High school was an all right time for me. I’m glad it wasn’t the best time of my life like a lot of people say it should be — I mean, I still have the rest of my life to live!
So far, university has been the best part of my life. But that just happened, and I’m just starting “real” life. Like I say, I still have a lot left to live. (At least, I hope I do!)
I know that what people from high school remember of me is a combination of accurate, inaccurate, positive, negative, judgmental, and friendly ideas. Like anyone’s high school experience, mine was full of judgment, and I didn’t feel like anyone knew me. There were good times as well, but really, I’d never go back. (Honestly, would you?)
I started out as the uncool kid who was quiet and didn’t do too much to make myself look nice. Not that I was dirty, just a little unkempt. I always say I was ugly in grade seven, which is still elementary school in BC, but junior high here in Alberta — bushy eyebrows, thick glasses, braces, and I clearly had no idea what to do with my bushy hair. But a lot of it was also to do with my choice of clothes, partly because growing up my family was kind of poor, so my selection of clothes wasn’t particularly new. It wasn’t until my mom and a friend noticed how isolated I was becoming that I went on a shopping trip and got a new outfit to try and fit in more.
I wore it on a casual day (my school had uniforms) and was told I shouldn’t wear it because it was some girl’s store, her store, which it obviously wasn’t. She just felt like I was stealing her “cool girl” status, I guess.
At twelve, I responded with “oookaaay…” and walked away. I felt like I couldn’t win. I wanted to fit in, and instead was slapped in the face. I did stop wearing those clothes, though — it didn’t feel like me. I felt like I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. Friends tried to tell me I looked good in it, but I disagreed.
“But you wore a uniform! How are clothes a concern?” You’d be surprised. Girls rolled up their skirts to attract boys, wore makeup, and had fancy outerwear, and casual days were like a big fashion show competition.
But not for me. I went on wearing whatever I had, hanging out with my small group of close friends. I was sort of in between the “popular” group and my group, after a while. My small group of friends was somehow kind of part of all the groups through high school, especially once grade eleven and twelve came around and people started loosening up.
As I got older, I started to develop my own style and a better sense of who I am. My mom did eventually take me on a girly date to get our eyebrows done, wax our legs & arms, and get contacts, but I really don’t think people liking me had anything to do with what I looked like. I mean, I’m sure it helped that I wasn’t as ugly anymore, but it’s not like people were suddenly inviting me to parties, or actually admitting they were dating me. I still had this reputation of the uncool girl with the scary dad and no makeup. I was the girl who didn’t care, and I somehow became more well-liked despite this. But it wasn’t because I was pretty.
No, it was because I was known for being snarky and sometimes no-bullshit. (I wish I was more no-bullshit back then than I actually was, but gotta start somewhere, right?) I gave up on caring what other people thought and started being myself.
I was known for being friendly, funny, but also serious — probably too serious at times. I think people might have thought I had a “too cool” mentality going on, the idea that I was better than everyone else. I really hope that’s not true, but it might have been, possibly even earlier on in high school — I wanted to be included, but I wanted to not need that. My family was always trying to tell me that people who were all hung up on being popular and part of the group were lost in the whole idea, and as an outsider I had it better. Maybe that’s true, but it’s no good to feel better than everyone else. That wouldn’t make me any different. Still, I tried to believe it, and quite possibly, as a result, I did come off a little high on myself.
Looking back, people probably remember that I was really awkward, but generally all right. I’m not sure if I’m memorable aside from being on Student Council and in the school musicals. If it wasn’t for that, I don’t know if they’d remember me.
Funnily enough, I still wonder… if my grad class were to have a reunion this year — it’s been five years, after all — what would people think? That’s what high school reunions are, aren’t they? People remembering what everyone was like, thinking they knew them, and looking at them now making new judgments, maybe still trying to get into each others’ pants, even though we probably all feel like nobody really knew them.
If I were to die now, I’d want people to remember me as that no-bullshit, fun but also serious, friendly person. I always wanted to be more likable, but my inward thinking brain made that difficult. I wanted to be the hilarious, outgoing one, but I think that only happened for one year in university, when somehow I was the only even kind of extroverted person. (I think I’m in between. I definitely need my me-time after socializing, but I also draw energy from social situations. I’m a teacher, after all!)
In the grand scheme of things, I’m not important. I’m just another human existing in the world, eventually saying goodbye. I’m not a major philosopher, inventor, scientist, or anything — I’m one of many teachers, with lots of ideas and hope that I can do something, if not THE thing, but still — I’m no celebrity.
So I want to be remembered to those that matter. If you know me, I hope you remember me as the one who loved you, even if you think I didn’t. I want to be remembered as nice, but willing to give sass right back to those who deserve it. I hope I make you smile, because if I did, if I make a few people smile, help them realize they matter, maybe even inspire them… then I think my mission has been accomplished. (UGH why am I so cheesy?!)
Your turn! What do you want people to remember about you?