Monday, September 28, 2015

Reunion Ruminations

This weekend was my 20th high school reunion, and I missed it. 

Like so many milestone events that have come and gone in the decade that I've lived in Alaska--weddings, bridal showers, baby showers--the cost and distance of traveling from here to New York City has severely limited my ability to participate. 

These are mostly events which, if I still lived in the city where I grew up, I'd probably make the effort to attend. I managed to make it back east for my 15th college reunion last year, and I'd do it again if given the chance--if only to spend time with a few close friends who were enthusiastic about going. 

But that college reunion experience made me realize something about reunions and the period of my life from about age 14-22:  It wasn't necessarily the best time ever. In fact, it kinda sucked donkey balls. 

Sure there were some intermittently great things about those years: I made some lifelong friends and we laughed and partied a lot. I had a serious boyfriend and I was in love with him. I played a sport and I was pretty good at it. 

But basically I was unhappy. I was perpetually stressed out, depressed, anxious, eating-disordered, and constantly trying to make people like me and be my friend. I felt inferior all the time. I had low self esteem. Constantly trying to succeed socially and academically felt like a huge amount of work, and it took a major toll on my psyche. 

The lasting impact is my incongruous resistance to and preoccupation with memory.

Admittedly, part of the reason I moved to an unfamiliar place almost as far away as a person can go and still live in America was a reaction to some of that. Lots of people try to run away from themselves, and maybe I'm no different that way. I guess what it comes down to is that I just don't like to remember the way I used to feel about myself and the way certain people and places "made" me feel about myself. 

After all, I still have a huge amount of work to do on that as it is.

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