This past weekend I attended my 10 year high school reunion. It wasn’t what I expected at all. I had mixed emotions leading up to the event. Initially, I was excited. Then, I wanted to not go. Then I was back and forth with it.
Maybe I was stuck in lalaland considering all I thought I knew about reunions were things I’ve seen on tv and in movies. Reunions take place at the school. It is an organized event that the school (staff wise) would be a part of. Everyone would be happy and it would be all nostalgia, bliss and laughs. There may be some revealing of old secrets, someone who professes their love for someone . . . nah, I know, too far. But you get what I’m saying.
After buying my plane ticket home it hit me, while I had some good times in high school, I definitely didn’t care to go back. I went through so many awkward stages throughout high school. I wasn’t that popular kid nor was I a loser, but I just never felt I belong. I floated between groups of friends, but by the time I graduated, I had my tight-knit group. That group stood the test of time, distance, life-changes and more.
But out of that group, only one other friend wanted to attend. Perfect, I had one person to roll with who got me. Who would make me feel comfortable if I became uncomfortable. Leading up to the event, we’d talked several times about our “plan.” I didn’t care to stay for the full event, just enough to mingle and network a bit and actually reminisce with folks I considered acquaintences. My friend wanted to leave after one hour, although she agreed to staying for two.
Fast forward. The main event.
Walking in I was nervous. What would the talks be like? I still hadn’t “made it” so I felt like I didn’t have much to talk about compared to others. Once I turned the corner into the “field” area passing the bar and spotted my class all of that flew out of the window. I was back at Taft High. There were several small groups of what I could only see as grown kids chatting just like we did in school. Only differences were a few were now married, hair loss and weight gain.
I strutted in with my friend by my side and made eye contact with folks who I kept up with either verbally or via social media. I went straight to my safe space, a mutual friend between the two of us. Once we began exchanging hugs and hellos others flocked to us.
As the reunion went on, I realized we all had very similar feelings coming in. Everyone didn’t feel grown-up and if given the chose, would definitely not adult any day. No one felt they had it all together and thought others did (until conversations happened). Lastly, everyone had a time frame they’d stay and mingle at the event for.
Perfect. I immediately felt at ease and found my groove. Remembering our own time frame with plans of going to dinner after I began taking pictures with my friends and making sure we caught up and knew where we were all located on the map. I mean hello, trips!
I felt bad because while I could recognize faces, some names just weren’t coming to mind. I was reassured by pretty much every person I spoke to that that was a major commonality amongst all groups in attendance.
Initially, I said this would be the only reunion I’d attend, but after reconnecting with a few folks, I may consider the next one. . . if I feel it’s worth it.
Here are a few take aways:
1. Everyone is still as awkward and unsure as we were in high school. And that is okay. We are growing and going through life learning. It’s beautiful, because I felt no one “faked the funk.” Everyone was just like, yo this is what I do, this is where I live, shits going and I’m still alive. . .
2. . . . annndd I want to be a kid again, better yet, I’m still a kid. The end. No one cares to adult.
3. 10 years later and we are still separated and “clique-y.” From my perspective I’d hoped we’d mesh a bit more, expand our horizons and get out of our comfort zones. I think we all played it safe.
4. In playing it safe, everyone came in with a set time frame for attendance. No more, no less. Appearance is everything. Just not in the literal sense.
5. Brief nostalgia. It was cool to reconnect with some, laugh and exchange stories, but I think we can all agree to thank everyone for the memories and keep moving forward. Leave high school, at the high school.
– Viola Constance