The truth is, I have been having nightmares about high school since it ended. In my dreams I’m late for class, I can’t find my schedule, my outfit sucks, and the dog ate my homework. Sometimes I wake up and I say “I’m sick mom,” before I open my eyes and realize I’m 28, out-of-state, nowhere near my mom or first period Math. You try to live a life in distance from those amazing awful years and then, your ten-year reunion rolls around.
The “ten-year reunion” is a highly anticipated event long before you even start high school. I was watching Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion when I was 11, imaging what car I would pull up in and what office supply I’d claim to have invented. When my ten-year reunion invention showed up in my Facebook inbox, a lot of things crossed my mind, like “fuck, what have I done in ten years?” I’m not ashamed of the time I’ve spent away but I knew one thing for sure, I didn’t want to go. I don’t know how valid my reasons seem, but here they are.
1. I’m not curious about anyone. This isn’t meant to be rude, it’s sincere. I’m not curious about anyone because MySpace and Facebook came out the year we graduated, and we were the first to hop on that train. We’ve had tabs on each other from the day we graduated. We know who has gotten married, divorced, had kids, done something awesome, and done nothing at all. I don’t feel the need to verify that in person.
2. The timing sucks anyway. I know that most reunions are held around thanksgiving because that’s when they assume most people will be in their home town. I wasn’t in my hometown for The holiday this year and mine is on Black Friday. Flying home now and getting back before work on Saturday is not worth what I can catch up with on social media.
3. My class is so exclusive. I don’t think my graduating class realizes that they don’t include everyone. Five years ago, I was at a local bar with my group of high school friends when, a huge clan of my graduating class filtered in. They said they were having their “Five Year Reunion” and apparently only they were invited. Official or not, it was rude.
This reunion will be held at another local bar and there are only 140 tickets available. The invite says you can’t bring a guest, because there isn’t enough room. Understandable but, my graduating class was definitely over 400 people. I did my shameful share of excluding and felt equally as excluded for four long years, I don’t feel like revisiting that feeling, and especially not alone!
4. My best friend isn’t going so therefore I’m not cool enough to go. My sidekick is in grad school, in Prague. I’m not going without Romy. I hid in the shadows of my friends back then and maybe, I’m a way, I still do. Does fear of acceptance always exist? Ew, am I afraid?
5. I can hear the trumpets to Usher’s “Yeah!” and I’m just not ready. It’s the biggest reason I have with the least explanation. People always wonder if they are thin enough, pretty enough, successful enough to attend their reunion with pride. I don’t think I feel bad about any of these aspects, I’m about the same size and have accomplished a lot of my goals, but I still don’t feel ready. Maybe I’m afraid to face 17-year-old me in the mirror and feel disappointed. Maybe, I’m afraid of what ten years looks like. I’m willing to accept that with the exchange that I will work harder. Perhaps the answer isn’t the flight, the absence of my friend, or the exclusivity. Perhaps I personally need another ten years! Maybe by then social media will die off and we can all be pleasantly surprised with accompanying each other. Maybe we can find a spot that includes everyone that graduated and a guest. Maybe then I can embrace the trumpets as I, take that and rewind it back.
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