It doesn’t really matter who I Was

It’s taken me three days of sitting on my thoughts post reunion to figure out how to follow up my last post.  My post on knowing who I AM but not quite sure who I WAS.

What a strange feeling it was walking into that party on Saturday, my best friend and biggest supporter on my arm, knowing full well who I am but feeling pulled back into so many feelings I once felt.  How quickly I remembered as I walked into that room who I WAS.  It was as if there was an invisible tug of war going on inside my body.  A tug toward that insecure girl as I saw so many faces that I once envied, but then whipped back into the reality of who I am today.  Then Me that I Like and have become more comfortable living with.

I have to say, the awkward internal pull ended quickly.  As I started saying hi to everyone and realized that it now, for the most part, 20 years later is an even playing field.  I forced myself to believe that there really can’t be the cool kids and uncool kids anymore.  We all grew up.  Most of us have families.  Change diapers. Clean up vomit. Struggle with staying at home or going to work.  Are embarrassed for screaming at our kids when maybe we shouldn’t have.  Are hesitant to admit that sometimes we don’t even LIKE our kids and we miss who we used to be.

And once that realization hit.  That we’re all in this Place, this Life together, I Was Fine.  I realized that no one gives a shit whether I do shots or smoke pot or stay up until 5:30 in the morning.  Yeah, maybe they rolled their eyes at me in high school for not joining in on That fun.  But now, last weekend, I didn’t care.  And that’s not easy to do at 17.  Not care.  Because our whole lives are about caring what others think.  Fearing looked down upon for being too fat, too thin, too slow, too prude, too smart, too dumb, too pretty, too sensitive.

But 20 years later.  Now that I’ve found My Place.  Where I know Where I fit and Who I am.  I really don’t care.  (As Much).  Yes, I still want people to like me.  Think I’m smart.  And fun. And sweet.  But I’ve taken great strides as I’ve found things to take pride in, to come to grips with “Like Me or Leave Me”.  Life’s just too short to care so much.

So what did I walk away from this 20 year reunion with? A mix of emotions.

I left knowing that the qualities that really MATTER when you’re in high school are the ones that can carry you through life.  External beauty, alcohol tolerance, and speed at which you get to third base (although may make you the life of the party) can’t quite score you points in your 40’s.  But kindness, genuineness, and respect will.  There was no one at the reunion I felt regret for having done them wrong.  No, I was not friends with everyone.  I probably didn’t make much of an effort in many cases but I never wronged a sole.

I hope I remember to tell Hannah and Luke, as they go through difficult times of not fitting in (because we all do right?) to Hold On.  Just wait.  Be strong.  Be that Nice person who may not be the most popular but people LIKE because in the end, they’ll end up on top.  Can we tell our kids that?  Is there any chance they’ll listen?  I know, probably not.

I’m also left with sadness.  The night was so bittersweet as I walked away from friends who I had been so close to but lost complete touch with.  It made me realize how important these friendships were.  And are.  And makes me wonder if it’s too late to rekindle them.  And it also makes me wonder, What Happened?  Why did we lose touch in the first place?  And I can’t help thinking I am at fault.  For not working harder to keep these friendships strong.

But mostly, I left the night with Relief.  That those I loved in high school, I still love (although my major crushes never even showed… which might be a good thing?), that those who I envied I now felt no reason to envy and that the night really, was Just Fun.  A ton of fun.

I’m still unclear about who I was 20 years ago.  But tonight I’m realizing, it really doesn’t matter.  Who I was made me who I am.  The times I fell, feeling walked on, neglected or used, I got back up.  It must have made me stronger. It must have taught me something to push me toward who I am today.

And to steal an amazing quote from a dear friend of mine, “Somehow I became the girl I wanted to be”. I just didn’t know who that girl was, until now.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “It doesn’t really matter who I Was

  1. Wow. This post was an amazing read. I don’t know what else to say, except I felt every emotion you write about. Love this post. “Who I wad made me who I am.” Well said.

  2. OH Becca, I love this. I love you. No, not just love, adore. I adore you. You are this amazingly refreshing person. I can say that because we’ve met and spent time together, yes. But your words here are always honest and endearing, and I think anyone who reads with a clear heart and an honest interest can see that.

