates. I liked boys, had crushes on many…shoulda, coulda, woulda.
My sense of humor carried me through it all. But in the land of the haves and have nots, I was neither. From the age of 10, I was raised by my mom. In those days one NEVER spoke of problems within the home, never. It’s a shame, really. Kids now have many more resources for support. As a teacher, I purposely became the poster child for “I was raised in a single parent home, paid for my college experience, never had the clothes I wanted, couldn’t talk to anyone about my problems” and turned out okay considering what I experienced between the ages of 7-17.
Turning out okay means being gainfully employed, achieving appropriate higher education (though at “lowly” state schools), and owning a home. I worked very hard as a teacher. I loved what I did. I can only hope I was able to impact a few lives over the years.
I’m certain this will not be a popular post with my former classmates and I’m positive there are MANY who went through challenges as I did. I’m still a member of the neutral space between the haves and have nots. I have a modest home. I’ve filled it with meaningful things. I’m blessed to have it. I worked hard for it. I’m still a casual dresser. I don’t accessorize, I don’t sport bling, I don’t act my age. And yeah, I never married so I don’t fit in because I have no husband to speak of or tales of children or grandchildren. You know what? I’m fine with it. I am who I am, no more and no less.
When all is said and done, I hope many of my classmates remember me as a nice person. I tried to be nice to everyone, especially those to whom people weren’t nice. Yeah, I knew what it was like not to fit in. I was just better at pretending.
And you know what else? The “cool kids” are not always the nicest kids. Most are, but be careful what you wish for. And for anyone I ignored because I was too swept up in being cool, I apologize.
Thought you knew me? Would love to know you now. Drop me a line.