Archive for the ‘High School’ Category

Identity

01 May

Every once in a while…probably once every year or two… I go through this “nostalgic” phase. It makes me want to get in touch with all the people I knew in high school and see where various people have ended up and who has changed a lot, and who is exactly the same. So I create and update my profiles on places like Facebook and MySpace and Friendster. And they probably all think one of two things:

  • “Who is that?”
  • “What kind of stalker starts adding people to their ‘friends’ list they haven’t talked to in 8 years?”

Generally, these periods are little more than the result of having too much time on my hands. That is certainly the case now, but the reason for that is material for another post.

Regardless, every time it happens, it floods my mind with memories that I’d long forgotten and confirms for me what a pivotal time high school is as far as childhood development.

I think I was a few years behind most in the “coming of age” saga. For instance, that “finding oneself” phase that most kids seem to go through in the Sophomore year of high school – that didn’t hit me until sometime during college.

My nostalgia also makes me very aware that leaving my family, my friends, my state, and all familiar surroundings to go to college 2500 miles away was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Looking back on the teenager I was, I realize that I found entirely too much of my identity in other people. I think I was aware of that at the time, but didn’t know what to do about it.

Moving away forced me to forge my own identity, pursue what was important to ME, and find a security within myself that didn’t wax and wane with the tides of the people around me. It helped not knowing anyone because I could be the “me” I felt comfortable and happy being, without feeling trapped in the “me” they already expected me to be.

Um…does that make sense?

See, most people around me in high school had already figured out how to do that (see: late bloomer thing previously mentioned). I always envied that, but didn’t know exactly what it was that I was envying. How they could be so admirably unique, when it was all I could do to try to fit in unnoticed – hoping nobody would see and judge the quirks that made me different.

I still display different shades, depending on who I’m around, but I think that’s more of a social preservation tactic than an insecurity problem. For instance, I’m a lot more conservative around my family or people from church. That’s just out of consideration, and I don’t think it’s being “fake.” Fake for me would be intentionally making comments that I knew would make others uncomfortable.

Anyway, this tangent has become significantly longer than anticipated, but the bottom line I suppose is that I’ve grown up a lot. And I’m glad. I just wish I had done it a little sooner.

 

Fear

21 Feb

I can only recall one time in my life in which I’ve experienced truly paralyzing, spine-tingling fear – the kind that breaches the emotional realm and becomes physical*.

In high school I dated a Mormon boy. He was a nice boy, very intelligent, and we got along very well because we had a similar sense of humor and I enjoyed his stories and intellectual discussion.

He was also very religiously devout. One day he brought me a copy of The Book of Mormon and asked that I read it. There’s a claim that those who read the book will know its truth because they will feel a burning in the chest. At least, I think that’s how it goes – it’s been several years.

Though rather underdeveloped in practice, I have always had a strong interest in learning about other religions, so I was interested to read the book. That night, I went to bed early so I could devote some time to it, and started at the beginning.

I got through a few chapters and suddenly became acutely aware of the perception that I was no longer alone in my room. I glanced up at the doorway. There was nobody there.

Then something brought my gaze to the papazan chair in the corner of my room. And there I saw them. There were two. Two, quite distinct and separate…

Beings. I don’t know how to describe them. I could see them. But couldn’t. It was like looking at two voids in space. Two … living … shadowy … voids. One sat in the chair, and the other seemed to perch on the side of it. They sat there and looked at me with eyes that I couldn’t see.

Fear. Bone-chilling terror like I have never experienced before or since shot straight through my body.

My arms and muscles became completely incapable of responding to any command from my brain. I was rendered physically unable to move, completely frozen, able to do nothing but stare at my supernatural visitors.

The beings didn’t move and didn’t show any physical signs of aggression. It was though they were simply there to observe me, to be present.

And yet they were ominous in a way I can only describe as evil. Not “evil” in the sense that our Commander in Chief defines terrorists, which is a weak descriptor of deed or thought.

Evil in substance, something that is menacing in its very existence, a physical incarnation of the unimaginable, like a black hole.

I sat there for what seemed like hours, though I know it was only minutes – bound captive in my frozen state.

Eventually, I let out a prayer. It was nothing more than a whisper for deliverance, a simple, shaky invocation of something my mother taught me.

And they left.

I sat there in solitude, staring at the utter emptiness of my room, questioning my own sanity. Would they return? Did I really see them? What did they want?

Eventually, I laid the book down, turned off the light and went to sleep.

I told the boy what had happened. He quickly consulted his elder and reported back to me the determination that because I was opening a book of Truth, demons had been sent to me to frighten me away from it and prevent its revelation to me.

I kept the book. That was the last time I read from it though.

*There is a train of thought that brought me to this, which I will deal with in a later (most likely private) post.

 

Death of a Sales…woman

21 Mar

I spent the weekend down in Houston with some old friends from highschool, two of which are getting married this summer, one of whom’s bridal shower prompted the trip. The third friend is one I haven’t seen since my own bridal shower, which was – eghad – FOUR YEARS ago. Time flies.

Three of us had girl time the traditional sleepover way, and it was lots of fun. Except, Leigh, I swear I didn’t mean to put you through the hours of boredom looking at EVERY SINGLE SCRAPBOOK I’VE EVER made. Of course it’s nice to have someone actually see the result of countless hours I’ve spent hunched over a table cropping, arranging and taping – but really, that wasn’t my intention when I brought them all down. I was only expecting to show one or two of them, and I would imagine that even THAT would border on unacceptable levels of forced boredom.

