We thought we were so cool…

I recently spent some time with my niece who is a rising sophomore in high school. I’ve been sharing unsolicited stories of my own high school career. The thing that has really stood out to me is that the things I did in high school that I really thought were so cool, were the things that really alienated me from the “popular” crowd. I dressed strangely, wrote a lot of really bad poetry, and really, truly felt that my life was so tragic. As I recount these tales, the thing that sticks out the most is that while at the time these things seemed so very important, looking back they were pretty silly.

So what is popularity and why is it so important? I wanted to be part of the crowd, to have fabulous adventures with my fabulous friends, I wanted to date the cute boy in my class and I wanted people to look up to me. Funny thing is, I had all that, it just wasn’t with the the crowd I thought I wanted to be a part of. With my group of friends, I did belong. We had great times and adventures together and while I never did date that cute boy in my class, I kissed a bunch of frogs. Looking back I even had other people who looked up to me, I just couldn’t see it at the time.

So why is it that we can’t see how good we have it at the time? Why is it that we want what others have? I could blame it on the media, on how the “beautiful people” on TV and movies are shown, but that’s too easy. We want what we don’t have. We want what someone else has. In turn, that person wants something else too. I don’t even know how many of the girls I went to high school with have had some type of surgery. When I get my friends recommendation on Facebook I have to really look sometimes and try to imagine her with a different nose, or lower cheekbones and these were the girls i wanted to be like in high school! They are the people i looked up to and the ones i thought had it all together. In general, we are never totally satisfied with what we’re given in life. I really don’t think there’s any person out there who is totally, 100% happy with everything and doesn’t ever wish something about their life was different. Maybe that’s just a part of human nature.

I think I’ve said all that to get to this. Who we are is a direct effect of who we were. When we were talking about this blog, my friend said that we should examine how we’ve recovered from high school, and I asked have we really? Do we ever get over the hurts and insecurities of our youth. I see myself today as a totally different person. I think I’m more self-confident and sure of myself. I have more courage and I think I’m pretty OK. But it doesn’t take too much to send me back to that place. I can overhear something or feel snubbed by someone at work and all of a sudden that old insecurity creeps back in. Heck, throw in a new coworker who I think is pretty fabulous and I’m falling all over myself again to try and be noticed and be new BFFs! What I need to realize is that I’m pretty cool the way I am. I’m blessed with that prince who finally showed up after all those frogs. My kids are pretty awesome 90% of the time and I like the life I have.

So have I really recovered from high school? I think I’m still trying to figure that out.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mandalaymai
    Jun 22, 2011 @ 19:17:40

    One, I pretty much NEVER thought I was cool. But, I had fun. Mostly, I was slightly embarassed that the stuff I had fun doing was the stuff I had fun doing, like study groups and literary competitions and hippie parties and things. Now, I am much more into “letting my freak flag fly,” as they say. Everyone is some kind of “geek” after all. I like that the internet lets you see that no matter what you are into, someone else shares your odd enthusiasm. I just bought some Super Scope Story Teller cassette tapes with picture books off of ebay…

    Two, when I look back on highschool I am mostly grateful that haircare technology has come so far. I mean, WTF was I going to do with shampoos that were supposed to add body? Flatirons got good and Frizz Ease hit the market and then the world became my oyster….

    Three, I can only think of a few people who have had “work” done. And let me say that if I could afford it I would be a quilt, but that has nothing to do with anything else; that’s about me being happy with me, and that’s it. I agree though that if you are doing it to fit in and be accepted or because you think you are wrong the way you are, then that’s bad. And yeah, people always want what they haven’t got. But, Mert, if you know of more people who had had stuff done, email me…I wanna look… 🙂


  2. Anne
    Jun 24, 2011 @ 11:59:17

    I’m with Mai – of all the things I wish I’d known was how to manage my hair. I had some SERIOUS red frizz going on and the yearbook photos are not pretty. especially with the high bangs and giant earrings. Sadly, I only learned to deal with my hair during the final week of college.

    Unfortunately you can’t really share your wisdom with those now in high school. Sure, you can tell them, but it’s hard to believe that things w ill change when you’re stuck in the middle of it. I wish I’d known that everyone is insecure in high school and having the same issues. Some just choose to feel better by trying to make others feel worse.

    It’s funny that most of the really cool people I know today (ok, they’re cool because they’re my friends…not really an unbiased judgment) were geeky or somehow uncool in school. Things have a way of changing!


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