Monday, August 9, 2010

I Survived My High School Reunion

My yearbook picture and quote was my name tag, ha ha!

This weekend I attended my high school reunion. No, not my 5th and not my 10th, not even my 15th, My 20 year high school reunion. I hated high school. I made sure to skip the 10th and planned on skipping the 20th. So why attend?


Over the past two years, I became Facebook friends with various girls from school. I can only say that I wish I had gotten to know these girls in high school. Maybe I wouldn't have hated every day as much as I did. Ironically, the few girls who really were my buddies in high school, I didn't keep in touch with. In fact, I'm still searching for Francine. She was a very sweet girl who drove me to SAT prep every week and helped me cheat on my "pre-prom" diet with a couple of late-night trips to the Franklin Square McDonald's.

Most kids can say they weren't popular in school. For me, it wasn't that I wasn't popular, I was virtually unknown. Those who did know of me, knew me as, "That girl with the effed up haircut who wore all black."  At the time, I liked it that way.

Saturday night, while awkwardly mingling, I was stopped by a guy whom I remembered as being a very big deal in high school. He was on like every team, had a million friends and was super smart. One of those guys who had "a walk" - he truly had an actual way of swaggering through the halls while guys high-fived him on their way to class.

I'll be honest, he seemed like kind of a prick in high school. I remember someone telling me he was also wild and crazy and kinda mean. I remember this faceless person telling me how it's always the pricks who are on every team and are the most popular. Playing the role of the angry misfit, I agreed.

Saturday night I felt this wave of regret come over me as the popular, smart, sports star dude chatted about school and how he could have done this or should have done that. We spoke about how our lives could have been different or how we could have been better people.

I liked the way he ended that conversation on a really cool positive note ... Something like, if he had done things differently, then he wouldn't have his beautiful kid and amazing wife. In his case everything worked out well in the end. Maybe it was the open bar talking after-all. I reminded him that he also has an awesome job, he laughed and said it wasn't rocket science.

We smiled and parted ways.

As I carefully walked across the dance floor, in heels I'm not used to wearing, I still felt pangs of regret. Although I pretended to agree, saying, "Oh yeah, whatever, man! Life goes on, shit happens! Whatever." I still had a lump in my throat, secretly wishing I had turned out "better" ...  I mean, I love my husband and my life is certainly not all that bad. I'm sure I'm not alone. There has to be just one other person that night who felt the way I did. Who knows, maybe I'm the only one who can admit that if I could do it over again, I would. I would have studied harder. I should have applied myself. I could have been more confident. Woulda, shoulda, coulda. What can you do...

One thing I don't regret is attending this reunion. It sort of provided me with closure. Closure with myself. I can't describe it, but I think I'm gonna be okay... I can feel it.

44 comments:

Grace said...

Reunions are awkward, uncomfortable situations. I also skipped my 10th and am debating attending my 20th. I think we all go through the whole "woulda, shoulda, coulda's." I don't know you IRL but I think you're pretty freakin' awesome and if you were any different, I probably wouldn't love your blog so much.

Mamma has spoken said...

I've never gone to any of my high school reunions. Like you, I hated high school and couldn't wait to get out of the place. Many of my friends were a year or two behind me, no one really in my graduating class that I was truely friends with. Now years later, I have friended some of my classmates on facebook. I also have to have my hs yearbook close to the computer so I know who the heck I am talking too!

TS Hendrik said...

Sounds like it was a night for introspection. Glad to hear it was a good experience for you.

I've always wanted to attend a high school reunion. Just not an option for me.

Brandy said...

good for you for going. I never made it to mine.

Margie said...

I didn't go to my 10 year (or, better yet, 11 year) reunion. I was on the committee to organize it and I wasted a whole year just for them to go with the first idea me and my BF threw out. The girl was a real bitch and her wedding is still the worst I have ever attended. UGH! However, I'm still friends with a lot of people I went to school with, some as back as middle school so I have no regrets attending that awful reunion.

