Looking Back

I already know I’m not going to get done everything I shoud complete today. I am so behind in sending out gifts, on answering email, of working on that art project for the SF Library, on cleaning the house, on getting myself organized, on writing letters, on reading, on finishing work my agents are waiting on, on phone calls, that I don’t know how I’m going to complete it all. I’m the kind of person who really likes checking something off a list.

(Update journal because some people don’t like the blog. Check.)

There isn’t really something worth an entire journal entry these days. I’m working on stuff and waiting on phone calls, which… I’ve got to be honest here, part of me gets really bored with myself. It seems I’m always waiting on something and working on something else, and I imagine it’s not even worth asking me what’s going on anymore. If I have news, I share it. But if I haven’t said anything it’s because I’m working on one thing and waiting to hear on about three others. That’s how it works.

This past weekend would have been my high school reunion. I didn’t go. Not only would it have been rather expensive to fly to Houston with boyfriend in tow, the tickets for the event itself were quite pricey. That and any friends I still have from high school I still talk to, and none of them were in my grade, so they aren’t going to the reunion, either. Once I left high school I pretty much started a new life. And once I left college I started another one. And yes, I have another one out here.

Those people, the ones who humiliated me or ignored me or looked down on me in high school, they really couldn’t care less if I wrote a book or live in Los Angeles or have a boyfriend or write on the Internet. So why fly all the way there to do some kind of invisible Told You So dance? And the others, if they really missed me, probably would have tried to find me in the past ten years. I am very easy to find. I went back to the school last year and walked around, saw teachers I respect, and got a little caught up. But the reunion wasn’t even at the high school, so I couldn’t have even enjoyed finding my old locker.

We were talking last night about groups and clubs we were in back in high school. I was the only one at the table who had joined a ton of clubs, who was on yearbook, chess club, latin club, whatever. The rest of them had figured out early in the game that it didn’t matter what was on your transcript. We all went to college and have degrees. And we all ended up at that table last night, no matter how many after school functions we were a part of, whether or not we got drunk on a school night, or snuck out of the house and went to a party, or tried a cigarette or got high or wrecked a car or had no friends or stayed up all night writing bad poetry and then calling boys to read it to them or going out on conferences and competitions in a van full of your friends, or studying constantly, or dating lots of people, or being a little slutty or being a little prude.

I really don’t miss high school, and my fear of going to the reunion was that all of those insecure feelings would flood back in, reminding me how lost I used to feel, how different I felt at that school, and how much I wanted to be older, to be in college, to meet new people and feel good about how strange I was. I wanted to feel smarter than I was, and I wanted to feel like I didn’t have to defend myself constantly about my clothing choices, or music choices, or religious choices, or boyfriend choices. Your world is so small in high school, and everyone wants to know why you’re doing things all the time. I know now it’s because nobody has any idea, so they’re asking you just to compare their own emotions, but it made you question yourself constantly.

I knew I didn’t belong there, but I didn’t know just how normal I’d feel once I left high school. So for those of you out there reading this, wondering if you’ll ever make it past your senior year: it does happen. And then time becomes the fastest blur you can imagine. And you’ll meet new people and you’ll try new things and you’ll change parts of you that you don’t like and you’ll strengthen the stuff you do like. And nobody will care who you kissed or who you slept with or why you made an ass of yourself at that pep rally. And nobody will remember that time you had a screaming match with your friends in the lunchroom. And when you think you’ve got the worst high school experience, you will meet someone who feels exactly the same way, and you’ll meet another person who had it much worse. Your world will become bigger, and other cities become important, and other states, and other countries — and suddenly you realize you can get on a plane and go somewhere else because you want to, and therefore you do. And everything you used to doubt about yourself becomes something someone loves about you.

I don’t know what I would have gotten out of my reunion, except that the people might have seen smaller or less imposing, or less judgmental. There wasn’t anyone I hated, so I couldn’t even have the satisfaction of seeing someone miserable who made me hate myself for years. I just never clicked with most of those people. They thought of me as this weird theatre girl who wore hippie shirts and hung out with upper or lower classmen. I usually had a boyfriend, from punk boy to geek boy to young boy or whatever. We’d ask each other questions in class and make small talk, but we didn’t ever hang out outside of school. It felt like work, how you treat your co-workers. You see them at the coffee room and you talk briefly about your weekends, skimming the general stuff, skipping the things that truly matter. And you have this secret second life that they don’t know about, that they would probably be surprised to find out about, that you don’t want to share with them because you don’t want that part of yourself at your job.

High school was my first corporate gig. Who wants to go to that company picnic?

Currently Reading

  • Model Behavior. I’m stalling, since I told myself I couldn’t read the new Palahniuk until I finished the script I’m working on. I’m getting antsy.

Finished

  • The nationwide summer reading assignment East of Eden. I ripped through that book in five days, and then found myself going back to re-read parts. It was that good. And then: Oprah. What a waste. I do not care what Kelsey Grammar thinks of East of Eden.

Californians

  • please don’t forget to vote tomorrow! No on the recall! No on Prop 54!

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