merissanathangerson

Surviving A High School Reunion

In Drama on May 21, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Dear Yenta,

I am also 28 and go to my reunion this weekend from high school.  I feel fat and ugly and unaccomplished, even nervous and excited.  I feel a million things and like I could burst at the seams.  Do you have any ideas on keeping my cool come Saturday night?

Sincerely,

Ten Years and Still Eighteen

Do it up, or wear it down. Either way, they will see what they want to. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear TYSE,

Lucky for you, I just survived a long weekend of ten-year high school reunion madness.  It was all those things you feel before, and then during it was just, yes, high school.  It was high school at lunch, high school at dinner, high school at a bar only better outfits and less drama.

If I could have had a few notecards to hand out they would have addressed the following:  1) My body.  2) My mood.  3) My career.  4) Where I live and why.  These are four repeated points of contact.  One card might read: “Dear high school once-friend now quasi-stranger: Do I look tired?  Well, let me tell you…” Or “Do I look fatter to you?  Well, let me explain the origin of these flesh pockets.  This little handle is from a bakery in Provincetown, this one from the burritos in New Mexico, and this one from the cookies in Vermont.”  I would have written all about the nuances of body shifting and why, from car accidents to surgeries, over and out.

But no one says, “tell me the story of your body.”  What I took from this inner knowing of my own business, and the surface reality of saying hi to 100 people from my past: do not judge lest ye be judged.

Some people have their shit figured out, some people don’t.  Some people got fat, some people got hot, some people got sick, some people got svelte.  Some people drink too much, some people became yogis and so on and so forth.  In the end, who cares?  Remember that your body, your heart, your career and all other elements of your being were formed by a real life full of real experiences, same with everyone else.  Anyone judging you is denying their own complexity.

If I were to go to my reunion all over again I would have gone with a beer taped to my hand and no expectation of any depth.  This is a HIGH SCHOOL reunion.  Expect hugs and expect smiles and just ride the party wave, go home, and resume living as you did before.  Placing any clout on the scenario is useless. They aren’t really judging you.  And the ones that are suddenly fall off like barnacles because we aren’t in high school anymore.  We are old now, like 28-years-old, and we have dreams.  Dreams and high school drama don’t mix.  So drink up, hug hard, and remember this is one night of your long and amazing life, a night all about remembering a yesterday that has already passed.

For inspiration, watch this clip from Oprah, “The High School Quarterback Who Became a Lesbian,” about Kimberly Reed, who twenty years ago was Paul McKerrow, the star of the local football team, returning with a new body, a new name, and a new life.

“All these places have their moments, with lovers and friends, I still can recall, some are dead and some are living, in my life, I’ve loved them all.”

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using www.send-email.org to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
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