Kathie @ Just a Happy Housewife said...

I'm with ya on the shouldas...I do wish I had studied harder and tried for straight As but I'm a perfectionist!

I wasn't popular or unpopular, just there and known as the cop's kid since it was such a dinky town. I hated high school, mostly because it was such a small town with no opportunities...I have no plans to attend my 20th coming up in a couple of years. I don't know those people anymore and we've all changed, I don't really see the point. A friend of mine from high school went to the last one and said people started acting like jerks after awhile. No thanks. Life goes on, that's how I see it. :-)

MamaTink said...

You are a braver woman than I.

Tracie said...

I've never been to any of my reunions and I don't plan on going either. I'm only in contact with one person I graduated with and actually spent a good hour yesterday unfriending most of the people I went to school with. I'm ditching the rest of them today.

Copyboy said...

I totally hear you. I had my reunion last year. It was uncomfortably fun. To be honest almost everyone talked with each other. True it was to complain about the economy. but still, conversations were had. haha
Glad you got your closure Ally. onward and upward to better things!!!!! F those guys!!!

LaraAnn said...

You certainly were brave for going to your reunion. That is something I would never, ever do. I really hated high school. I was basically a nobody there and still am. I have many should haves about those years to like joining clubs, going to school events and taking a third year of Spanish class. I only had a few friends and we weren't that close - one was a year ahead of me and part of a peer group who let me hang out with her and her friends at their table sometimes.

It's hard to belive that you considered yourself like an outsider back then because you seem like such an outgoing person now. You are really popular at this site, that's for sure. I wish that I had had a friend like you in high school.

AngeliStarr said...

Grace is definitely right in saying Reunions are awkward. I was very uncomfortable in going to my JHS reunion and more than enough pissed off at my "WTF" of the time for doing something I clearly asked him beforehand NOT to do and did anyway. I was already uncomfortable and he just straight messed up on something that couldve already been better.

HS on the other hand Im looking forward to. Id love to see where everyone Im kinda still in touch with are doing 7 years from now. Thats when our 10th is. 2017. Lets see how we do past 2012

Kristie said...

I went to my 10 year. I'm skipping the 20. Glad you had a nice time and got your closure.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I never went to any of mine.. I did attend my husband's 30th (i think) and it was kinda depressing... U could tell right off who were the cheerleaders- yep, those women 30 some odd years older still had those stupid blonde hairpieces they wore back in the day... The class clown must of been the one who was so slammin' drunk he ran right into a tray of dishes.. I mistook a man who I thought was a teacher back in the day.. my hubby corrected me and said it was his best friend... omg,, his 30th was over 10 years ago and the folks there looked like they were for the old folks home...
Glad u got closure, I think that is what reunions are for and for some its to try and find that person that they were hung up on...As they say 'u can't go home again' Nothing is the same.

Ally said...

I know guys. Look, being a teen kinda just sucks and high school sucks.

The cool part about this particular incident I blogged about, is that in a way both of us were just revealing ourselves and now you are too.

In my experience, here is this popular guy in school talking to the school weirdo (I won "Most Individual" in our yearbook) ... It turns out we were all the same at that age.

We were scared. We were confused. We were trying to be something our parents or fiends expected us to be.

We're constantly playing a role as youngsters. Trying so hard to fit into a particular stereotype set by other kids, movies, TV, books, who knows - I'm not blaming anyone...

Maturity is the only way you can really reflect on how you once were and compare it to who you really are.

There's a show on MTV - It's called "If You Really Knew Me" ... I swear, I wish I could get a job as one of the coaches involved in this program.

It's a real program and it's amazing. It gets high school kids to talk about their real lives and real situations. If I could make just one kid feel okay with themselves or make one mean kid less mean, I swear, my work on this earth would be done.

August 9, 2010 11:58 AM

Dancing Branflake said...

Oh man! High School reunions are something I am not looking forward to. Seriously, I wanted to be home schooled so many times in high school.

mjnetter said...

