I’ve been thinking about high school a lot lately, partly because I’ve read a spate of realistic fiction set in high schools and partly because I recently read through my high school year book–autographs and all–for maybe the first time since I graduated in 2004.
I didn’t have a typical high school experience partly because of my school* and partly because of me** but it’s been interesting to think about it now with seven years of perspective.
I’ve lost touch with all of my high school friends and acquaintances partly because I’m no longer on Facebook (I am seriously reconsidering that choice having heard of a facebook game of Oregon Trail and Carmen San Diego!) and partly because the friends you think will be your forever friends in the euphoria of youth and graduation just are not, it turns out, always good friends.***
But I’m still glad I have my year book and I had people sign it. Partly I was honored to see all of the nice things people wrote about me (I assume even in the euphoria of youth and graduation they were not all lying). My classmates and friends said I was smart, kind, talented and funny. (Sarcastic came up a few times but I think that was mainly people not getting my dry wit–it still happens.) Some said they love my laugh or my smile or just that I was a friend even if we only saw each other each day in school. Somehow, even after all of these years, that is huge. Surely if all of these people, some of whom I didn’t even talk to that much, thought enough of me to say those kind things, surely that means some of them are true. Surely it means I can do anything I set my mind to. At least it felt like that when I read them. And for that, if nothing else, I am glad.
I think sometimes about emailing friends like Mattie or Victoria or Chloe. I regret losing touch with Colin or Waly.**** And I think about a lot of other people I knew back then. But I know that the past will probably stay past because, wish as I might, my life isn’t a movie or a YA novel. Which is fine since a lot of the time the life I have is pretty okay.
*Have you seen Easy A? Remember that scene in the principal’s office where he tells Olive she isn’t at some progressive school where students are partners in learning, etc.? Well I was. That was my school. And it was tiny. I literally knew every person in my graduating class by name.
**I didn’t socialize much in high school or drink or party or date. It wasn’t like I wasn’t allowed to I just . . . never wanted to. I don’t regret any of it though.
***I will say this: My high school friends made me realize what real friendships should look like. Don’t get me wrong, I miss a lot of people from high school. But it’s hard to feel bad about losing touch or serious about reconnecting when you know all of the friends you lost touch with did manage to keep in touch with each other. Without you. But I’m lucky because I’ve moved on made new friends who have more in common with me and who are so much easier to keep up with. Friends who send me links about feminism and publishing, friends who discuss comics and explain Metal bands, friends who analyze diversity and literature and are just amazing, and even friends who will read the novel I’m working on and plan for book signings with me a full month in advance. Friend wise, I often think I am blessed.
****Fun Fact 1: Waly actually gave me a shoutout in his senior quote (after signing my yearbook “I don’t do yearbooks”) and I only found it now, seven years later (he told me to stop reading so much because it worried him if you wondered–I’m sure you didn’t). Sometimes the amount of things I missed in high school, especially the moments I missed acting on, is revolting.
Fun Fact 2: I used to see Colin a lot when I was still working at my first place of employ. Despite all of my talk above about moving on I do truly miss seeing him around the neighborhood. It’s always nice to see a friendly face randomly in the city.º
ºI realize a lot of this is meaningless to readers who do not know me in real life and/or met me in real life after high school. All the same, it felt worth thinking on and since I am a blogger and have an open forum I decided to go ahead and also declare it worth sharing with you, dear readers.