    High school. Man, I don’t know if I could go back. I don’t know if I could do a reunion. I wasn’t so nice. I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t do a lot of things I should have done. It’s like I knew what I SHOULD have done but always railed against it. Ever the rebel, I messed up so many friendships that could have been. And that’s what it’s all about…the relationships. We are all connected. I know this in my heart, but my voice and my body language doesn’t always speak it so well.

    I can imagine you in high school. It makes me smile. I’ve been following your tweets and your posts and your FB updates, and I’m glad that you were able to take so much away from it.

    So Much Love To You.

    Sarah

  3. Beautiful. It must feel so good to know who you were matches who you are albeit with more confidence. Thanks for the update!

  4. Liz

    Oh, my! You quoted me! Hee hee…how FLATTERED am I???
    I get it, Becca. Boy do I get it. I cared a lot back then and suffered a lot back then, as I’ve told you. But I do agree 100% that it partially turned me into who I am. I have no doubt that one of the reasons I’m so loud and strong and sometimes in your face is because I couldn’t be back then because when I was, well…it didn’t go so well. And I hated, hated, hated the whole cool/uncool system. My cast of characters now would definitely range from the prom queen to the pothead to the school president to the geek. And I love it. Real life is way fun-ner….

  5. Nicki

    I am so glad you have come to the level playing field. It took me a long time to realize that this is true once we are older. We are no longer the cliques and groups we were back then. We are all humans and doing what we do.

    You made me smile first thing this morning. Thanks, Becca.

  6. Everyone should read this…they should read this as they enter and leave high school and then come back and reflect on it some more later and often. The things you say here are important lessons. And wonderful lessons. How lovely that you found this. I’m so so happy for you.
    xo

  7. Jen

    Oh man high school reunions. I give you alot of credit for going back. Your a brave gal.

  8. Nothing like vomit and motherhood to level the playing field…As I read this, I thought back to my 10 year reunion and this upcoming summer’s 20th reunion.

    And I am torn. Because I was never a “cool” one in the traditional way. But because I struggled, I am exactly who I am meant to be. So, the indecision. It’s amazing what happens when you shed your insecurities and fear and find, in their place, satisfaction of knowing you are where you are meant to be.

    So, I am inching towards going, and that is something that 17 year old that I once was would have NEVER done…SO happy you were able to go

  9. I have been to every one of my high school reunions and had a blast. One thing I enjoy the most is that none of the B/S which seemed so important back then matters anymore. I talk to people I barely knew in high school, and they are really interesting. It’s fascinating to learn what everyone has been up to. None of the labels or boundaries or stereotypes hold up any more. We can all just relate as people. It’s great!

  10. You fucking rock. You do. I love that you went, you obviously looked terrific, and you turned it into a really thought-provoking piece about who we were, and who we are now, and the wisdom that comes between those years…in the place it matters most. The heart.

    Plus, you are right. Nothing puts us on the same plane quite as much as poop and barf.

    I went to my 10 year, got my little bit of happy, and don’t plan on going to the 20th…just because the people from high school I wanted to connect with again, I have.

  11. Crap! Is it bad that I JUST realized my 20th reunion is not *coming*…it’s passed! I must have been catatonic, deep in potty training and cleaning up pee in the living room…

  12. Pop

    What a beautiful post, Becca. I hope I can convey that to my kids as well, but hey, teens will be teens.

    And who I was? I’d hardly recognize the guy today.

  13. So well said. I think sometimes we need the immerse ourselves in the scary, intimidating situations to see that we are so much stronger than we think we are.

  14. Sounds like a great deal of fun, and even more so – exactly the right kind of reunion – who you were, who you are, and how they work together.

    Very cool.

  15. I kind of felt like Facebook was my “reunion”. I lost touch with all but 2 people from high school and I was fine with that. I realized that I didn’t like high school and most of the people I went to school with were less than friendly. They started friending me on FB and being so nice. I was really hesitant at first because I guess I still held a grudge. It was nice to finally get over that. To know that I don’t keep that in me any more. Letting that go really helped me move on in my self critical issues and realize that people can change. I’m glad you went and had fun.

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