Reflections, or, WHOOOOO IS THIS GIRL I SEEEE?

Alright, that title’s definitely misleading, but it made me chuckle so much that I’m keeping it. I won’t be discussing Mulan or Disney today (I don’t think), so I’m sorry if that’s what you came for. What I want to talk about is my teenage self, my current self, and the strangeness of being an adult who’s been out of high school for ten years.

I graduated from high school in 2005, which means that the ten year reunion will be occurring later this year. I’ve been added to a Facebook group for it, and it’s been odd to say the least watching the conversations take place between all these people I’d mostly forgotten. This post isn’t going to be so much about the reunion, but that’s definitely what’s been stirring up the past in my head. However, if any of you guys have thoughts about reunions, let me know. I’m thinking I probably won’t go, because I doubt that schadenfreude alone is worth the money it would cost to actually attend.

gif romy and michele fuck them

When I was a wee, unhappy teen, I would sometimes dream of my reunion. In grand Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, I planned to wow everyone with how much I’d changed. I would look fabulous and be someone important, and all the myriad guys I had crushed on would instalove all over me. Of course, I would pick out the one that was hottest, and we would be happy forever. Teen Christina would have written really terrible books.

gif i invented post-its romy and michele

In high school, I was deeply unhappy most of the time. I was a social outcast, like many a YA heroine, but I didn’t have the whole character arc bit where I gained self-confidence and a hot transfer student boyfriend. I was mostly friendless, though high school was an improvement on middle school in that regard, so thank heavens for small mercies. What friendships I didn’t have were mostly not that healthy, contingent on my being in band (I lost almost all of those friends entirely when I quit band after sophomore year) or one-sided. They were a little bit toxic, but still better than being alone.

There are only a few YA novels which have really captured how I felt as a teen. This Song Will Save Your Life is the closest to how I really felt. Like Elise, I was so lonely and desperate for someone to really, truly like me. Like her, I realized that, though all I wanted was friendship, I had actually been actively pushing people away with my sarcasm, my resting bitch face, and my general attitude. My revelation only came in college, but it was really shocking to me to realize that for years I’d been making even those I very much admired feel stupid. I’ll always be a judgmental person and on the acerbic/grumpy side, but I’m really trying to make sure that the people I value feel valued. I’m a work in progress, though, so bear with me. What called to me in Elise too were her thoughts of suicide. Now I wasn’t really suicidal and I certainly never even sort of tried like Elise did, but I sometimes contemplated my funeral, imagining the way people would regret not having taken notice of me. High school was a dark time for me and for a lot of other people. Leila Sales put teen Christina’s feelings in a book, and it was so powerful. I’m so glad teens now have that book to turn to, because it really could save a life. If only I’d realized how I pushed people away years earlier, you know?

gif nasty bitch romy and michele

Another book that really spoke to me was Sloppy Firsts. My life is pretty much entirely unlike Jessica’s what with Marcus Flutie and her best friend she writes letters to and the fact that she’s somewhat popular. However, Jessica’s internal monologue was on point. She judges everyone for everything, and that is what I did (and sometimes still do). Like Jessica, I judged myself just as harshly (and that part’s definitely not changed one bit for me).

gif what the hell was i thinking romy and michele

Finally, there’s Cath from Fangirl. Like Cath, I often feel like I should isolate myself when I’m upset, rather than searching out comfort. I have a tendency to withdraw into fiction, hoping that someone will want to come lure me out. My social anxiety never got as bad as Cath’s, but it could have. I read Fangirl fully aware that I could have been that girl who never went to the dining hall. In fact, my campus had the main dining hall, a more fast food style place, and a more restaurant-like dining establishment. For the first year, I almost never went to the actual dining hall, and it took a couple years before I was comfortable going in alone.

gif i'd like to go away romy and michele
To college.

It wasn’t until college that I had to confront a lot of things about my personality. Because K-12 had been such a shit show, I wanted to go to a college far away where I wouldn’t know anyone. I had this whole big plan of becoming one of those people everyone is drawn to. Unfortunately, you can’t just make yourself that, and I never will be that. Still, I played the extrovert for a while, and I learned a lot about myself in the process.Β  As I mentioned before, that’s when I realized how I came off to people, that I’d been pushing them away even as I tried desperately to make them love me. How I realized this was that I overheard some girls on my freshman year hall talking about me (I was on my way to the bathroom across from their room, and they had left the door open). I cried a lot that day, and it took a while for my rage to cool and me to really think about what they’d said. Eventually, I realized that they were right, even if the way they handled it was still pretty shitty. In a lot of ways, I’m grateful it happened, even though it was one of the more painful moments of my life. It also proved a catalyst for change.

