High School. Do you remember those days? Unfortunately, I was reminded of “those days” a couple of weekends ago when watching a movie. Not that I have any great insight to offer or that it really matters in the grand scheme of things, but just for fun, I thought I would briefly talk about my so-called high school experiences (and hopefully hear a little about yours in the comments).
In those crucial teenage years, were you labeled? Were you teased? Were you part of the drama group or choir? A jock? An “orc dork” or “band geek?” Part of the popular or “in” crowd? A nerd? Slack-off? Troublemaker or class clown? A “loser?” Or were you simply an invisible wall flower that was easily forgotten or overlooked by classmates?
Attending two separate high schools, I think I had a pretty unique experience and never felt like I fit in either school. The high school I was on track to attend was not the high school I chose. I was one of 2 kids from my Junior High that was offered to attend a Magnet High School in science, so I did. Much to the dismay of my family, I took the opportunity because I could start anew with a clean slate. No one would know me or anything about me and maybe, just maybe I could be somebody, I thought. Unfortunately, that was not the case and my reputation, though unknown at the new school, apparently followed me.
You see in Junior High School I wasn’t any of those labels I previously described. I was happy, outgoing and definitely not invisible because everyone knew who I was, so I guess in that respect I was “popular.” But I wasn’t part of the “in crowd.” I was a cheerleader, but I was often targeted by the “mean girls” in very hurtful, cruel ways. I was smart, competitive and at the top of my class, but not labeled a geek or a nerd. I participated in musicals and was in the choir, but that never defined me either. Class clown? Nope. Loner? Definitely not, as I was always surrounded by people. Never a slacker nor a troublemaker. I dated a bit but was hardly ever asked to any dances, going stag even to Sadie Hawkins-type dances.
So who was I? Again, not that it really matters, but I slightly struggle to answer that even today when asked, because I still don’t know.
With my unusual last name came constant teasing and and a terrible (well, I thought so at the time, anyway) nickname. I took it well, and perhaps that’s why they kept teasing me. Did the name calling hurt? Sure, every time. But I appeared to take it well, nervously laughing it off with the rest of them. In a small way, I guess I liked the attention, even if it was negative. A friend and help to everyone in need, I was known as “the nicest girl you’d ever meet.” I had several acquaintances and a couple of girls I even called my best friends, but I never really connected that well with any one person.
I’d like to think that I was sort-of a swan in the making – most of junior high I was the ugly duckling that didn’t quite fit in with all the other pretty, fluffy yellow ducks. And then senior year came and I was leaving to another high school (in a different state). I remember that I went back to say goodbye to my previous high school for a day (they started in early August and my new school didn’t start until a month later), and I was somehow looked upon differently. I didn’t think I looked any different back then, but looking back maybe I blossomed. I wasn’t as scrawny, my hair was down and long, I wore a pretty summer dress, and a confidence and a glow that said “Sunny California, here I come.”
I took that bit of confidence and mystery to my new high school. And for the first time, I was seen as pretty. I started hanging out with the “in crowd” (or was at least invited to), and after 2 shorts months, I somehow managed to get nominated to homecoming court. But I quickly found out that I didn’t quite belong in that crowd, so, again, I mostly kept to myself, having no real friends. (In college, I was definitely not cut out for sororities either.)
Now that I have been out of high school for well over a decade (!), I casually keep in touch with some of those acquaintances, mostly through FaceBook and reading their blogs. Some have greatly changed, others are just the same. Some of the “popular” and “mean” girls still seem to be just as popular and mean as they were back then. A few have changed for the better. Some are very successful, and I am proud to have known them before they made their millions or became famous. And what about me? I’m mostly the same. Still don’t quite fit in to any one group. However, I have finally managed to connect to one girl, whom I am proud to call my very best friend.
Ultimately those experiences in high school are what made me who I am today. And I guess I’m okay with that. The question still remains in my mind – which high school reunion should I go to? The high school that I was on track to attend (the high school that was part of my childhood)? The Magnet High school in which I attended 2 years? Or the high school from which I graduated and only went for 1 year? Because I never felt like I fit into any of them, I have avoided going to any of them.
Just food for thought, though I would love it if you shared…Who were YOU in high school? Are you different now then you were back then? Did it negatively or positively impact you and your future decisions? Did it shape you into the person you are today more than you realized? Knowing what you know now, would you have done anything differently if you could go back?