After much internal debate and in spite of high anxiety, Saturday night I conquered a looming fear. I didn't scale a mountain or jump out of a plane, but for me the accomplishment was nearly as grand. I gathered up all my courage and proudly walked into my 20 year high school reunion.
school was not an easy time for me. I wasn't considered a nerd or a
geek; those labels would have been a promotion. I was invisible.
was the girl who looked familiar yet nobody really knew. I never had a
date, never attended a dance, and I was not invited to parties. My Mom
never worried about me being tempted by peer pressure. I had no friends
to sway me to experiment to break rules. Needless to say, I never got
During my freshman year I became ill. What we
thought was a flu turned into what was conjectured to be mono. I'll
spare all of the details, but I remained sick until my Junior year. By
the time I did return in a full-time capacity, friendships and the peer
hierarchy had been established. My self-esteem had been shattered
throughout my medical ordeal, leaving me a shell of the person that I
was when I first became sick.
In retrospect it's easy to see why
I didn't belong to a peer group. Between doctor visits and hospital
stays, my priorities had become different than those of the average
teenager. I had lost the ability to relate to my classmates, and I
didn't know how to find a common ground.
Instead of trying to
fit in, I retreated. I became uncomfortably shy and reserved. I was
miserable throughout my senior year. I eagerly anticipated my graduation
day not because it was an opportunity to celebrate my accomplishments,
but because I knew that once I left, I would be liberated and free to be
Typically I have ignored the invitations to my high
school reunions. Until this year, I had no interest in seeing anybody
from that time of my life. However, this time I felt the need to find
closure. Maybe I'm finally becoming secure enough in myself to confront
the demons of my past.
Saturday night, I was shaking as I
walked into the reunion. Scott sensed my anxiety and headed straight for
the bar, providing me with a steady supply of liquid courage. I can't
say that I was comfortable during the evening, but I'm also not sure
that comfort was an achievable goal. I enjoyed reconnecting and learning
about everybody. I was reminded during the evening that in spite of
losing my leg, I have a wonderful life!
I'm glad that I went to
the reunion. Not only did I get to see some people I have wondered
about, I was able to conquer my adolescent insecurities. I realized that
everybody blossoms at a different time in life. High school is simply a
snapshot of four awkward years, and I am so much more than that shy
teenage girl with the frizzy perm. I am not the same person I was back
in 1992. I have aged well.