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Ten Years Later

The other day I received an invitation to my ten year high school reunion, and I have no desire to go. I didn't enjoy high school, though there were good times during that four year period, overall when I think back to that time I'm reminded of huge waves of awkwardness, depression, and anxiety that I see no reason to revisit or celebrate. People who knew me then are usually surprised to learn that I was unhappy during that four year period, that's because I became good at hiding my emotions (Also, driving to school in the mornings blasting “The Best of The Who” helped as well).

Most people thought of me as a weirdo, and I was fine with that. I wasn't really anti-social, but I was rarely invited to anything. Football games didn't strike my fancy as an idea of a good time, so I usually spent of my Friday nights in watching Alfred Hitchcock movies and British comedies on BBC America. Looking back on it now, I'm OK with the fact that I was that way. I'm an introvert anyway, though I didn't know it at the time.

So much of high school is being pressured to go along with this conception of “the norm”. You go THESE games, you listen to THIS music, you see THESE movies. Add on top of this the horror stories of “oh, you're a Freshman, the Seniors are gonna treat you like crap!” or the constant reminder from some of “These are the best four years of your life, cherish them!” That last statement really led me to become even more inside myself during my Sophomore year, when I was at my most miserable.

Freshman year was actually kinda nice, I was having a fine time overall, and was hanging with some of the Seniors which was a big deal to others for some reason. Not to mention the day a rather attractive female Senior kissed me in the hallway, which was nice. Sophomore? Ugh, I barely recall any of it. I do recall that I was a rabid fan of Monty Python, and my friends and I were desperately trying to write things that came close to being as good as they were. Even then, I always had this urge to be creative.

Come Junior year I was beginning to become more confident and happy with myself. Senior year I was just angry and ready to move on, though I did have some great teachers during those four years that made it worthwhile—I'm still in touch with most of them. There's also the fact that Senior year I was on the school paper, writing a VERY rudimentary version of this column. How did I survive? You find what works for you. For me it was endless episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Why that? Because to this day it makes me laugh incredibly hard, and back then I would watch it thinking to myself “I get this. Other people get this. I can't be alone in the way my brain works.”

Come Senior year when my tastes in music were really starting to boom, I had a lot of friends, and even one teacher giving me suggestions for what to listen to. I was discovering Jazz, and Frank Sinatra. Then one day a friends hands you a CD with nothing but a pop art banana on the cover and you discover “The Velvet Underground and Nico”. One day you're talking with an English teacher, and they ask you “Have you ever heard anything by Frank Zappa?” The day I left high school I actually drove off campus blasting “I'm Free” by The Who, because I thought that's what you do when you're 18.

I hope those who go to the reunion do have a good time, and I wish no ill will towards anyone. But will I be going? No. Because, I honestly don't care. It's ten years later, and I don't need to worry about a four year period of my life. If you're someone reading this who is in high school, and feels a misfit and a weirdo, that's perfectly fine. Because you too will discover that being a weirdo is like having a super awesome secret power that will take you to amazing places later on in life. So if anyone tells you high school is the four best years of your life. It means it was for them, and that does not apply to you. Also, maybe you should start listening to The Ramones, because they're The Ramones.

Ten years later, I still march to the beat of my own drum, and live in my own lovely weird world. I wouldn't have it any other way


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