I am the Class of 1999. Yes, the Prince song! It’s lit, carry on. But I have no desire to go to any reunion. None. I haven’t the slightest desire to be around people that I legit could barely stand 20 years ago for a night or a weekend Facebook event.
The hubs is all geeked to go to his reunion. I get it; he was born in a small town in Texas. He liked his school. He even has friends that still live there! As for me, I have no such affinity.
Before you think I’m a bigger wench than I probably am, let me explain something. I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. This city is clique-based, especially around education. Namely, high school.
My school was Jennings Senior High. And I hated everyday I was there. I was bored out of my mind. I was suffering from depression. I only wanted to write! On top of the fact, my father would be dead before Christmas of 1998.
My fondest wish was to graduate, putting as much land and water between me and St. Louis as possible. I had wanted to go to New York University. I wanted to study English, and become a professor. My dreams were bigger than the halls of Jennings Senior High. Why would I want to go and remember the four most trying, depressing years of my life? Why?
Hint: I wouldn’t.
There are only a handful of people that I want to see, and thanks to Facebook? I can find them–if I want to! But the thing is, I don’t.
This is not a dig at those whose high school years were happy. I’m glad they were! I’m happy for you! But realize there are those of us that don’t want to remember a place that stifled us, made fun of us, or kept us bored for four years! High school was not the ‘best years’ of my life. I am famous for saying, “The people that say ‘these are the best years of my life’ have nothing else to do or look forward to.”
I meant that.
I am grateful for the teachers that spoke to my talent as a writer: Mr. Henry Barrere, Mr. Stephen Batchelor. I adore Mr. Batchelor (my Big Bro Matt)–but that is a story for another day.
Reunions are great and all, but my best life came after I left. The beginning of the awesome part of my life came when I left a place the represented everything stifling. Everything hard. Representative of everything I wanted to forget. I looked at high school, and St. Louis as what Tennessee Williams called a ‘necessary adversary’. Being quiet in high school made me observant of human behavior. It got me good a people-watching, accents, and detailing being in love–unrequited.
With the vantage point of 20 years, I can tell that awkward girl that dreamt of marrying Derek Jeter, to keep dreaming. I can tell her more than half the people in these classrooms you won’t see again.
These girls that made fun of you, dudes that wouldn’t talk to you or date you, will not matter once you turn this tassel. Treat unnecessary people as a wind chime: they make noise for a while and they stop. I would remind her not to get bogged down in people’s
I can tell her that you make, will make, your life great. And your success is not contingent on what other people believe, think or say. It is not defined by whether or not you got to be Prom Queen, Homecoming Queen, or lost your virginity after either event.
This twenty year reunion only marks time; it marks my age, and my slow, careful strut towards 40. St. Louis is home, I am an alum of Jennings Senior High, class of 1999. I also don’t give a damn if I ever darken those halls again.