Yesterday I met with one of my best friends. Rather than go and do something fun, like, you know, eat or get books or something, we decided to revisit the scene of our greatest triumphs, the highlights of our lives.
Wait, did I say triumphs and highlights? I meant, revisit the scene of our greatest insecurities and unhappiness. Maybe I'm speaking for Natalie here. So I'll just make this about me.
Cue dramatic, ominous music:
Copy this down in your journal, folks. You can't fail!
I'm going to exaggerate just a tad. But come on, if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I wasn't cool in high school, right? No one as well adjusted as I am could possibly have been happy those years. (Heh. Kidding. But I personally have the theory that no one is cool in high school, no matter what their social status is. Everyone is scared and lonely and trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world. It's certainly easier for some than it is for others, but I'm proud of the fact that I was a huge, huge dork. And weirdo. And nerd. And, as one of my favorite teachers that I said hi to yesterday put it, "Crazy Militant Feminist." That was an exaggeration on his part. Mostly.)
I'm rambling. Onto the tour!
Scene of my many triumphs of amazing athletic prowess
aka Sometimes I sat in the bleachers, but only when I couldn't get out of it
Also, sometimes I protested
This was the location of my senior prom. Yup, prom. In the gym. But no worries--they draped a huge, army-camo parachute from the ceiling, so it was really pretty. Put butcher paper to cover the lockers, too!
The worst part of all is, I wrote a really funny newspaper article poking gentle fun at the whole thing (and the fact that my graduating class NEVER had an off-site activity) and, umm, made someone cry. Bad, BAD high school Kiersten. High school Kiersten would have cried if she knew she made someone cry.
But in spite of the dominance of the gym and the celebration of athletics, you cannot find more talented students in the arts. Did your high school have a full orchestra and band to accompany its plays? (Okay, if you live in Utah, probably. But still. Talent, talent, talent.)
Practice that I felt like a creeper taking pictures of
Sometimes I wish I had been more involved in high school. I did choir and newspaper and Mock Trial (ROCK ON), but I never really got involved in anything. Maybe that's the secret to happiness (or happier-ness) in high school--finding something you love doing that takes up a lot of the time you'd otherwise spend napping, or wallowing, or crying. Now, if there had been a napping, wallowing, crying, and reading quietly in your room club, I would have been president. And vice-president. And mascot.
My favorite/least favorite brother has it figured out--band, choir, drama, you name it. He has fun. Also, I'll say it for you: "HIS HAIR."
I was always too afraid of looking/feeling dumb to get involved or be passionate about anything. And you know what? That was dumb.
This is a fairly accurate representation of my level of school spirit then.
"It's a sword. In a rock. Seriously? I'm gonna go home and take a nap."
But I'm kidding. I totally took the following inspirational wall decoration to heart:
I put 100% effort into putting in the least effort possible!
In fact, my senior year there were some classes I skipped more than I went to. I think/hope they've cracked down on that. You could get away with a lot as long as your grades and test scores were good. It wasn't a very good system. Unless you love naps.
But it wasn't all bad. Every day I got a nutritious lunch:
Sugar, or salt? ALWAYS sugar.
And then went to this place:
and walked straight past it rather than walking in and trying to find someone who would think I was cool enough that they wouldn't mind me sitting by them. I'm sure people wouldn't have minded, but it was always the fear that they would--can you tell I was scared a lot in high school? I wasted a lot of time being scared.
So I'd go off to a favorite teacher's classroom and meet a few other friends who daren't brave the cafeteria or the even cooler "commons" area, and we'd download stupid songs on the computer to bug the teacher, and write out weird slogans on the board. (I believe my favorite was "Kiersten and Leah for Supreme co-Dictators of the World." I don't think Leah and I have plans for world domination any more.) (Well, maybe she does, I'll have to ask. But I'm tired just trying to handle my kids--the world can take care of itself, thankyouverymuch.)
It's interesting looking back. I got asked to every dance, had a couple of boyfriends, and a group of good girlfriends. (I was desperately, achingly lonely and had insomnia.) I got good grades and killer test scores and my teachers loved me. (I flunked three terms of math and hid it from my parents.) I was smart and funny and confident. (I was painfully insecure and worried that no one would ever really know or love me.) I was on the ball and a high school success story. (I struggled with depression.)
And I suspect that everyone I knew, everyone you knew, also had a whole hidden subtext to their life. Probably still do. Maybe that's why I write YA--it was all a mystery then, and it still kind of is.
But it wasn't all miserable. Evie, my MC in PARANORMALCY, would be horrified to know how I really felt about high school. She has a tendency to idealize it. But don't worry, Evie. I did have...
A locker. And, yes, lockers? AWESOME.
And surviving high school and taking those experiences to figure out who you really are and who you want to be and find out a way to make a happy life for yourself? Even awesomer.
So I guess high school wasn't so bad after all.
Except that gym. Really. That still sucks.