In my head, I was the wildest, most screwed up, stupidest girl in the 9th grade.
After 30 years, however, I put on my big-girl panties and attended a high school reunion. I didn’t graduate from the school where the reunion was. I boarded there in 8th and 9th grade. It is a very rigorous school, academically, and my brain thrives in a more creative environment. Fortunately, I was able to finish high school at a place that was perfectly designed for creative girls like me.
Back to the reunion at the school where I didn’t graduate.
Let me illustrate for you: I failed out of the competitive prep school. Under the surface of whatever I portrayed while I was there, was a depressed, confused and very lost soul. I dealt with my emotional challenges through all kinds of self-medicating.
To go back to the reunion, with all the smart people, who didn’t self-medicate, to the extent that I did, was going to be a challenge. It was going to take courage.
Although I struggled emotionally and tanked academically; socially I stayed in pretty good shape. Many of the people returning to the reunion, fall into the category of people whom I have cared enormously for over the years. These folks were around during some very formative seasons. We experienced some serious things in life side by side.
The reunion party planners saw fit to include me in the weekend. Of course, my initial thoughts were, “Don’t they know, I never graduated from there? Don’t they all remember how wild I was?”
Nonetheless, they said, “Come on, you matter to us. We consider you part of our class.”
“Ok,” I thought, “that’s actually perfect because I love you guys and I’d love to see all of you!”
I invited my supportive new husband who said, “Sure”. We made our plans.
There was a group chat, leading up to the event where I expressed my reservations about not graduating from the school. The insecure teenage girl in me was my expecting the members of the class whom I didn’t know yet, to be like any teenage girl, “Um, we don’t know you, you are so not welcome to come to our reunion.”
Rather, it turns out they are also 48-year-olds. They are parents and people who struggle in this world just like me.
Unlike my fear, what happened was the people I hadn’t met yet, were as loving and kind as those whom I’ve known since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.
It makes the anxiety during the whole week leading up to the event to be quite futile. I was super concerned because my 48-year-old skin was breaking out like I was 14, and of course, I still haven’t gotten the 20 pounds to budge that I’ve been working on for years. To boot, I’m a conservative Jesus freak who doesn’t drink or follow politics, so I don’t exactly fit in with every North American social crowd.
I was getting pretty scared. The saving grace is I have made some close buddies on Facebook who were going to be there. While I haven’t fully let go of the baggage I packed in my wild past, I do soak up my redemption daily. It turns out, other people had some pretty challenging emotions in the 8th and 9th grade too. I think sometimes we believe that we are the only ones who feel certain ways.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because I suspect I am not the only one who avoided people I love because I felt inadequate, not good enough, or like my past trials and coping techniques eliminated me from being a welcome addition to reunions.
Is my little tale resonating with you? Is something coming up that you feel you’d be better off working towards a more confident space?
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