My 20th is coming up. Haven't RSVP'd yet. Every time I pick up the invite that's been laying on my kitchen counter for 2 months, the Psychedelic Furs' "Pretty in Pink" starts playing in my head. I'm pretty happy with how my life has turned out so far, but don't think I want to share it with the pricks and morons I went to high school with.

The question I've pondered - along with my 2 remaining friends from HS - is "To maybe see the 3 or 4 people we miss, is it worth having to see the 100+ we hated who've been lying dormant in our collective past?"

I'll likely pass and just look for the reunion pics online. Always fun to see a bald prom king.

sara said...

I agree with Grace. Reunions are tough and awkward. And you are awesome.

Lady Hill said...

My 10 year reunion is in 2011 and i am not going.
High school was a living hell for me.
I wish I was unknown instead of hated.

I would have done some things differently... I don't know what, but SOMETHING.

then again, every long lost dream, every broken road... everything in my life lead me to my William. I wouldn't change that for the world...

Marlene said...

Whoa....reunions. Isn't it interesting how some of those you knew way back when turned out?

I don't regret my life at all. I wasn't all that well known way back then, either. I had my small group of friends...and generally shied away from the "popular" crowd - because most of them thought they were so much better than everyone else. Funny thing - their "popularity" didn't make them superstars or anything. They pretty much turned out like the rest of us....:)

Yup - you'll be ok!

Teachinfourth said...

Kudos to you for going! That was probably a hard thing at the outset, but it turned out to be great in the end.

Don't we all wish we could 'redo' parts of our lives?

Cecelia Winesap said...

Glad I found you (thru Joann @ Laundry Hurts My Feelings)! Your blog is right up my alley! Plus you've helped me to feel better about my 10 year high school reunion in a few months. I'm dreading it. I was uncool back then...oh and still am. :)

Joe Cap said...

I went to my ten year re-union, but why I went, I can't tell you, since I was pretty much invisible in high school. Now I am getting solicitations to attend the 36 year re-union...or maybe it has already passed...why the hell would I go to that?

Joann Mannix said...

"Better" is a subjective term. From what I know of you, Ally, I think you're a really cool girl with a big heart and such a way with words. So, better? I don't think you could get any better than the stellar human being you've become.

There are a lot of things I could regret. Working harder. Staying out of the sun. Beginning this writing gig a whole lot earlier. Getting a masters degree when I had the chance. But I didn't. And those moments are gone. And instead of making my heart sad, I look ahead to the light, to the light that I am creating. That's all we got. Find that contentment in your soul. Have peace with the fact that right now you are living, really living your life in the best way you know how. I think you're going to be just fine, too. I have that same feeling.

Oh, and I just got back from my 30 year! We drank champagne and we were happy to see each other, past the what if's and the need to impress. Maybe that's what age does, brings a sense of comfort in your own skin.

Stephanie M. Page said...

Hey! Thanks for sharing your heart in this post! We all make mistakes in our past, but our past makes us who we are ya? =) good for you for attending your reunion!!

=) Thanks for stopping by my blog for Friday Follow, I am following back!

http://www.sharingthepagesoflife.com
http://www.stephaniempage.com
http://www.alliedmoms.com

M.W said...

Great entry...loved it!
I was thinking along the same lines just this weekend and blogged similarly yesterday, sparked by a viewing of "Sixteen Candles". My 20th will be next year...not sure if I'll go, but I know it would be a total mindtrip.
Do we ever get rid of our angst, really?

renee

Pat Tillett said...

That was a great and thoughtful post. I've never gone to any of my reunions. None of my "friends" have ever gone either. I do see the photographs on facebook afterwards though. It's always the same group (jocks and cheerleaders) who go everytime. I didn't like them while in school and I don't care to see them now.

liz said...

i have never attended a reunion, so i don't know what it's like, but i did find it interesting that your friends from back then, you aren't close with now, and the girls you weren't close with then, you consider to be your friends now. it's amazing how time can change things.

