I’m approaching my ten year reunion.
Ten years. Since I walked out the doors of my red brick, green-roofed high school never to look back, or return. Ten whole years.
I can hardly believe it.
Today, I found out about my ten year reunion, which is apparently in the works at the hands of those who owned that time of our lives in the first place. I was too-late included in that conversation but, better late than never, I suppose.
There’s so much that goes into a “high school reunion”. The old cliche is return to the people you’ve left behind when you’ve lost weight, married a rich, handsome, successful man, and when you’re not bald or fat or barefoot and pregnant. But… if you show up to impress people you don’t like, then haven’t they already won? It’s this ongoing battle of: Do I show them I care by being better than them in the present, or do I show them I care by sucking up to them? Unless of course, you had a great time in high school and you were cool and hot and popular; then you’d never ever think of a reunion like this.
I wasn’t cool or hot or popular. I was the loner; the loser; the fat girl in the corner with no sex appeal, no boyfriends, no friends, no cool clothes, no cool stuff, who had her discman and ever-wore earphones in her ears in hopes of even slightly shielding hersel from people. People in high school, were the enemy. When they shunned, when they drew attention to you, when they would look at your writing, your drawings, the pictures in your locker, your clothes, your hair, your good and bad habits, your abilities and inabilities, and belittle them, gossip about them, remind you of everything you hated about yourself because of what they said in the first place. It was what they said, and what they did, that made me feel nothing, and want to be nothing, except gone, done, vanished, disappeared, on another planet in another world in another continent where they wouldn’t hurt me anymore. That’s how that five years of my life panned out. It was what it was. There was nothing I could have done.
So now, I hear about a high school reunion.
Coincidentally, I PVRed an episode of 48 Hours a while back and I watched it today, and it was about bullying. It profiled a few brave kids who started bullying programs at their schools and spoke out and ended up finding their niche, or else moving to a new world with the hope of finding their niche. The epsiode also talked about teens who succumbed to the bullying and committed what the documentary referred to as “bullycide”; that is, committing suicide to end their own bullying. I watched it and simultaneously thought of myself. And how it would feel, ten years later, to see those people again, willingly, who forced me into isolation, guilt, shame and self-hatred, whose effects can still be seen and felt in the shoes I walk in to this very day, long after the pain and torment and bullying stopped. I was only in that high school because I lived in an isolated small town with one high school and I had no other choice except to be shunned and/or tormented by the people I was stuck with for life. And if I was to go to this “reunion”, I’d be heading back there, by my own free will.
People grow up. People change. People’s perspective on life shifts when they go out into the world and experience school and urban living and travelling and music festivals and adventures of their own. Little boys and petulent little girls grow up to be men and women with families and their own, free lives. Maybe I’d walk into my reunion realizing and finally seeing after all this time, respectful, good people. Maybe.
But I don’t want to.
I’m not friends with these people. I don’t owe them a damn thing. We’re not friends. We’re scarcely peers. Most of them aren’t even my friends through social media. Why? Why in God’s name would I ever willingly face them again when we’re nothing more than two ships sailing by each other in a massive, vast, never-ending harbour? Passing, passing, passing until we’re gone. I’d rather pass by. That’s all I ever wanted to do anyways.