gif do you think you could stop being such a baby romy and michele

The other thing that I learned in college was what true friendship was like. With that new window onto my personality, I wasn’t sure if anyone could ever truly like me (especially after the years of friendlessness and two-faced friends who pretended to like me but actually didn’t). What I learned was that, if you find the right people, they will love you for who you are, not who they wish you were. Some people appreciate sarcasm and bad puns and obsession with books. Obviously, finding the book blogging community many years later was also an important stage in my life.

gif thirty and flirty and thriving 13 Going

It’s a fairly safe bet that most of you have seen 13 Going on 30. “Thirty and flirty and thriving” was basically how I thought my life would be when I was 25. All my dreams (even the reunion ones, which show how great my math skills were) centered on me at 25 (I should have gone with 27, because it’s been much better than 25 tbh). Dream me was slimmer, larger-boobed, tanner, and had perfect straight hair. Probably taller too, because why the hell not? She was never awkward in conversation. She was engaged and had a gorgeous wardrobe.

gif romy and michele diet

Let’s take stock. I’m not slimmer, though I did eventually learn how to really shop for my body type, which does help tremendously. Boobs are maybe a smidge larger, but I’m never going to be a C cup, but I’ve mostly come to terms with that. No longer do I want to be tan because risks of skin cancer and also it gives you wrinkles later. In high school, I straightened my hair pretty much any day it didn’t rain because I loathed my curls, but I’ve actually come to accept them and, on most days, like them. I am most decidedly not taller; I’ve not grown an inch since 6th grade. I remain a deeply awkward person, and I ever shall be so. I am, however, learning better how to fake being a social person. That’s something that’s only started coming in the last couple years. I’m learning that I can play the part, and I can make people like me. A smile has a lot of powers I’ve been wasting for years. My teen self would be thrilled to know I have a boyfriend and shocked to know that marriage isn’t something I’m in any rush for. I’m working on the gorgeous wardrobe. It’s funny that, even as a teen, my fantasies didn’t ever involve any vision of a profession, but I do have a job and I can be professional when I have to be, so I think she’d be pretty happy with that. Nothing’s as easy as I imagine, but, at 27, I’ve come a long way from myself at 17.

gif duh romy and michele

I’ve rarely talked about myself on my blog, because I don’t really like opening my weaknesses for others to see. Still, I always love the way Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) is so honest in her blog posts, and I’ve been really feeling the urge to talk about this stuff, so I did. Tell me about what high school was/is like for you guys. Tell me about your high school reunion, if you’ve gone. Tell me what your high school self hoped you would be like as an adult.

gif romy and michele dancing

30 responses to “Reflections, or, WHOOOOO IS THIS GIRL I SEEEE?”

  1. Meg says:

    1. *HUUUUUUGS* you were definitely hanging out with the wrong people if they didn’t appreciate your sarcasm and AWESOME punning. Fuck them, who needs them. You are fabulous and amazing and I love you muchly, from the snarky exterior to the in your head judgey-face to your secret marshmallow center. Never, ever change (unless you want to, obvs, but don’t let anyone make you feel like you should because they’re wrong).

    2. Ahhhhhhh high school. I’m trying to think of YA that matches up with my high school experience and coming up short because people don’t seem to write much harmlessly suburban juvenile delinquent YA or if they have I haven’t read it. HOLE IN THE MARKET. I should just clean up and publish my journals, that would be….interesting.

    3. Fuck a high school reunion, most of my friends weren’t in my class anyway and the ones that were I still see from time to time. There are a handful of people it’d be cool to see what they’re up to buuuuuuuut I don’t care enough to put on pants and leave the house.

    • Christina Franke says:

      1. I very much was. I’m not sure if there were people I could have been real besties with if I’d embraced my personality and gotten better at dealing with others or not. SHH DON’T TELL PEOPLE ABOUT MY SECRET CENTER. GEEZ. I AM A HARDENED BADASS. There’s some changing I still need to do, but I’m mostly good with who I am now.

      2. Yes, please do publish those. High school Meg fascinates me. I think there are books about that, but I’m pretty sure they almost all have dude protagonists which is why I’ve mostly not read them.

      3. Well, based on what they’re saying now, it’s going to be like 70 bucks a person, which no thank you. I bet you’d be really popular at your reunion if you didn’t put on pants though. OOER.