Darlene said...

You were missed Ally- I am so glad that you went and got to see school in a much different light. That vision is priceless.

D-

MiMi said...

You are brave, that's all I got.
And I didn't have a quote. I wasn't cool enough to think of one!

Riot Kitty said...

Good for you. You are a much better person than I am. I've blocked out a lot of that time because it sucked so much, but I remember enough not to ever want to see most of those people again.

Babes Mami said...

You survived!! yay!

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

I love the way you ended this piece, Ally. You WILL be okay, friend.
xoRobyn

ISRAEL CARRASCO said...

High School was weird and I wasn't that close to anyone so I wont and haven't attended one but anything that gives you closure is worth it.

Cheeseboy said...

Besides wearing black, your high school experience sounds very similar to mine. Although I am still waiting for the facebook friends.

Popcorn Served Daily said...

Hi, Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving the nice note. I'm a follower now, yeah!!!

I always go to my reunions but I am an extremly social person. My husband, on the other hand, forget it!

Take care,

Lisa

Powdered Toast Man said...

I thought he was going to tell you that he had a secret crush on you in HS or there was going to be a scene from Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

I have my 10 year in 2 years. Eeep!

Jenn said...

My 20 year reunion is in 2 more years...can't believe where the time has gone. I bet most of us go through the ..woulda, shoulda, coulda's...at different times in our life...but I'm glad you are where you are at... you may not have started this fantastic memory filled blog!!

cornflakegirl74 said...

I'm glad you came to this realization in the end. I didn't attend my 10-year and am wondering if I'll attend my 20. I would imagine that everyone experiences these feelings you describe here to some extent. Self-doubt sets in and makes us question where we are in our lives and if we should have taken a different path altogether. At the same time, the decisions you have made have shaped the person you are today. And you seem to be very well-adjusted, so I think that means you most certainly are doing just fine :)

baygirl32 said...

I didn't go to my 10 year reunion either. I grew up in a very tiny community of 1200 people, what is the point of a reunion? So I can fly back home and be the topic of conversation for the small minded people I didn't like in high school? No thanks.

I am glad is gave you some closure though.

Mimi said...

Great post, lady. I have so much to say, but I'll just leave it at this: We had the EXACT same haircut in high school. Rock on sister!

passionofthemom said...

I hated HS with a crimson passion. =) Band trips and math/science club were my life, and I was okay with that. But I can literally not imagine anything worse than going back to that godforsaken place to hang out with a bunch of freaks who never had a nice thing to say to/about me. I graduated with 5 friends, and that number dwindled down to only 2 of the original 5. Skipped my 10th in lieu of a mini-reunion with my best friend of 25 years, who flew me out to FL for my birthday, and that was all the reunion we needed! LOL Will also be skipping out on 15th, 20th, 25th, etc. Nothing to be gained there. I do wish I could have seen my best friend's ex-fiancee, who was a genuinely amazing guy. Guess life really does go on. LOL

Heather Taylor said...

My high school actually wants to do a 5 year reunion. As in, next year reunite. And with the awful experiences I had there coupled with the fact that it seems about 10 people in the graduating class (myself included) actually moved out of their old neighborhoods, I will definitely not be making it to that one...

pika23 said...

meh...I skipped my 10th. Alot of people did. It was supposed to be a fun weekend with a trip to the local minor league ball game and a picnic one day and a cocktail night at point pleasant boardwalk's Martells Tiki bar or something.

Ended up falling flat in the planning stages, and turned into a high priced buffet dinner and drinks at the local pub...maybe 50 people showed up I heard.

Started talking to everyone on facebook about 18 months ago. Hopefully reunion 15 or 20 will be a blast! I will be at my goal weight by then.

The mad woman behind the blog said...

I so needed this post 2 months ago. I missed my 20th. Your post makes me regret that.

You're a bigger person than I am. But thank you for the inspiration.

Great post Ally!

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