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?

11 comments:

Kate said...

Soooo... What are the reasons you are considering going? Doesn't sound like much fun, but maybe there is some reason you want to go?

Could you be doing something better/more fun/more nurturing for yourself with that time? If so, I think you have your answer.

Nal said...

My dear dear friend - go to the reunion because you want to... and not because you feel you have to.... you went through tough times back in the day and you somehow made it through - not to say your life has not been without stuggle - ...today you share your thoughts with your friends and virtual strangers.. you write and you share your feelings and these indicate a strong woman who owns who she is - owns where she was, what she went through and where she is today! That speaks volumes. Now the part of not fitting in - I understand waaay too well so if for that sake you don't go then don't. But if you had friends, if you can stand tall and say yeah that was me the weirdo and today i stand here before you a proud smart woman who is going through sturggles in her life but has taken charge of it come hell or high water and is making a difference in her community as a teacher - then I say go for it and who cares what they say or don't say about you.. you are who you are.. and your friends love you for it.. and more importanly you love yourself for where you are today and who you are today. You got my vote... :) N

LISA EMRICH said...

If you want to go, don't let worries worry you. You can often find a seat when needed.

Have to be honest that I haven't made any high school reunions. Either I just wasn't interested, or in the case of my 20th, I never got word.

Webster said...

Well, I didn't go to my 10th because it wasn't held in an accessible site - AND because I really didn't care to relive my high school experience which was much more benign than yours seems to have been. And I never even heard about my 20th - or 30th!

I think reunions are great if there are several people with whom you want to "catch up." Beyond that, meh. Besides, they're usually costly.

I didn't read one compelling reason in your entry why you feel you'd WANT to go. So don't. That was then, this is now; your friend can fill you in on any of the gory details.

Stuff could always be worse said...

I do regret not going to my 20th, I didn't want my class to see me in a wheelchair. Now I am ready to go and they have not had since. I am no longer ashamed of the scooter chair, I look at it as an aide to get me around. That took a long time to even say that. Do what you feel best. you know your heart.

Cranky said...

Just started reading your blog and am really enjoying it. So, as a newbie, take my response with a grain of salt.

I have to agree with Webster, who captured many of the same thoughts I was having. Not once did I read why you'd like to go.

But, if there are some people you'd really like to connect up with, then going could be a way to re-establish that connection. However, there may be easier, less angst-filled ways to accomplish the same objective. These include "Friending" in Facebook and/or connecting through friends in common with whom you still have a relationship.

Just some thoughts.

I look forward to continuing to read your blog.

Weeble Girl said...

Thanks for all of your responses and comments. I'm considering everything and I have lots of time to make a decision.

I do "see" a lot of people on Facebook regularly so it's not like I live in a hole.

I feel more like I should go as it's just expected of people at reunion time. Sigh.

Thanks for your help.

Nick said...

Jules,
I went to our tenth and it was juvenile ( as most of our high school experience was). But our 20th was actually fun. People are no longer asking questions like "What do you do?" or "how much do you make" or "where did you get your degree from?" It was more like "how are you? and "what have you been up to?" We talked about family and life experiences and hobbies. We even had a Big M crew picture! :) But I completely empathize with your situation. You know my Kelly and despite also hanging out with you in the top ten of the 89 class, she was not looking forward to the reunion either. In fact, she will be out of town that weekend. All that said, I don't think you will miss a thing if you don't go. Although we had fun after all (we were apprehensive too), We could have enjoyed ourselves (so to speak) with a nice evening out with some family or current friends. Hugs and blessings to you,

Salbal said...

I wasn't planning on ever going to any HS reunions, but I'm actually going to go to part of my 20th this year. I graduated a year early, so I wasn't close to any of my graduating class. They are really planning a lot of stuff for the entire weekend! Friday night at a bar, Sat night at anither bar for $20 and a class pic, then on Sun. they want to have a pool party at the country club (really, who wants to be in a swimsuit with their classmates 20 yrs later???) I've decided to go to the Friday night thing at the bar and I'm going with work friends. That way, I'll be with friends, but will still be able to see my classmates. I live in my hometown again, so it would be nice to connect with other people my age (my friends at work are mostly in their early 20s)but I'm not expecting much.

rafael613 said...

J, It looks like I won't be able to come to the reunion. I have to be in Florida that weekend. It is a very strange experience to be conversing with people I've had little to no contact with for 20 years. There are really only a few people I bonded with in HS. You, BJM, SS, and a few others I can think of. The best times I remember were with you and BJM, so I am glad to be reconnected with you now.

Most of all, I want you to know that not everyone back then put their own label on you. We were a few friends who took each other how we were. I just always wanted to see you healthy and happy.
-JEF-

Weeble Girl said...

Not sure if any of you will check back here but I am sending in a check to pay for my reunion costs. I may not go but now I have the option in my hands.

Thanks for all of your posts and thoughts.

Weebs