Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Love Lounge: Let's talk high school

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]


  1. I hated high school! Oh my goodness- I wanted to leave by Sophomore year. It was all too overwhelming yet boring for me. Sound weird? I hated the drama of the people but at the same hated the monotony of going to the same classes every day. I think about high school and feel ill. Which it weird because I'm typically a very 'eh' kind of person.

  2. I don't feel like my high school self at all. Not that I like or dislike my past self; I just feel so different. All I can do is laugh at how I felt so sure about life and what was important. My 10 year reunion is coming up, I'm actually looking forward to it.

  3. Sometimes I wish I could know all that I know now and be there person I am now back when i was I was in high school and college, but then again, that's what growing up is all about! :)

    I have to say, I didn't mind high school...I was one of those people that wasn't in any clique and just in the middle, as I say, friends with popular and unpopular...I just wanted to be nice and friendly to everyone, which I think everyone deserves.

    Plus, I was lucky to go to a great high school and one that wasn't too big, which I loved, and at a time before all this social networking, which I wouldn't change for the world...I think it is much harder to be a kid in high school these days then it was back when I went, in some ways.

    However, it is odd how when you get older you see that many groups and people act more like they are in high school than adults...I experience more of the clique type thing now as an adult than I did when I was in high school, which just seems backwards!

    Overall, I liked who I was in high school, but also like who I am growing up to be...different, mostly with more confidence and comfortably in my own skin, which I love embracing! Yay!

    Interesting topic, Melissa, as it and your blog! :)

  4. Very complex. Hopefully, we all mature and gain the confidence to be ourselves without seeking the approval from others.

  5. High School for me was both amazing and horrific. There were so many amazing teachers, life was a great unknown that held mystery and excitement, and yet I didn't fit in anywhere. What made it rough was that I had no confidence and had no clue how to handle my emotions. I was lucky to have some great friends, but even then I knew that there was something deep down that I didn't connect with them and it was a bit forced.

    What I didn't know than that I do know is that I was hiding a great deal of who I was in order to fit in. I was terrified to be me. Even though I was the girl who was "different" or as some would putting "samantha being samantha" I was holding back a lot trying not to stick out and yet be different all at the same time.

    Looking back I'm the same person that I was just grown up, not so angry, and much more confident. I still feel a bit like the outsider looking in when, as Liesl put it see adults acting more like High Schoolers, but it doesn't bother me anymore. Let them be them and I'll just do me.

  6. I can't imagine you being any different now than you were back in high school. Your blog posts offer no proof of a larger than life personality. You sit at home all weekend. You social life consist of playing games with your mother and typing away on the computer. An occasional meal out of the house is nothing special. You have a rich fantasy life. You fall in love with guys who you wouldn't have the guts to approach in real life. If someone pays you the slightest attention, you obsess over their cursory glances or few words spoken for weeks. I bet in high school you were jealous most of the time. Jealous to see couples pairing off while you sat at home alone, like you do now.

  7. I was also the wallflower. My stomach churns any time I have to go back. I feel more 15-16 than 18 though, lol.

  8. Just read the comment above mine. Just my two cents, I don't see you as probably being jealous. I think just because you're a dreamer doesn't mean you can't be happy for others.

  9. I love and hated High School. I loved all the learning and challenging myself to do well to get into university. But I lived in a small rural town, a town were people rarely moved out so everyone seemed to morph into each other. Trying to be different was frowned on it wasn't until university that I think I "blossomed" into being me.

  10. I have to say......I, too, laughed at your self-professed "larger than life" personality! Granted, I do not know you personally, but if your personality were truly "larger than life....." you would be OUT THERE moving and shaking things up, making things happen, experiencing new and exciting things, busy, busy, busy, surrounded by lots of friends with ALOT going on in your life! Can you please explain to us how obsessing over celebrities in tabloid magazines, watching endless tv sitcoms, dreaming & fantasizing via the blogosphere and playing Yahtzee with your mother on the weekends makes you "larger than life?" I once read an article about the late Elizabeth Taylor, who was described as being "larger than life." That woman experienced all that life can possibly be made up of...and much more! Marriage, divorce, loss of love, super-stardom, motherhood, being deeply & passionately in love, being publicly scorned, substance addiction, recovery, sobriety,traveling the globe, life-threatning illnesses, social activism, friend to royalty, politicians and the mega rich and name a few. THAT is someone who was "larger than life."

  11. Anons -- I most certainly have lived a life well beyond celebrity magazines, TV sitcoms and Yahtzee. I've traveled, underwent life-threatening surgeries, been published on national publications, lost loved ones and made life-long friends.

    It may not be your definition of a "full" life, but it's mine and I wouldn't have it any other way...

  12. Once, after a rough week in undergrad that included finishing my thesis, conflicts with a roommate, and a rough breakup, a friend was consoling me when I mentioned to her that I felt like the wide-eyed dreamer I was in high school would be so disappointed in me. My friend then informed me that high school me was an idiot and I needed to ignore her. This probably looks really harsh typed out but it was actually one of the best things anyone has ever said to me and really helped me through that time. She didn't mean that I was actually an idiot in high school or that the person I was then didn't matter, but that I couldn't hold myself to the expectations of someone who hadn't really experienced all of the challenges life brings as we become adults. I guess this hasn't made me long for those high school days because while the person I am now has much bigger responsibilities, I face them head on with a strength and confidence I never had in high school.

  13. it doesn't define you unless you let it.

  14. Great writing, great post!

    To answer your questions, I think it's a combination. Thanks to Facebook (of all things) I realized that I, along with my peers, had matured. People that I never talked to or that never talked to me (due to the living hell we endured for 4 years known as "the popularity contest") are now my friends. I enjoy sharing a laugh with and/or reading about my former classmates current lives. I feel sincere happiness for all of them and I can tell by the mutual interaction that it's reciprocated. Whether or not we were friends back in the day, we seem to be very supportive and protective of each other now.

    On the flip side, 25 years later, I can tell from the jokes we share, the places we frequent, the music we listen to and that bond we have developed that our former high-school selves are still a big part of who we are. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

  15. i love these comments -- so maybe our high-school selves blend with our adult selves?


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