Next year will mark 10 years that I have been out of high school. Recently, a few of my classmates had started contacting me, asking, “When are we getting together for our reunion?”
Hmm. I don’t know. I haven’t heard anything. Have you?
“No, I just figured you’d plan it.”
And I guess that’s how it happened. More than a couple said that to me on different occasions and I suppose it makes sense. The last time most of them were around me I was the studious girl who ended up student council president our senior year and did quite a bit of planning. It’s not what I’d consider to be my forte. I’ve never been able to decide if I am a detail or big picture person because I’m a little of both in different areas. Want a stellar invitation designed? You got it. Fliers for the event? Sure thing. Making phone calls, securing a venue, weighing pros and cons? Okay, you get the picture.
But sometimes, in the midst of all of this, you have to actually deal with other human beings. Interpersonal communication is not where I excel. I jumped in with both feet anyway.
Quick as a flash, I felt like I was 17 again. Not in a good way. (Was 17 for you anything like it was for me? I always felt like I could sympathize with Janis Ian about the age and its dramatic elements.) A lot of bad feelings came floating to the surface. Habits and behaviors that I haven’t exhibited in almost 10 years began to bare their teeth and I reeled back.
A friend was tweeting some things right when all of this was happening. She didn’t know what was going on with me (yet), but the things she was sharing were things that I needed to hear right that second.
In the past I have shared about how different I felt when I was in school. It took me forever to be comfortable with my identity. Somewhere toward the end of high school I just stopped caring. Not in time to truly enjoy that feeling while still surrounded by people who held different ideals from my own, but soon enough that I was able to really start discovering who I was at the beginning of my time spent at college. Having the new freedom to choose my own friends was exhilarating.
I found people that I could be real with, that did not judge me based on me liking things they weren’t interested in, believing differently from them, or holding my life to a different standard. For a girl from a very small town this was a very big deal.
These new plans, the prospect of seeing people that I hadn’t laid eyes on since I was 18-years-old, it brought up so many old feelings and memories — the pleasant and the painful ones. And that last thing that Victoria said hit home — these feelings, wishing someone could see just how far past all that I’d come, how I was stronger and more secure, more confident and less in need of affirmation from my peers…they were all things that drew me back to that agonizing place of trying to please other people. If the attitude is “if they could see me now” doesn’t it just hand over the power to someone who doesn’t deserve it?
These are more ruminations than anything else. The epiphany is small, but valuable. Is there a call to action? Maybe…maybe just what it has been all along. Accepting myself and my identity, not giving the power to someone else to determine my worth.