To the Class of 1991

            I’ve been thinking a lot about high school lately.  I think it’s because my graduating class has been very active on Facebook, and out of 159 of them, I probably have about 60 “friends,” as defined by Facebook.  Every day or two, I find someone new or someone new finds me. 

            High school was hard for me.  This is, of course, a completely absurd statement to make, because high school was hard for pretty much everyone.  That’s why Molly Ringwald films did so well in the 80s. 

            But, it was especially hard for me.  I did not ever fit in entirely with one group or another, probably because I was an awful lot to take on a consistent basis.  I had friends, but I was not ever fully part of a clique.  So, when a group of friends got together on a Saturday night, they did not often think to invite me.  While at the time it felt like I was deliberately excluded, I suspect it was more that I was not on any one group’s radar screen.

            That, however, is not really why high school was hard for me.  The bare truth of it is that no one loved me, with the possible but only so helpful exception of my sister.  It is a bald statement, and I don’t think I quite grasped it at the time.  I had a house and food and all that, but no one loved me.

            You cannot really blame the difficulties I had in high school on the fact that I am intense.  Plenty of people in my class were intense, and there is no shortage of professors, business people, and doctors in the class of 1991.  But I was needy.  Very, very needy.  And I think it scared people.

            Shit, it would scare me if I met someone like that nowadays.

            I am a naturally social person, so I cared a lot about my peer relationships – probably more than most kids do.  Plus, I was trying to make up for the lack of familial love by strongarming my peers into loving me.  I think many of them were drawn to me for the same reason people are drawn to me today: my great charm, astounding wit, and winning friendliness.  Not to mention my fantastic backside.  But they were also repelled, a little turned off for reasons they could not define.

            And, so, I was lucky.  Much as many of them might now reflect that they were not as good to me as they could have been or as accepting as they would be as adults, the fact is that they did pretty well.  They had their own adolescent bullshit to deal with, and yet they did the best they could to give me their friendship.  A few even tried to help me.  I demanded a lot without being able to give much of my real self in return, and things could have been a hell of a lot worse.

            So, this post is dedicated to the class of 1991.  The people who didn’t realize how damaged I was but forbore to impose more damage, which they very well could have.  There aren’t a lot of teenagers you can say that for.

            I might even post this link on Facebook so they actually know I’ve written it…

9 responses to “To the Class of 1991

  1. Well, you did have a very nice backside, but I was generally more interested in the front. Great smile, great hair, and a great chest. All of my favorite things. Then of course there was the fact that you have a brain. I kind of liked that as well.

    By the time you and I had become close you were pretty reluctant to get into my min-clique. I tried to invite you in a few times and frankly I don’t blame you for not being all that receptive to it (we had very different interests at that time, though I think you would have had fun at the comedy clubs we used to frequent, not to mention the concerts).

    It all boils down to the fact that I am and have always been glad to know you. The Facebook thing is certainly interesting, I’m still pretty conflicted about it and have locked the vast majority of my High School “friends” out of my profile, maybe I’ll follow your lead and let them into my own little world. Probably not though.

  2. I am the class of 1992. I have a few “friends” from this class on facebook. It is a little strange, though. Because I had a fairly small circle of close friends, and yet, all these people are willing to be my facebook friend 16 years later. I have good memories of H.S. (not so much the two years before that), but that was so yesterday. I am certainly glad I don’t have to go back.

  3. you know what, that is pretty amazing – having survived high-school by the skin of my teeth – teens are pretty likely to toss out the kid on the edge of the circle – post it up on facebook!

  4. I hope you post the link…

    (My own high school experience was just fine and –probably ’cause I was kind of oblivious to what others thought or felt — not especially difficult. It’s the last, oh, decade or so, that has been a nightmare.)

  5. Your high school experience reminds me of my own. I never quite fit in to a particular group, though I was liked well enough, I guess. Add to that being part of a church (not anymore) that banned dancing and movies, and my social life was pretty much screwed. But I doubt I would have been turning down many invitations, regardless.

    I’m relieved to know, though, that having a fantastic ass might not have helped me as much as I always thought it might. 🙂

  6. I really hope you link this. It is good for them to hear. And good for us.

  7. I’m with Chris, the Facebook thing is pretty weird and it’s hard to not feel a little resentment. Still, I’m shocked at how there’s a connection with people that there wasn’t really a connection with simply because we were in the same high school class. It was also hard not to relate to the dorky guys in all those Molly Ringwald (or similar) movies, though they always seemed to lose out to the hunks.

    I suppose I’m as guilty as anyone in high school for being your friend, but not always including you. I’m sorry for that and imagine that there were a lot of Saturday we were both bored where we might have been able to be bored together.

    Had that happened, perhaps I would remember that you had a fantastic backside.

  8. It is interesting to look back at our sixteen-year-old selves. I have often said that I am glad that h.s. wasn’t the highlight of my life– what a sad thing that would be! I had the advantage of having older sisters and seeing things a bit through their eyes, knowing there would be lots of cool experiences ahead of me, long beyond high school. I still took life a bit too seriously in high school—ok, WAY too seriously. How I am glad that I’ve grown and changed.

    Don’t know if we would have connected in high school, but just knowing you now through your writing–I would have you over for a glass of wine any night.

  9. What I remember of teenage years was that we were all messed up one way or another, and we all felt we were more messed up than the next person, and so somehow there was some grace in emerging from that period feeling relieved it was over and grateful that others put up with us to the extent they did. But given your family background it sounds to me like you actually did rather well. Intense and needy are nothing compared to what some teenagers do.