Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Looking back on my dorkier days

About a month or so ago, I got news that my high school band teacher died via an e-mail from my sister and a classmate that looked me up and called me to let me know. I keep meaning to send a card of condolences, but I keep forgetting.

He was a really popular teacher that turned our school's band program around and made it something pretty damn cool. I was part of that program for four years and while it was hard work, it was a lot of fun. I've come to the conclusion that to be a band/drama geek is a special brand of insanity.

But the call from my classmate (and subsequent conversation with said classmate) got me reflecting on my high school years. Some people say that the best years of your life are in high school. I think those people are higher than kites.

If you can't tell already, I wasn't exactly the most popular person in school. But in a weird way, I'm not carrying luggage about it. I simply have no desire to find out what happened to my school or my classmates.

I wouldn't describe anyone that I graduated with as my best friends. I was one of those friends on the outer ring, never the inner circle. I don't miss a lot of those people. I didn't go to my reunion -- not out of spite or anger, but more that I never got the information and didn't bother to chase it down.

In reality, someone called my mom to try and find out what happened to me and she bluntly told the person "She doesn't live here anymore." I love my mom sometimes.

I think that I didn't really come into my own until college. Even then it took me a year or two to find a group of friends who I can say without a doubt are my close friends -- an in some cases, they're part of my family. Maybe it took finding a group of outcasts to make me feel like I belonged somewhere.


K. said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your former teacher.

It's funny, because while my high school years were certainly not the best years of my life, I do have very fond memories of those years and really attribute those years into making me the person I am now. I have never fit in, in any part of my educational career but high school was the place where I learned to trust myself. I didn't go to my high school reunion but still keep in touch with a few people, and still remain friends with a couple. High school in good ways and bad were quite formative for me, and I can still look back on those years and honestly say I would not give up any experience I've had.

QuietlyGoingMad said...

I honestly don't speak to one person in my graduating class...but, even back then I hung out with three people from the Catholic school who were just as off-the-wall as me. None of us "fit in" and none of us really tried because we were quite content in our little group. I'm still great friends with two of these people today and consider myself lucky to have rekindled the friendships when they had pretty much died away after we got out of high school (for various reasons).

I actually feel that I've not been able to "come into my own" until I hit my late 20s. It seemed that before that I was always trying to prove something to myself or someone else...and was never able to do it. I really started growing and becoming who I want to be once I moved to Chicago--the initial anonymity gave me the chance to just figure out what I want out of my life...socially, professionally, romantically, etc.

I've not gone to a reunion, nor will I. I don't feel I have one thing to say to any of the persons that would be there and don't really want to waste an entire weekend making small talk, that to me becomes exhausting after about the 2nd hour.

Eva said...

I know how you feel. I haven't really spoken to anyone I knew in high school in years. Heck, I only drove past the school this year because I got lost picking Alan up at the airport. I'm a little sorry that I am not in contact with the few close friends I had as a senior, but staying close to someone who is 1600 miles away seems unlikely at best.

I guess the biggest thing is, I found "my people" when I was in college. That's when I developed the first ties (beyond my family of course) that seemed worth the work to keep them going. Who I am has changed so much over the years since I got my high school diploma, that I don't even know if my old friends would know me, or I them.