Affirmations inspired by my upcoming 25th high school reunion.

First of all: 25 years? What the fuck.  How did that happen?  Etc, etc.

OK, temporarily got that out of my system.  Can’t talk about the reunion without throwing a fit about my mortality.

When I entered 7th grade at AJJHS in the fall of 1980, it was the 11th school I had walked into as “the new girl.”  My father was in the Air Force, and we got new orders to move every three years.  For reasons of their own which still remain a mystery, my parents moved at least yearly in between the major moves.  I went to kindergarten in Oklahoma; two schools for first grade, one in Arkansas and the other in Illinois; two different schools for second grade in England; I skipped third grade, and then spent fourth grade at yet a different school in England; went to part of fifth grade at a third school in England and part of it at Williams AFB in Arizona; part of sixth grade in Gilbert, Arizona and part of it in Chandler; and finally seventh grade at AJJHS in Arizona.  I think I repeated 7th grade because I had “social difficulties” (ya think??) but I can’t really be sure.  Oh, yeah, and then my parents moved once again during the first weeks of my senior year, and tried to make me go to high school in Mesa, Arizona, but I said, “Fuck this,” and dropped out and got my GED.

My initial memory of AJJHS:  Sitting alone on the pavement with my back against a wall, in the shade cast by some boys standing over me asking, “Are you Paula Cluck’s sister?”  Finding out later that poor Paula Cluck was the ugly one.  She looked 40, weighed about 200 pounds and had a pizza face. School pictures of me back then show an eager sweetness, and a remarkable lack of terror behind my eyes.  Always the optimist, always trying to fit in, and always falling a little short, which set me up for a lifetime of, how do you say…. “Issues.”

So, without further ado, here are some affirmations and instructions for both the younger me and the, um, “now” me (who has made the monumental decision to attend my very first reunion), based on my high school experiences, as remembered from the distance of 25 plus years.

To Young Me:  Stop trying to fit in.  There is a saying you’ll come across in later years, and it goes something like this.  Be yourself.  Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind.  You won’t believe this for a moment because you’re a stubborn bitch of a teenager and your hormones are completely out of control, but I have to say it anyway.

To Now Me:  Stop trying to make your relationships work, “no matter what.” It’s not high school.  He is not the only boy around, and in fact, no boy has ever been the only boy – you just believed he was.  You have always been smart, funny, a little offbeat, and had a lot to offer.  Now that you’re 40-something, you’re actually allowing yourself to believe it and say it out loud.  Now the behavior needs to match.  You are no longer the new girl.  You don’t have to latch yourself on to whatever man will pay attention to you.  You never had to do that, but you thought you did.

To Young Me: It’s okay to be the mean girl every once in a while. Mean girls have more fun, and are invited to more parties, have cuter boyfriends, and have way cooler clothes.  You’re a good girl through and through, but it’s okay to tuck away the sincerity and openness and wear a shell.  It’s high school, for Christ’s sake.  Everyone wears a shell.  Oh yeah, and everyone wears a shell. Especially in high school. Remember that.

To Now Me: No more shell.  You are who you are now, and who you are is pretty bangin’.  No more faking it…in or out of bed.  Self-protection (in and out of bed, I’m sounding like a fortune cookie) is important, but fergodsake, enough with the pretending. It had its place, and its place is 1981.

To Young Me: Play sports.  You know you want to.  You’re watching your brothers out on the ball field and you’re just itching to get out there too, but you tell yourself – I can’t hit, I can’t throw.  Well find someone and ask them to teach you.  You are a hundred times more coordinated than you think you are, and you’ll eventually learn that.  And the bonus is, good friends, a healthier body, and some pride in your abilities.  You could use some of all of that.

To Now Me: You are absolutely fine, just the way you are. Do not try to lose a pound before you go to that reunion, missy.  If you lose some weight through eating healthier (and let’s be honest, Tostitos and a chocolate malt is not a proper lunch, hello!) and training for your next 5K, then great.  But you are SO OVER changing yourself to fit in with your high school classmates.  I sincerely doubt they would expect you to.

To Now Me: Rent that convertible. This reunion is YOUR time to laugh, dance, and mess up your hair.  Convertibles are great for the last part.

To Young Me: Just fucking ask him to dance already.

To Now Me: Just fucking ask him to dance already.

Stay tuned for more deep reunion-related thoughts…like, “OMG, I CAN’T BELIEVE I BOUGHT THE PLANE TICKET!” and “AM I GOING TO RECOGNIZE ANYONE?!”

Deep breaths.  Affirmations.  It’s all good.

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2 Responses to Affirmations inspired by my upcoming 25th high school reunion.

  1. Carol Therrien says:

    I LOVE it!!!!! Keep on writing and enjoy the ride.:-)

  2. Paula Cluck's Classmate says:

    I went to a couple years of elementary school with Paula Cluck. The poor girl carried herself like an old woman in first grade. My observation of this was confirmed when I overheard teachers discussing the same thing. I think she was a sweet little girl, though, and I worry life might have gotten the best of her by the time you knew her.

    There are very few things I would change about how I have lived my life, but one I sometimes think about is that I would have shown more acceptance and kindness to people like Paula Cluck throughout my school years. Instead of trying to be cool by acting superior, I wish I would have tried to be cool by just being cool.

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