Today I finally broke down and made plans to go to my 30 year high school reunion this August. Bought the plane tickets, booked the rental car, reserved the hotel, and then started drinking because 30 years… really?
Here’s the deal… some of you were around for my inglorious high school days, in which I was a picked upon, fat loser, often beaten up and bullied mercilessly by an array of people that I have cast as villains in my mind. There was the ogreish guy that punched me in the back every day for reasons that are still unclear to me until I stood up to him and he promptly kicked the crap out of me. There was the evil cheerleader who liked to trip me in the halls because she thought it was funny to see the fat kid fall down. There was the slack jawed stoner who would regularly tell me that I was a fag and should just go kill myself. For a long time I thought it would be the darkest days of my life.
Hindsight, being what it is, allows me to see that these people were probably just as damaged as I was –it’s just that they projected that damage outward whereas I projected mine in. If I was a better person I would use that hindsight to forgive and forget but a) that would mean redefining myself in ways I’m not willing to think about right now and b) I’m petty and I hold grudges.
So why in the hell would I want to go back for my 30 year high school reunion?
Well, because in the midst of all of that horror there were acts of kindness and friendship and loyalty and love and laughter that I remember to this day. There are people – some of whom are reading this blog occasionally – who were unknowing heroes and quite literally saved my life back then. To this day, I can’t believe that I was lucky enough to have them when I was a kid and am thoroughly gobsmacked that I still get to occasionally, infrequently, interact with them as adults. I am even more stunned that many of them came out of the Facebook wilderness to offer me words of comfort, prayers, positive vibrations, and random amusements during what were the real darkest days of my life in the couple of years between the time that my best friend died of cancer and I had to deal with cancer myself.
I think the way you honor that is to get over yourself and go to your 30 year high school reunion, ignore the villains, and embrace the heroes.
And heck, if nothing else, cancer at least me thin!
See you in August.