Tuesday, June 23, 2009

High School, Hair, and Henry

Got a nice little note this morning from someone I knew in high school... she said she's been reading the blog (which I knew) and that she's gotten to know the "real me" way better than she did in back then, which I didn't know. It made me think about the fact that I haven't written about high school, really. I allude to it all the time, but I don't think I've ever devoted a post to it.

It's surprising how I saw myself, and how other people saw me. When I think of myself, I picture a shy nerd who just didn't want anybody to notice her. I was so hard on myself back then, and I remember an acute awareness of all of the negativity that existed in the world of high school cliques--none of which I felt like I fit into. No less than a half dozen times in the past few years, I've heard from someone that they thought I was intimidating, or judgy, or standoffish. Ugh. It pains me. It really does. Never do I see myself as that at all--in fact, in high school in particular, I was scared to death of everyone and everything. I was painfully, overly self-aware and shy. I had a hard time being in large groups of people. I never felt cool enough. I was afraid to talk in class. I didn't belong to any activities or groups because I was scared to fail, or look stupid, or have to talk to someone I didn't know. The only place I felt comfortable was with my dancer friends at my studio, so most of my high school days were just spend getting through the day and trying not to get crapped on by seagulls. (It happened. Oh yes. First day I wore my new suede leather jacket just after Christmas in 9th grade. Kerrr-plop.)

The point is, my fear of rejection from other people kept me from talking to them or from getting to know them. High school is horrible anyway, all everybody goes on is clothing and first impressions, and at that point you've all been together for so long it's just not healthy. None of the regular ebb and flow of people that you get in your adult life. The other thing I had contributing to my mock stoicism and paralyzing shyness was that I had a terrible run-in with my Language Arts teacher in 7th grade that scarred me from wanting to talk in class. I ended up as the butt of her joke about acne and from that point forward I sort of promised myself not to stand out. The problem with that is that if you don't stand out, nobody notices you, and the ones that do seem to think you're keeping yourself separate from everyone else because of something you're thinking about them. Often times I think I stayed quiet because I was too afraid of what other people would think, not because I was thinking something negative about them.

I was a good girl--but that didn't mean I judged anyone else for not being that. I was just too afraid of being in trouble, so I was hard on myself. In high school I really cared about my grades and I really cared about what other people thought about me. What I should have taken more time worrying about than the latter was how much I got to know other people. I do feel fortunate that this blog has allowed me to connect and reconnect with some people that I knew in high school, in whatever degree. The other thing I've really come to accept in the last year (because so much of my history with E started out so young) is that you can't hold regrets about who you were when you were young. At least, I can't. I can't live my life that way. You do the best you can with what you have at the time--at any age. But like many other things, I'm glad that this aspect of my life isn't the same anymore. You just move on and do your best now. High school is just brutal. My perspective on it is so different now as a teacher, and it really shows me some of the ways I can help my own kids be a part of the whole high school experience while they're there. I hope.

Subject change. I got my hair cut and colored this morning. Why, oh why don't I have the patience for that? It kills me to sit in that chair for three hours, even with a good book like Water for Elephants. I love the girl who cuts my hair, Hilary; she is a creative goddess, and she and I always enjoy chatting it up. Unfortunately, it's the processing time when she leaves me there with enough foil on my head to get a signal in from Mars, twiddling my thumbs and wishing the clock would move more quickly. She updated the highlights, which really brightened my hair. I would venture to say I'm a full blonde at this point. I don't think that's been the case since 1993. My apologies for the lack of makeup in the photo. It's summer and I am strictly anti-makeup and anti-shoe when I can get away with it.

Last subject today: Henry. This isn't probably funny to anyone else, but he has total motormouth lately. Yesterday I spent virtually the entire day in front of the computer in the office trying to work on redesigning the blog. He ran in right after lunch exclaiming,
"Mom, Mom! Can I have a chocolate covered macadamia nut?" Lifting his hands skyward and cocking his head, he continued "and, um... uh... also, what is pizazz? Wait." I waited. "No--not pizazz. I mean, um, position. What's position?" He just has too much to say. His brain isn't keeping up with his mouth.

Okay, peeps. Stay out of the heat today. Nap-time for me before soccer practice.

P.S. I present this post to you as a model of how NOT to write anything. Thank you.

5 comments:

  1. First: Thank you for being so honest about how being shy can be almost painful. It's really bizarre, because all growing up and through high school I was very out-going, but as I get older I'm becoming painfully shy. I hate it. I'm so self-conscious now and never, ever want to say the wrong thing (especially while at work) so I don't say much and people take that as me being rude and stuck up. Again, hate it! I love reading that other people have gone through, or are going through, the same situation.

    Second: LOVE your hair cut and color! You look great! Doesn't being blonde just make you a little more cheerful everyday? Maybe I'm bias :)

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  2. p.s. Is it bias or biased?!!? Going to Google the difference now LOL

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  3. biased. Don't worry, I don't go around editing people who comment on my blog. Then I'd have to be perfect, which aint happenin.

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  4. I would agree with whoever wrote you that note. And again it's weird to read your stuff and think "that's exactly how I am too!" because I never knew that in high school. I really didn't know you. I have no idea what classes we had together (I'm guessing world history because KL's room is the only place I remember seeing you). Did we ever talk? We must have. I thought you were cool in high school, I really did. Way more cool than me, I think I thought you were outgoing, and you had a very tight group of friends. Probably the fact that I mostly remember you in dreadlocks dancing on a picnic table skews things a bit though.

    I get the "unapproachable" thing too. Over the years people have confessed they thought I was snobby, unapproachable. "You scare people" someone once told me. Egads! That's so not me! I'm just so dreadfully self-conscious that I am afraid to interact! So we're in the same boat on that one (which is probably why we never talked in high school, lol).

    I sometimes wonder if I'm what people from high school thought I'd turn out to be. Or even if I'm what I thought I'd be (yes and no!). The bellydancing probably surprises a few. ;-)

    Okay, I'm going anonymous, but you know who this is. :-)

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  5. I agree with my belly dancing diva friend...my fondest memory of you in HS was at senior bbq when you danced with Heather B to Milli Vanilli! Gotta appreciate a girl in dreds! Personally, I like your hair better now, though! LOL ;-)
    And no worries about the lack of makeup...that's totally me, too! June 3rd came and the makeup went out the window! AHHH, I love summer!

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