Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why I Think High School Still Matters

I'm almost 20 years out of High School. Which feels a little impossible.

With the advent of Facebook I actually keep in better touch with people I knew back then. In fact, I know some of them much better now.

I like some of them much more now.

I know it's fair and reasonable to say that High School was a very long time ago, and that what happened back then, well, it doesn't really matter anymore.

But I think maybe it does.

I think Middle School and Elementary School matter, too. It's not like we've forgotten it. Not really.

Now, I don't spend my days thinking about things that happened many years ago, mind you, or nurturing the slights of childhood. (That sounds so boring, and I have much better things to do, as I'm sure you do, too)

It's that I think we can get more out of where we've been. I think the kids we were, the kids we knew, and the experiences we had, can make us better people.

Bear with me.

I was bullied in school. It wasn't physical at all. Instead it was the psychological games of young girls.

And of course there was the added bonus of being told in pretty straightforward terms that the reason I wasn't liked, was that I was inherently unlikable.

That one kinda hurt.

Now, by the time High School came around I had made some great friends. Of course, by then I truly thought that I didn't deserve success or happiness. I had bought into the message of my bullies.

I didn't actually see that things could be different until I had my first child. And even then, I didn't care about making them different for me. I cared about making them different for him.

But I turned out okay. I still like people. So, why does it still matter what happened back then?

Well, because I'm still learning from it all.

See, I have chosen to let those experiences teach me who I want to be.

I want to be someone who isn't particularly judgmental. I want to be someone who encourages people. I want to be someone who makes people feel welcome, included, and good about themselves.

I want to be someone who can say that she's sorry, too. Because there were times that I was every bit as judgmental and unkind as I thought people were to me.

I want to remember what it was like when labels really defined people, and I want to continue to work to see beyond them.

Now, none of us should live in the past. Not by any means. I just don't think we have to pretend that the past never happened. Not when we can take it with us in positive ways.

And maybe those lessons we learn, we can teach our kids. So, instead of making the same mistakes we did, they can make all new mistakes that we've never seen before.

Because, you know, at least that would so much more exciting, right?

This particular post has been percolating in my head for a couple of days, and I'm still not entirely sure I got it out the right way. I just know that I'm still learning lessons, and still want to. I hope it makes sense.

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