The shadow of your high school self stays with you, doesn't it? Awkward first kisses. SAT nightmares. Embarrassingly puffy prom dresses. It’s all there, in the back of our minds, like a hauntingly beautiful oxymoron. We somehow think we’ve moved beyond high school, that we’re adults in this big bad world. Even I thought that, but then I stepped back inside my high school a couple years ago. For the first time since I threw my cap in the air at graduation.
High school is the ultimate encapsulated time capsule. We check our adulthood at the front door when we enter those hallowed halls for the first time since graduation. We are that 18-year-old once again, even if we're really 26, 56 or even 86. The smells – the gym, the freshly mopped linoleum floors, the cafeteria. The sights – my old classrooms, my old locker. The sounds – the frenzied hustle of the teenage crowd, the basketballs bouncing in the gym, the whispers of gossip. It all takes you back because whether we like it or not, we were all someone in high school.
So who was I? Well, I had to dust off my old yearbooks for inspiration. I wasn’t on Student Council like the popular girls. I wasn’t the introspective poet like the theater dudes and dudettes. And I certainly wasn’t the star athlete like the football quarterback. No, I was the wallflower. The quiet one. That girl daydreaming in the corner, her head and nose always in a book or a pen in her hand. I suppose I hadn't grown into my larger-than-life personality just yet.
So when we come back, it’s almost as if we’d never left. I got those same insecurities and fears the second I set foot in my old high school for the first time a few years ago. Apparently, parts of that high-school dreamer were still walking right beside me, and I suppose part of me couldn't deny how much being in that building affected me -- the building where I spent four of my most formative years.
Are our adult selves mere outgrowths of our 18-year-old innocence? Are we forever our high-school selves? Or do we mature with age and time? Let's chat, friends! xoxo
[Photos via We Heart It]