I was unsure of how the night would go, wondered who’d be there, questioned if I’d be capable of making small talk, after so many years.
So I did what I sometimes do when I am driving and thinking and wondering: I decided whatever song came on the radio next would be my metaphor for the evening. (I know this is weird but I just do it for sport, so stay with me).
Where was I headed? To my high school reunion.
What song came on the radio? Fifteen by Taylor Swift.
It made me laugh out loud.
Whether you like Swift or not, you have to admit that the lyrics to her song capture well the emotions of what it is like to be in high school. Just hearing it on the radio brought it all back. I remember…
On good days, I thought: I am so awesome, I can do anything, the world loves me and I love it back.
On bad days I thought: I am such a loser, no one likes me, no one ever will like me and I have way too much homework.
Add to this: school clubs, dances, romance, drama, homework, football games, yearbook, paper writing, friendships, and a whole lot of “I-like-you-but-you-like-her” scenarios and there you have it: High School. It’s a wonder anyone survives.
Ironically, before going to the event, I’d spent my afternoon researching for a creative essay I’m working on. The piece is set in the ‘80’s. To help me write, I pulled out old yearbooks, photos and journals from my high school years (I graduated in ’84). I was hoping to bring my memories of this time to the forefront, and spent a good hour reading through my journals. Guess what I discovered? I don’t know the girl who wrote them.
*The girl who wrote these journals had a neat, billowy script unlike me, whose writing no one can ever read.
*The girl who wrote these journals was wise beyond her years but so also naïve. She had no idea who she was then or who she would become later.
*The girl who wrote these journals had so many good qualities but she was so busy putting herself down that she could not see them. She was also very self-involved, could often not see beyond herself and her feelings. She took much for granted.
*The girl who wrote these journals could never imagine herself 30 years later. If she’d gotten even just a small glimpse of the future, maybe it all would have been easier. Or perhaps, she needed to go through all that just to get where she is today.
The reunion was fun. I saw old friends, caught up on what people are doing these days and laughed over a few stories I’d long forgotten about. On the surface I find most people, at their core anyway, are the same. It’s comforting. But it all makes me wonder; if I don’t know the girl who wrote these journals, did they?