Monday, March 30, 2009
Do I stay home or do I go?
This is about my upcoming twentieth high school reunion. It will be held this summer for one night in a local restaurant/bar. The question is do I stay home or go to it?
I went to the tenth and to be honest, I still felt out of place. I wasn't a popular girl or a sports player. I was smart and kind of weird/funny/hyper. I hadn't spent all my school years with this group of students, only the last four so I was out of place in some ways. I was supposed to graduate in 1988 but didn't because of a bad bout of depression which landed me in a psychiatric hospital. And who doesn't want to be friends with the crazy girl?
My high school years (yes, there were five of them even though I graduated seventh in my class) were tumultuous at best. I had been heavy during my first freshman year and lost weight sometime in the summer. I lost it because I went on a crazy 500-calorie-a-day diet which my mom, a nurse, approved. That was part of our family's motto "if it looks good, then we're a great family".
I went back for a second freshman year trying to meet and greet a whole new crop of students and it was difficult at best. The sophomore class looked down at me with shame and disgust because I was a nut case. The freshman class looked at me as a stranger and then heard rumors about me. It was hard walking around being one of the freaks but it was a role I got better at.
I became a voracious bulimic to stay thin and at least look the part of the happy girl. I still dealt with deep depression and was suicidal. I was hospitalized again my sophomore year right before state testing (Regents) time. I brought my study book with me while I was there for a few days. I didn't exactly announce this after being discharged.
I had no counseling or medication when I wasn't in the hospital. I was the saddest, most miserable person that I knew. I suffered from delusions and hallucinations but as long as I looked the part of the happy thin girl, I made my parents feel something close to quiet acknowledgment of my existence.
Now I look back at those years and feel the sadness of being misunderstood. It was by the sheer grace of God that I somehow made it through those years. God, an after-school job, and a few close friends saved my life by getting me out of my house.
So here I am twenty years later wondering if I should go. Part of me feels safer if I don't go. I mean, my best friend from those years is reading this blog now. I talk to BJM almost daily so I know what's going on with her.
Another huge reason (a pun) not to go is that I am not even remotely thin and that bothers me. I take up so much space so people will look at me. What will they see? Will they remember the messed up me or the smiling me or the me that spent time in a psychiatric hospital? Will they make fun of me behind my back? It's hard being this big and feeling uncomfortable.
Then there are the MS reasons. It's summer and the heat makes me worse. There will be lots of standing around which I don't do well. There will be lots of people drinking and I have no one to drive me home even if I wanted to drink. And I do, I do. I want a strawberry daiquiri or two.
So sound off dear readers and let me know what you think. Would you go and be bold? Or would you take the safe road and stay home?