July 10, 2003
I graduated from high school—yay for me! Whoop-di-do! After the ceremony I went to our “Safe and Sober Grad Night”… Surprisingly, I was sad that I would never see the majority of my classmates again, considering I don’t give a shit about any of them (except for my friends). Actually, I pray that I will never see any of them ever again. Well, except at our high school reunion so that I can laugh at all of the pathetic drugged-out losers! I guess I was just sad because I had been going to school with some of them since Kindergarten and by seeing them everyday, they became a familiar part of my life.
Today is the one-year anniversary of your ten-year high school reunion (I’ll let you do the math). This was a night that I had always considered one of those rights-of-passage milestones in my life. My high school reunion was basically penciled into my 2013 calendar since I watched Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion in seventh grade. Of course, I wouldn’t be like them, making up lies to impress people. I would be the inventor of Post-It Notes or special glue or something similar; something better. Naturally I would wear an amazing dress and heels, like Romy and Michele, but something appropriate for 2013; even back then, I knew that shiny material and feather trim wouldn’t be a lasting style.
I was never bullied or depressed in high school, but I had the typical teenage woes and problems with my classmates. And every time something would happen, I would tell myself, “I’ll show them at our ten-year high school reunion. They’ll be sorry.” Sophomore year, I was convinced that I would show them by arriving with Ewan McGregor, who was going to stop the music toward the end of the night, serenade me (this was during my Moulin Rouge! phase), and propose with a 20-carat diamond ring. By senior year, I was going to bring my husband, Jimmy Fallon (my SNL/Weekend Update phase), who was going to make everyone laugh the entire night. Considering Ewan McGregor as an actor seems to have been banished to Tatooine, and Jimmy Fallon is Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainer of the Year, I think the latter would have been a better investment these days.
A visual simulation of what could have been. You can tell it didn’t actually happen because I wouldn’t be caught dead in a top hat.
The fact that I’m not engaged or married to a bunch of hot celebrities didn’t stop me from going to my ten-year reunion. Did I show them? Were they sorry? Hells no. But I had a fabulous time. I’m pleased to report that I didn’t see any “pathetic drugged-out losers” and everyone seemed to be relatively successful and happy with life. We had doctors, lawyers, teachers, employees of Silicon Valley tech firms (even some in very impressive positions), and everything in between. I’m not one of those people who wallows in the pain of others, so to see everyone—from the meanest high school bitch, to the dorkiest nerd (besides me)—thriving after the recession made me feel all warm and tingly. Almost as if Ewan McGregor were singing Come What May to me instead of to stupid Nicole Kidman.
And the high school clicks were forgotten at the reunion; all of our petty reasons for hating each other were pushed aside because we were now adults. We were finally mature. I had known many of these people since I was in kindergarten (some even longer than that!), during a time when we would all play with each other. And then middle school screwed up our content ignorance and the hatred for everyone and everything bubbled up, finally exploding into a miserable passion. Seeing these people at the high school reunion sent us back in time to elementary school when we all got along and loved each other. Because who cares if Kathleen Carson copied you in seventh grade by purchasing the same bubble jacket from the Gap AND the same silver ball-chain chocker from the Delia’s catalog?Who cares if Amy Waring stole your favorite purple sparkly Jelly Roll pen in eighth grade? Who cares if you made your best friend sit on some seagull crap during lunch in sixth grade as an honest joke? (okay, that one was a little sucky; I’m sorry!)
The concept of high school reunions was always mystifying to me. This was a landmark event in my life that I had used as a specific day in my distant future when I’d have everything all figured out. I had to! What would my high school classmates think if I was some sort of loser? (hint: they wouldn’t give a shit) I had to shape up or… or… I don’t even know. Not going wasn’t an option. So as my high school reunion approached, I started to wonder what you, my past self, would have thought about my future self. Would you have been satisfied? Or would you have forbade me from attending the reunion in complete and utter mortification? Sure, I’m not married to Jimmy Fallon (a major F- on that one), but I am happily married to my college sweetheart. Sure, I don’t live in a mansion in Tiburon overlooking the Bay, but I own nice house in the East Bay Hills. And sure, I’m not a supermodel international spy daylighting as an employee for the Department of Homeland Security, but I have a steady and thriving career as an environmental consultant. I can tell that you’re a little disappointed with my domestic life, but ultimately I know that you’re happy since your husband is 6-foot-4.
Since, you, my 18-year-old self can’t time travel to the future and tell me your feelings (probably with lots of whining and bitching), I figured out different ways release my weird obsession with high school reunions and talking to my past self. This blog, for one, is a way to have a monologue with teenaged Kirsten, even though I know you aren’t listening (typical!). I’ve also written a young adult manuscript about a 17-year-old who falls asleep under the aurora borealis and finds herself thrust into her own future. And surprise! She happens to have landed on the day of her ten-year high school reunion. As she pieces together her life—which involves supermodels, secret government agencies, and a sexy finance who’s 6-foot-4 (sound familiar?)—she realizes that she’s scared of the person she’s become. So although I might not quite be living our dreams (let’s be honest: thank god!), I’ve found a creative outlet to live it in my head.
Almost as good as the real thing (says the mental patient at the local loony-bin).
Real photo from my high school reunion. I’m in the back and look like I’m photo-shopped in. But I promise, this is an unaltered photo.