Sunday, August 15, 2010

Real life, this is where I am.

I attended my 20 year high school reunion this weekend. It is strange to see so many distantly familiar faces mixed with people I swear I've never seen before in my life.

I was introverted in school, shy and self-conscious, a writer even then, though of poetry rather than novels. I stayed within my little group of friends, some a class or two above me, some the class below. We were... I don't know, fringe kids, maybe. Not terribly delinquent, not party animals, but really not joiners, either. I think sometimes we admired the more outgoing kids, but I don't think we felt lost, and I don't think we longed for the spotlight.

I didn't bring much baggage from high school forward into the rest of my life. I liked the kids I liked, and didn't worry a whole lot about the rest of them. I never felt hated, or outcast, and as far as I remember, no one was particularly mean to me.

One of my favorite classmates committed suicide in October of my junior year. His name was Adam Brown, and his dying colored the rest of my high school experience dull gray. He was the first person I knew that died, the first funeral I attended. Those memories are insular, and crystal clear. And being the kind of high school girl that fed quietly on trauma and drama, I was determined that the rest of my time in school would be spent just getting through it sadly. And of course, once you determine that, you make it happen.

I think I write this to explain to myself how it is that I knew only a handful of people at the reunion. But that's not a bad thing. It was still enjoyable to talk to people that I never knew well, muse about who was missing, remember things I hadn't thought about in years. Part of me wishes I knew more people better, but in high school, as now, I was always half-lost in my own internal world.

I found out that someone I have been attached to for all of these years, and who I looked for off and on, has passed away. My thoughts and hopes for this person to be out somewhere in the world happy and thriving must pass on now, too.

And I relive the frequent regret that I have so often been too shy to keep in touch with people I have admired, liked, and even loved.

So now I say... be bold. Be out there. Remember that life is fragile and often short.

And from my 20 year reunion, I walk away strong in the knowledge that I like the person I have grown to be. I was a shy wallflower back then, but no one would describe me that way now. I write what I write, say what I think, and make an effort to live my life without regret.

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