The timing of this post is kinda funny to me. My high school reunion (I’m not mentioning how many years, just cause) was this past weekend. I intended to go. No sure why, but I thought it would be entertaining. Then the time came up and I kept putting off RSVP’ing and paying. Then the day was here and I hesitated and balked, and in the end didn’t go. Today I went online and saw many photos of everyone that had attended and realized something, I could not figure out who ¾ of the people were. They are not in my current circle. They don’t talk to me. They don’t support me or I them in anyway. Why did I want to go and spend some of my coveted free moments with them? The answer…apparently I didn’t.
So onward with my life lessons and shaping moments, maybe you will understand why I am a bit ambivalent about the whole reunion thing. Maybe you wont.
When I was in the 6th grade, I was told we would be moving, yet again. Where this time? How far away? In this case, FAR. So I would have to say goodbye to my friends, the small amount that I had gathered, yet again. I was ticked. I don’t deny it. I was that 12-year-old hell on wheels, when I was informed of this change. I pouted. I was mean. I was quiet. I made the lives of my parents hell, just because I didn’t like their choice. I was a typical pre-teen.
We moved to Sunbury, Ohio. From inner-city to a po-dunk farm town, this was a culture shock for me. I went from being first/second flute in the band, to not having first or second anything. It was just a flute section. I went from struggling to keep up in math to being so far ahead that I was bored. I went from finally have a small group of friends, to having nothing, and no one but a sister who hated me, and a brother too young to understand. It was not a great time in my life. I think my graduation class was under 100 kids. Yes, that small.
Then you had the whole small town mentality. First, if you didn’t eat, sleep, and breathe football, you were not in the accepted group. I didn’t give a rats patootey about football. I was a girl. Second, if you weren’t conceived there in that little town, you would forever be known as the new girl. I think when I graduated from that high school, they called out, The New Girl, Courtney Rene (just kidding, a little sarcasm there, but they may as well have). So to say I didn’t fit in was the understatement of the century. I tried. Lord, did I try. It just never really worked out. It’s not that I didn’t have people who liked me. It was that I didn’t have any real, close, friends. I went several years like that.
Of course since I was completely miserable there, we stayed. My parents never moved again. Talk about, it figures. Finally when I wanted to move, we didn’t. Then middle school and high school hit. Let me paint a little picture for you. At 18 I weighed in at 95 pounds soaking wet. So, yeah, skinny. Not thin, skinny. I worked almost full time, went to school, and took part in the Flag Corp. I was introverted like you wouldn’t believe. My nickname from the girls in the flags was, Hermit. I spent my time in class reading books under my desk. If there happened to be a boy that I thought was cute, I made sure to never ever look at him for fear that he would talk to me. EEEK! I was teased within the halls, called stupid names, or groups would suddenly laugh hysterically when I walked by. It was not the best time in my life. I hated those years. I hated most everyone there, whether in my grade or above or below. Oh, I smiled when necessary and most everyone would be shocked at how very much I loathed them all. They were mean, they were clicky, and they were horrid to me. Yeah, I hated them. My sister was the ringleader at some of these haunting moments of my life. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.
Then, at about 16, I stopped caring. It was like I woke up one day and took a good look at me and realized, I was part of the problem. The big part. I am very good at internal research. I was honest with myself and realized it wasn’t my hair or my clothes or my house. It was me, and the waves of hate and depression I emanated like perfume. Once I stopped caring about what they thought or didn’t think of me, I was quite a bit happier with myself and my life. Not overnight. I don’t blame the kids I went to school with. They were just kids, like me, trying to get through a rough section of time.
How did this help me as a writer? How did this shape me? Those years were very good for me it turns out. The darkness I was fighting within myself, manifested into great and dark stories. One dark enough to garner the attention of my writing teacher and then a meeting with my parents. Oopsy. It’s funny now, but not so much, at the time. Trying to explain to adults that my stories were FICTION didn’t go over all that well. I even had to have a meeting with a pastor regarding my suicidal thoughts. Ha! Oh my.
I learned something that day though. I didn’t know it at the time, but I know it now as an adult and progressing writer. If you are going to get to the reader; if they are going to feel what you are feeling; you have to put yourself into the event you are writing. Really stick yourself into the feelings and emotions and write from that place. That gets peoples attention. That makes a good story. Would I have learned that without the suffering of adolescence? Doubtful.
So back to my reunion. Did I not go because I still have ill will towards them? Nope. I wish every one of them happiness and prosperity in life. I just didn’t care enough about any of them, to take time away from the ones I love most to see them. The photos were fun. Just silliness of strangers, but fun to see nonetheless. They didn’t miss me. They don’t know me, the same I didn’t miss them and don’t know them. That’s what growing up is all about. Finding out who you are, not what you think you are.
What will I write about next week? I don’t know. This pretty much ends my section on events that shaped me into a writer. I will have to think up another series though. I had fun traveling down memory lane.