Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I'm going back to high school

After attending my sister-in-law's high school graduation a few weeks ago and then featuring my high school English teacher as last week's glimpse, it’s no wonder high school has been on my mind lately.

For some people, thoughts of high school induce nightmares, if not a chilling shudder or two. Other people are forever stuck in their "glory days," unable (or just unwilling) to face reality. For me, I guess it’s a little of both, but also neither?
Overall, I really enjoyed high school, but I definitely have a few memories (and choices) I’d love to erase.

We often hear, “She’s nothing like she was in high school,” meant as a compliment for someone, and for a lot of people, I guess it probably is a good thing. The more I think about it, though, the more I realize I actually wish I was more like my high school self (insert groans of anyone who knew me in high school). Of course, some things are still the same; my personality really hasn’t changed much. But on the other hand, I do hope to have matured a little bit these past eight years or so (no comments necessary).

You’re expected to progress as you get older, which usually means high school is a time to explore different versions of yourself and start to really learn more about you and other people. College is this intensified times 100. Post-college, you know who are: a confident, independent being who has the whole world ahead of her and is going places. At least that’s what we used to believe, right? Well, I never seem to do these things correctly, and as I look back I seem to have regressed in some significant ways. Case in point:

*I have always been more chunky than thin. Never fat, but pretty good at carrying around an extra five (or 10) pounds, which doesn’t seem like a lot—unless you’re 5’2”. Did I care in high school? Nope. I wasn’t oblivious to the fact that I was surrounded by plenty of slender and downright skinny people, but that was them, and I was me. 
 *I don’t have an ounce of fashion sense .Never have, and probably never will. Did I care in high school? Of course not. I wore things I loved, whether that meant a glittery, silky, that-doesn’t-belong-anywhere-but-directly-under-a-disco-ball top or cargo pants and a boxy sweatshirt. I loved my clothes and how I looked and felt in them, and that was what mattered.
Uh, hello, it was HOLLYWOOD day. Get it?
No one got it.

 *I have always been generally uncomfortable around people, but in high school I was loud (sometimes obnoxiously so) and talkative–for the most part. Trying new things has never been my forte, but in high school I was involved with a ridiculous amount of things, and I had wonderful experiences and met wonderful people doing so. I also wasn’t afraid of doing anything “too weird.” If I wanted to do something or act a certain way, I did.

To summarize, I was confident. I had many smart, talented and beautiful friends and knew talented people, but I didn’t let that hold me down—again, for the most part. I’ve been plagued by self-esteem issues for as long as I can remember, so it’s not like I didn’t have any confidence struggles. They’ve just gotten much worse.

Things started to change in college. I spent a lot more time comparing my body to others’ (I don’t know how to phrase that without it sounding a little weird, sorry). I realized I didn’t look “as good” as other girls, and thus began my up-and-down, love-hate relationships with food and exercise.

I realized other people had opinions about me and weren’t afraid to share them (with others, at least). I realized a lot of people are a lot smarter, talented, prettier, funnier, more capable, etc. than me. I realized I had more flaws than I was ready to admit. I did become attached to the student newspaper and lived for it, becoming almost over-confident in that respect while also becoming anti-social outside of it and my classes. I forgot my worth in many other  aspects of my life.

You're obviously familiar with the direction my post-college life has taken, as it's the basis for this blog. Upon not reaching goals or milestones I [somewhat naively] planned on reaching and then watching other people attain not only what I was hoping to, but also several other accomplishments I wasn't even aware I needed to achieve, I have shriveled into a little shell where I doubt everything I think, do and say, and keep as many people out as possible.

I'm not sure why I've reacted this way when faced with the doses of reality I've had so far, and I'm not proud either. Could it be the false sense of security we grow accustomed to in our high school and even college communities? Am I just "weaker" than most people? Slower to adjust? Too sensitive? Am I just someone who doesn't know how to function outside of her comfort zone? 

It's probably a combination of all these things, but one thing I finally know for sure it is not is that I'm not good enough.Think of someone you know who always seems to know exactly what to do or say at exactly the right moment, someone you are often envious of or intimidated by because you couldn't possibly compare. She might be brilliant and have a few better ideas than you, a better education than you, she might have better self control, she might just have a better genes than you....but so what? 


I am just as good or worthy as anyone. The catch is that it's just not in all the same ways as others. My differences and character traits might make me weird or awkward or slower in reaching certain goals, but they do not make me unworthy. My high school self knew that, and I'm hoping she can teach me to live that way again.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! You are amazing and charming and always worthwhile, my dear!