Looking back at that paragraph, I’m realizing that there’s no way any person with a brain bigger than a walnut would believe me. But it’s still true. God knows. He’s got my back. Yeah.

Anyway, I have come to realize that this is why I could never be a success as a salesman…er, saleswoman. I have guilt about advertising or forcing anything of mine on someone else, particularly someone I know. All those years of school fundraisers, bringing colorful overpriced junk catalogs to everyone in my neighborhood, church, and dad’s office were TORTURE. Absolute torture. And I still have guilt from it that requires me to purchase something from every 10-year old with a catalog that comes through. Still paying my dues.

And no, that was not a suggestion to send your kids my way with their popcorn and wrapping paper. I also eat children to get out of committing to fundraisers.

Anyway, thank goodness for patient friends that don’t make a big deal out of my occasional neurosis.

 
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Posted in Friends, High School, Middle School, Scrapbooking

 

Martha Stewart, I am not

27 Jan

“I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.”

-Joan Rivers

I might be having company tonight, so I cleaned the house. Hear that everybody? I CLEANED THE HOUSE. I vacuumed, emptied the dishwasher, filled the dishwasher, dusted the mantle and tables (even the little ones in the bedroom), cleared the countertops (no small feat in our house), cleaned the countertops, watched the dog track dirty paws all over the freshly vacuumed carpet, and mopped the kitchen floor…well, at least the part you walk on.

It’s really not the cleaning part of housework I hate so much. It’s not really the fact that it takes forever to accomplish such temporary results. It’s not even the fact that dirty bathrooms are icky and I can’t stand to clean them (I solve that by putting Jens in charge of bathroom cleaning).

It’s the fact that when I’m finished, YOU CAN’T TELL I EVER DID ANYTHING.

We live in an ugly house. There’s no getting around that. The walls are dark (except for the squares of swooshing pastel textured paper) and the carpet is dirty (and it’s that burber stuff so you can’t tell where you’ve vacuumed), and there simply isn’t enough light in the house to escape notions of living in a cave. So when I’m done cleaning and I wipe my hands and look around…I can’t tell the difference between when I started and when I’ve finished.

So why, you might ask, do I ever bother cleaning in the first place? The answer is quite simple, and it’s the same reason I never cheated on tests and have dreams about assignments that aren’t completed on time.

Guilt. I don’t have enough to make me keep a clean house, but do have just enough to occasionally embark on a cleaning fit. (And yes, I am holding an experiment to see how many times I can use the word “clean” in a single post. Clean clean clean. So there.) I think it goes back to my theory about finding the meaning of life in balance. Some, yes, but not too much.

I dated a guy once who thought I would make a good Mormon wife. HA. He would have been sorely disappointed. I don’t even make a good Baptist wife half the time. I live in constant bafflement at how I managed to secure such a wonderfully patient and laid-back husband. Who is willing to wait until I’m ready to have kids (we’re pretending that he has a choice here).

So I have a (mostly) clean house now. There are still piles of laundry spewing out of the bathtub, which we use as a back-up laundry hamper because the drain doesn’t work…and because it’s one of the few places the dog doesn’t sneak in to steal dirty socks…and yes, because we’re dreadfully lazy people who hate to do laundry. Especially me.

So if you live in Dallas and get an invitation to come over for dinner, it’s because the house is clean and we feel obligated to take advantage of it. Accept that invitation, because you won’t get another one for 6 months.

PS: Please don’t tell me I’m shallow because I’m annoyed that we own the ugliest house in the neighborhood. You would be very wrong. I’m annoyed that we rent the ugliest house in the neighborhood. Geesh.

 
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Posted in Confessions, High School, Household Chores, Houses, Jens, Marriage, Such is Life

 

It's Raining, It's Pouring

12 Jan

It’s totally raining outside the window at work. Hopefully it will let up before I have to walk out the door in thirty minutes. Oh crap, did I shut my sky roof? Yes, apparently I did. Well that was my panic attack for the day.

I found blogs for some people I knew in high school today and it sent me back. I suddenly found myself reminiscing about how messed up things were in high school. And I would wager that I had a pretty good high school experience, as they go. I can’t seem to remember anything particularly warm and fuzzy about it, but I mainly chalk that up to bad memory. There must have been something good about high school.

I think I experienced some sort of selective amnesia after hs graduation. I had to ask friends today to send me pictures of people I knew I should remember, but can’t. I don’t remember very many events, and the ones I do remember seem to always be those that involved my utter mortification…such as – well, we won’t go into that one. This isn’t a diary after all. But the list does include my best friend having seizures, a bomb threat at Prom (though that wasn’t so bad, I was ready to leave), a myriad of speech and theatre tournaments that I hated, one very messed-up relationship, and a never-ending battle with eyebrows that refused to cooperate.

I think most teenagers go through a “finding self” phase sometime around sophomore year of high school. I didn’t hit that phase until my freshman year of college, so I spent the majority of high school with a sense that everybody else knew something I didn’t. I guess that pretty much sums up my high school experience: a (quite possibly accurate) sense of cluelessness.

Perhaps that’s why I can’t bring myself to scrapbook high school. It seems that for me, life began in college.

It’s finished raining now. I love Texas rain. It’s one of the things I missed in the five years I was in the Northwest. It rains, it pours, and it’s done. Bam bam bam. Likewise, I’m done reminiscing about highschool. Soooo many better things to do with my day. Like play video games while I wait to go home.

 
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Posted in High School, Memories, Such is Life, Weather