Why are High School Reunions Still a Thing?

My high school reunion was this weekend.

I didn’t go.

I could say I regretfully missed the event because I couldn’t take time away from work to make the trip back to Kansas. I could say that I didn’t have any one that would willingly take care of my four-legged fur baby while I was away. I could tell you that I had a very important event here in town that I just couldn’t miss.

The truth? I didn’t go because I didn’t want to. It is no simpler than that, but actually much more complicated.

When my phone violently dinged and flashed blue alerting me of a Facebook notification, I truly did not expect an invitation from I-Already-Forgot-Her-Name-Again Former-High-School-Class-President to my 10-year reunion. (A friend tagging my name on a comment section of a funny dog meme would have been much more welcomed.)

After a moment of shock at the fact that it has been ten whole entire years since I walked the halls of that school, and dramatically yelling “I AM A FOSSIL” to my very confused, much younger boyfriend, I contemplated if that was an event that I wanted to attend. Contemplated is putting it nicely. I thought about it for about 9 seconds before I scrolled through the names of the other invitees and confidently decided that was not a party I intended to party at.

(Full disclosure, there isn’t much partying going on in my life these days due to the fact that I am not a person who drinks safely, so I have chosen to refrain from drinking all together, but I digress…)

Did anyone ACTUALLY enjoy high school? Let me re-phrase. Did anyone who wasn’t a cheerleader, or a psychopath actually enjoy high school? (Those two are not mutually exclusive, by the way.)

High school was not a fun experience for me, although I would have told you that it was. It was 4 years of self-hatred and confusion. 4 years of aggressive acne medication that caused nose bleeds, stealing vodka from the top shelf of my parent’s pantry and pretending that I actually liked my peers due to the fear of being the next target of the asshole who played wide receiver in the fall or the other asshole who played shooting-guard in the winter. I wasn’t a “loser” or “popular”, I was somewhere in the middle as I think most people are, and I did have some solid friends. (Sarah, if you’re reading this, I miss you!)

I do not have some super traumatic reasoning for disliking high school, being 16 was traumatic enough.

graduation 1

When thinking about how a reunion would go, I had to ask myself if I would be thrusted back into 2008, playing along, playing for my life.

I couldn’t imagine a situation in which I wouldn’t. I wondered if I could stomach an entire night pretending I cared about these peoples upcoming nuptials and/or “super awesome jobs” in the same way that I used to care about their cheerleading tryouts, and homecoming dates. I didn’t care then, I don’t care now.

I am told often that I need to implement more “self-care” into my life. Well, there you go people!!! In my most triumphant act of self-care yet, I decided to un-attend my high school reunion. Not only did I decide not to attend, but I took the steps to officially DECLINE the invitation on a public forum, so “Former-Class-President-What’s-Her-Name?” could have an accurate head count.

See guys? Self-care, and being respectful to others, all with one anxiety-ridden tap of my thumb. Who says multi-tasking is hard?

Don’t get me wrong, much of my high school woes were self-inflicted, as most peoples are. However, I try very hard these days to NOT be the girl that I was in high school. Most days, I am successful at this feat, but I know that that girl is still inside of me somewhere. She is hiding, just like she used to hide in her basement bedroom dreaming of a different type of existence. Hiding. Not gone.

Just looking at that invitation on my phone, thrusted me back into those thoughts of self-doubt. “Am I thin enough to go back there?” “Am I successful enough to go back there?” Notice, my first thought was not “Am I happy enough to go back there?”

{Side note: Why does no one ever ask us if we are happy?}

I don’t make a habit of sitting in self-hatred and insecurity these days.

Apparently, I have been out of high school for ten years. (*Yikes*) Today I say no to what no longer serves me. Today I will choose differently. I didn’t know better then, but I know better now. I will choose not to subject myself to the bullshit I accepted as truth when I was 16 years old. They tell me I am 10 years removed from the locker I hid behind, which means I am too damn old. Most importantly, I am too damn happy.

I am surrounded by people that I love every single day, and I know that they love me right back. Why on God’s Green Earth would I choose to pay money to GET ON A PLANE, to spend ONE NIGHT finding out about the big life events of people that I NEVER SEE. Things that I could find out in two minutes on Facebook from the comfort of my own couch. Facebook is a thing y’all, do reunions still have to be?

Now, if you are the reunion-going-type, MORE POWER TO YA! I admire your self-confidence and patience! Truly, I do. But I will be here, happily being my adult-self and thanking my lucky stars that we aren’t teenagers forever.

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