Re-imagining my high school years

If anyone right now would ask me what high school was like for me, my knee-jerk reaction would probably be to say "it was pretty normal." I don't have the same disdain for high school as most people, and I am sure that I've claimed to enjoy it. I wasn't cool, but I didn't stick out as uncool and I think that's why my image of everyone back then is rather positive. 

All of this is to say- the way others have re-told the story of my own high school experience has changed my perspective.

During my senior year, a handful of people said some things to me that should have stuck out more than it did at the time. First was two girls had told me that they thought it was "so cool that I don't give a fuck." They told me that they thought I was the coolest person ever since I seemed so unbothered and unphased by everything. This stuck out to me because I wondered, at the time, where they could have gotten that impression from. It makes you wonder in what aspects it looked like you weren't trying. Of course, considering both girls specifically took me aside to make this comment quietly and sincerely, I don't think either of them had bad intentions in what they said. I think they interpreted some sort of spirit of rebellion through my apathy which was just a complete misread, which I will further explain later.

The second thing that someone told me which really stood out was when a boy whom I perceived to be a good friend was shocked as I asked to take a photo with him during one of our class gatherings. He said something along the lines of "Woah, Marice wants to take a picture with ME?"

Recently, a close friend who had moved away came back to visit and we talked about the good old days and she also reiterated to me that I seemed to be in "my own world" and that was the point where it all started to make sense.

All the past comments, I really just brushed off and thought "lol okay weird" when I probably should have internalized it more and did something about it at the time. Because now I sincerely regret how uninvolved I was, especially in my final year.

I realize that I may have come of as apathetic. I don't think anyone would have viewed me as present. I think I always really did think, at least internally without even noticing it, that the world is so big and that I could be bigger than this town. Of course I wasn't. And frankly I did live in my own world. In senior year I did have a God complex, which started the year before when I heard "Girls" by the 1975 for the first time. Hearing the lines "well she can't be what you need if she's 17" at age seventeen felt so powerful. I felt invincible. I was so aware that I was at such a coveted moment in life. The point in life where young people aspire to be and where older people dream of re-experiencing. But honestly that is a whole different story.

I was depressed.

From what I remember I thought I really enjoyed this part in my life but I also always thought "depression aside." I had a strong sense of self and so much of it turned out wrong. I remember that during junior and senior year, all I wanted was to get out of there. My knees would bounce and my eyes would shift to the clock over and over waiting for when I could finally get out of here and do something different. I always want different. I read somewhere that it's a sign of a turbulent and inconsistent childhood. I think that's true.

I was so convinced I was tired of seeing the same faces everyday, and it's only now when I look through old yearbooks and the senior video we were all a part of that I realize I hadn't met these people since maybe sixth grade. I saw them everyday but I didn't know them and I didn't even try.

You don't really think of how privileged you are to be around people exactly your age, going through exactly the same thing as you until you realize how impossible those spaces are to find again after high school. I also didn't attend college in a traditional way so that wasn't an option for me, and it isn't an option for everyone.

But to think I had access to these friendships and I was busy looking ahead. Even the friendships I had at the time waned because I didn't join the same clubs and sports they did- I couldn't because of church and I tended to give up too quick. It wasn't their fault that we weren't very close, when I was the one who was-

Always Unavailable.

I was a late bloomer. I wasn't interested in the things that kids my age were interested in, and because of that people referred to me as being mature or having an "old soul." It is so funny and ironic. 

I was also so deeply depressed. I drowned myself in media and it lead to the codependence I have now. I lived my entire life online at the time and while I made meaningful connections, I still wished I wouldn't have ignored the life I had in front of me.

I didn't get invited to parties. I'm sure people didn't really remember to list my name, and if they did they probably just didn't assume I'd be the type of person to want to go. And again, that's fair because I wasn't. 

Until now though, I think people underestimate my willingness to try anything. But it's so funny to think people would have assumed otherwise about me.

I liked to dress nice, but I didn't know how to do my hair or even just my eyebrows. I looked like a child and everyone was growing up, and that's okay. No one ever made me feel unwelcome.

And so many of my classmates never really felt comfortable reaching out to me until after high school, and I make sure to be clear that they are welcome. I am a different person now. I am open and free and available always.

I think I talk to more of them now than I ever did back then.  

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