Thursday, May 15

perspectives

Last weekend I went to my high school reunion. 15 years. It's really hard to think about and really get a handle on what has happened in that time. I mean, a lot has happened. A lot of good things, things that have steered me in the right direction and to the life I lead now.

College. Internships. Struggling in New York. Grad school. More struggling in New York. Meeting Christopher. Getting my own apartment. Moving in with him. Struggling some more in New York.

Things have really come together in a way that I couldn't have anticipated 15 years ago. When I was in high school I worked very hard not to be noticed, to blend in. I was so, so, so self-conscious. I raised my hand only in the most dire situations. It's taken me a long time to trust my own opinions and aesthetics. (Grad school was a huge help in helping me understand that what I made and liked was often much more successful than something I created to please a professor.)My closest friends from high school didn't go to the reunion, and for a moment on Saturday afternoon I was seized with silent panic as I greeted people who I had barely spoken to in our 13 years as classmates. But I relaxed, and people were friendly, and more and more classmates arrived.

There was so much to catch up on! Pregnancies, children, careers, family. And there were memories to hash out. By the end of the afternoon I was wandering around the school with two women who I had barely seen since graduation, talking about elementary school and various events we we remembered each other being involved in. It was really fun. That evening we all met at a bar in Manayunk and I spoke to another woman who I had been close to when we were in elementary school.

Throughout this all, I was struck by how much we remember from so long ago, things that were so serious and helped mold us into who we are now. Fifth and sixth grades are so horrible, with puberty and kids forming alliances and some kids just developing at different speeds than other kids. (In case you couldn't tell, I was one of the slower ones to catch on to fashion and cliques.) There's also this feeling at that age that everyone else has it together, and I remember feeling so alone, lost and vulnerable. And I thought I was the only one who didn't have it together. Talking to these women gave me a whole other way of understanding what was going on. Clearly we had all had a hard time, and we had all found different ways of coping with it (and talking about our fears with each other just wasn't an option. Interesting since that's how I deal with stress now).

Ok. Here's the revelation, and why I've been dwelling on this all week: no one is as perfect as they may seem. This isn't really news, but knowing that I wasn't the only one with self-esteem issues growing up (even if I thought certain people had it all together) changes the way I felt like I fit into this group. Suddenly we were all flailing around, not just me. And this week the world (and how I fit into it) just feels different.

1 comment:

Oona said...

Some are still flailing, but awfully happy to have reconnected with a co-flailer.

xoxo

Oona