So the other day I got an email inviting me to my 40th High School Reunion.
Yeah, I know. That was my reaction, too. I was like, 40 years??!!! You’ve got the wrong chick, dude. I graduated, like, a minute ago.
Um. No. No, I didn’t. The invitation was correct, much to my disgust. I really did graduate from high school in 1978.
Egads. Where did that time go? That’s best left for another blog post, I feel.
Anyway, the invitation.
I’m gonna be honest and tell you my gut instinct was to delete the email. I haven’t gone to one reunion yet and seriously, don’t plan on ever going to one. High school was an absolutely miserable 4 years of existence for me that basically just dragged on until I could graduate, get the hell out of there, scream “See ya, soul-suckers,” at my classmates, and start the life I’d been dreaming of. Why, oh why, would I ever want to go back to revisit that horrible time?
My teen years were not, to be brutally honest, my glory days. I was grossly overweight; wicked smart; the teachers liked me because I was smart and the kids all hated me for the same reason. I had no friends to hang out with during or after school. Needless to say a boy never liked me as a girl. In truth, no boy even ever pretended to like me so that I would help them with their homework, or study for a test. It kind of makes a huge statement when a guy doesn’t even pretend to be nice to you so he can get something out of it. Think about that.
I wore thick, ugly, cheap eye glasses because we couldn’t afford anything nicer; I’d never been able to have my ugly, mal-aligned teeth straightened because we couldn’t afford braces; and my last name was different from my mother’s during a time that wasn’t the norm. Most of my clothes were bought at the Salvation Army or GoodWill, and my hair was not what it is today: namely sleek and cared for. Back then I went completely gray at 16 and had begun dying my hair using crap over the counter products that would lead to my loosing all my hair years later. Again, a blog post for another time.
So. High School. Not my favorite part of life.
When the 10th reunion invitation came in the mail ( and yes, it came via pony express because no one had email in 1988) I tore it up and tossed it immediately. I was 28, newly married, and couldn’t be bothered reliving those horrific days.
When the 20th came along, I was 38, a mother and couldn’t even think of leaving my young daughter or my husband for a weekend in which I’d feel all those feelings of inadequacy again. Same thing when the 30th rolled around.
I did toy with idea of going to the 30th though, but it was for all the wrong reasons. It wasn’t to reconnect with old friends ( didn’t have any, remember?) No, if I was going to go it was purely to shove in the faces of everyone who’d been mean to me back then what my current lifestyle was. Gone was the obese, myopic, shy and scared teenager of old, replaced by a thin, confident, contact lenses wearing, spouse of a famous and revered doctor and a respected member of my community. I’d sat on several boards of directors; I’d gotten my Masters degree; I was a many-times over published non-fiction/magazine article writer. I was a success. And I wanted to go to rub their noses in it. I wanted those cliquey- uber popular, cool-set girls to choke on all the nasty names they’d called me, gag on the times they’d whispered and laughed about what I was wearing, and to basically feel less than, just as they’d made me feel all those years ago. I wanted all those boys who’d never noticed me to, well, notice me now! I wanted to tell them: see? Look what you missed out on, dude. You could have had all this! But…I didn’t because those were the wrong reasons to go. I’m not a spiteful person, or at least, I try not to be. If I’d gone with that attitude I figured I was mimicking all that bad high school behavior I despised, so I stayed home instead.
Remember I told my initial reaction when the 40th invite came was to delete it? I didn’t. I let it sit in my email box for a few days before I opened it. Then I clicked on to the electronic RSVP. Attached to the invite was a list of people who’d already committed to going. I scrolled through the hundreds of names and you know what? I didn’t recognize one of them. For the women, the maiden and married names were listed, so I was able to see the name they’d had back then. Not a single name -nor picture – was familiar. I dug out my high school yearbook from the old trunk I’d stashed it in years ago and put the back-then faces to the names and faces on the rsvp. Still, no recognizable ones. I started to think about what I would do if I did, in fact, recognize someone who’d been mean to me back then. Time and wisdom are amazing, because it dawned on me that I’d feel nothing. Nothing acrimonious, nothing negative. These people don’t mean anything to me. They didn’t then and they don’t now. So, I asked myself, why? Why would I go? Why would I give up a weekend to sit and visit with people who mean nothing to me? It would, in all honesty, be a waste of my precious time. Time I could spend with the people who do mean something to me.
The answer is : I Wouldn’t.
I deleted the invitation after ticking off the RSVP box that said: NO/Will not attend.
It was the right thing, for me, to do. It will be interesting to see how I feel in 10 years when the 50th rolls around.
Hmmm…. another blog post for sure about that.
I can’t be the only person on the planet person who hated high school, nor can I be the only one who’s never gone to a reunion. Thoughts? Stories? Comments? Feel free to comment below.