I was bored earlier, so I decided to browse around my former high school's website. I don't know why. I don't know what I was looking for. For some crazy reason, I registered as an alumni several years ago. I say "crazy" because high school was hell for me. I went to a school that was full of kids who came from wealthy families. The parking lot was often filled with newer BMW's and VW's. My family wasn't rich. At all. My dad was just good at pretending we were.
There was a group of prissy little cheerleaders who, for some reason, liked to pick on me. They first began to pick on a friend of mine, then suddenly found me more interesting. I hid the pain and embarassment by writing nasty things about them on the bathroom walls, stuffing used kleenex into their lockers, that sort of thing. One evening, I got up the courage to ask the leader of the pack to "take it outside" after a confrontation inside of a pizza parlor. At 5'5" and 115 lbs, I obviously wasn't a giant, but at 4' 11", I towered over her. I looked tough but inside I was shaking. Apparently I fooled (and frightened) her for she shrugged me off. However, she pretty much left me alone after that episode. Her friends though picked up where she left off. Where young girls get this urge to bully and belittle I haven't a clue. Gossipy pretentious little attitudes--I find it all sickening. But I was at the receiving end of such treatment from grades 5 to, believe it or not, college graduation. No joke. The other strange factor: each of the girls were blonde. To this day if I meet some petite blonde, young or old, alarms go off inside and I have the urge to punch her lights out. Thank goodness for adult onset wisdom and discernment. :)
Lately I wonder how life would have been for me had I been allowed to go to school where I wanted. Had my dad hadn't packed us up and moved us across the river to the "elite" subarbs where he could erase his memories of his poverty-stricken childhood, where he could then show to the world "See, I am somebody!". Thanks to dad's decision, my life completely changed after that. Before that move, I had many friends, male and female. I was well liked. I loved our neighbors. I loved the school I attended. After that move though, my school years slowly turned into a never-ending nightmare, each year becoming more challenging.
Reading some of the alumni's discussions of the "wonderful" high school with the "awesome" teaching staff we attended makes me shake my head, much in the same way I shake my head towards those who don't see the political movement afoot. What on earth was there to brag about at this particular school? Overall, the teaching staff was terrible. We had the pervert who would watch the girl's asses as they walked out of the room and look down their shirts when they would bend over at his desk to speak with him. We had the teacher who dated (openly) a student. We had the algebra teacher who obviously hated teenagers and teaching. Then there was the alcoholic biology teacher who, when he wasn't having one of his rage attacks or slurring his words, would hide in the closet and drink while we watched 1960's black and white films on the wonderful world of amoeba's. There was his best friend and drinking buddy, our Vice Principal, who, for some reason took a liking to me, which came in handy when I would get busted for skipping class (which I did a lot after my sophomore year). He'd take one look at me and say "this sweet young thing skip class? Never! Let her go!" Our principle was an ignorant twit who overlooked all of the problems and lived in a bubble whereby he sent us regular messages on the loudspeaker about how we were to have "PRIDE" for our school.
I tried, unsuccessfully, for all 4 years of my high school "career", to convince my parents to pleasssseee send me to another school. I relayed my concerns, but they blew them off as just a case of teen angst and a bad attitude. That coupled with the teasing I received left me with a chip on my shoulder and lead me to a world of drinkin' and smokin' herb, which I did both whenever I could. Despite the fun I was having during these partying ventures, inside I was crying out for help, but no one noticed. I desperately wanted someone to notice me, someone to care enough to ask if I was ok, to ask what I needed, to ask what I wanted for my life. Someone to say "you are an amazing, talented young girl. You deserve better than this what can I do to help?" I wouldn't be lying to say that I still don't have that same longing. Eventually I got so bold, I put alcohol pictures all over my walls, left bottles in my closet with the door open, came home drunk, high. Nothing. Again, all likely just chalked up as normal teenage angst.
Oh well, my concerns were validated when 3 years after I graduated, there was a big shake-up with the school and the school board. The result? Over 25% of the teaching staff was fired (including the pervert, the drunk, the algebra teacher, the vice principal and principal). I remember rushing home to tell my folks and was deeply disappointed in their response of "mmm hmmm." Mmm hmmm? My 3.5 gradepoint which slowly slipped to a 2.00 by the time I was a senior wasn't just about me. They were also about the quality of the teachers I had had. Didn't they see that? Didn't they care?
Painful it also was to me to see people from my class talk about the wonderful bonds they had with one another. I tried fitting in, but after two years of attempts to "be somebody", I stopped trying. I accepted my role as the wallflower, the invisible one. I had a few friends, acquaintances really, when I look back on it. I remember this one girl who used to dress all in black. She was so mysterious to me. She both frightened and intrigued me. She dressed the way I felt. Despite being open with the substance use, I was fairly conservative in my dress. It was the early 80's. Preppy was in.
As I said at the beginning, sometimes I wonder what my life had been like had my dad stayed put in our wonderful little house. Would I have continued to fit in? I remember once going to a party hosted by some of kids from the high school I would have attended had we not moved. I had an awesome time. I, well, I fit right in. I wasn't ignored. I wasn't teased. That was one of the nights I came home, begging my parents again, pleassssssse let me transfer schools.
The idea of a life "do-over" may not be possible, but if it is, in some cosmic way, I would sure like the chance. While I obviously have no desire to repeat my childhood as it was, I would like the chance to do it over, my way, in a way that suits my needs, with the knowledge I have today coupled with that childlike innocence.
If that were possible, would you do it? How do you think your life would look? What would you do differently? I'll post my thoughts on that at a later time.