  2. Hannah says:

    The Cath and the dining hall thing? THAT WAS ME. I lived off crackers and peanut butter in my room for my first year at Uni because the dining hall was too intimidating and I didn’t know who to sit with. Yeah, looking back on it now it seems pretty stupid.

    I hated high school, but I knew it was a temporary phase of my life, so I just put my head down and got through it. Definitely not going to my reunion though, when it happens in three years time! ARGH.

    Really enjoyed this post, btw – it’s nice getting to know the people behind the blog!
    Hannah recently posted…Review: Last Night in Montreal – Emily St John MandelMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Awwwww, I was definitely afraid of the dining hall for a while. I didn’t however have much food in my room, and I also wasn’t afraid of the more casual dining environment, because I could get my food to go. Actually, I also knew a lot of people because I forced myself to be really social at the start (before crashing for like a week with HP fan fic because my batteries were burned out).

      High school was awful, and I didn’t have the foresight you did to know that it would get better. I think it’s sort of my personality, because I really have to struggle to not let every little crisis just destroy me. Trying to work on that.

  3. Heather says:

    My 10 year was last year, and I didn’t go. I keep in touch with most of my friends from back then, but I really don’t care about the others, as my high school was the most stereotypical, cliquey place imaginable. Maybe I’ll feel differently in four or nine years (which are the other “landmark” reunion times for me; yikes!), but for now, I probably won’t go to those either.

    For me, high school was kind of strange. Most of my closest friends were from skating and they went to different schools, so I befriended a lot of people in the drama club and marching band at school (definitely not the traditional “popular” circles, but the interesting thing was that most of my skating friends were also cheerleaders (and this was also the case before I moved in 8th grade; those friends just accepted that I was the book nerd of the group :)), so had I gone to their school, I probably would’ve hung out with a completely different crowd. It’s so bizarre to think about, especially since some of my friends who were in drama/band have turned into lifelong buddies, and I may not have met them otherwise, but I’ve always gotten along with everyone, so who knows.)

    High school me wanted to get as far away from my hometown as possible (which I did, as you know), and would’ve never believed that I willingly came back to Michigan (and absolutely love living here.) I was never quite sure what I wanted to be, but I thought I’d be doing something with writing or publishing, and I wouldn’t have been super surprised that I became a librarian. I was also convinced that I’d marry my high school boyfriend, and I thank my lucky stars that that relationship didn’t work out because it was toxic. My personality was pretty much the same, though I was much quieter and didn’t speak my mind ever, and I did try to dumb myself down a lot, which I really regret. I also tended to be super sad because “OMG my life is so terrible; why me?” and sometimes I want to go back and give my past self a good shake/slap in the face. I may have thought my life would be a little bit like 13 Going on 30, too.

    Ah, Romy and Michelle πŸ™‚

    • Christina Franke says:

      For me, it would be interesting to see because I have changed so much, and I really didn’t keep in touch with anyone. At the same time, though, they all have their friends from back then and most of them are already married, so it’s not like we’re in the same place. I doubt I’ll be going, but it was such an important thing to my past self that I’ve not entirely shut the door on the idea.

      It’s too bad I was never a joiner. I didn’t even really like being in band most of the time. Having an activity is really the best way to make friends, but I didn’t like clubs or play sports.

      Ha, high school me would also be astounded that I live in the same town as I did for most of my childhood. Going away for my college years was necessary, I think, despite the additional expense, but I do like the area just fine, though I know Atlanta was not your favorite. Michigan would be too cold for me, just like Atlanta was too hot for you. Haha.

      Thank gooooooodness that you dodged that sperm bullet. You’ve got a much better guy now, I’m sure, even though I’ve not met him. He makes you happy, which is the main thing. Plus, your health has been getting so much better over the last year, and I’m sure being happy with him doesn’t hurt. I still struggle with the “my life is so terrible; why me” thing, but I’m trying to work on it.

      Romy and Michele = best ever.

  4. Sorry for the word vomit below . And thank you for sharing your story, I think it’s important and cathartic to get personal feelings out in writing sometimes. <3

    My 10 year was last year and even though I had cursory interest in going, it was Thanksgiving weekend so no. And I already talk to the people I want to/can facebook stalk the rest. It was fun seeing people post old pictures in the fb group mainly because the fashion was omg hilarious. But I would have felt awkward. And uncool.

    I don't know, high school was unremarkable for me. I was shy and nerdy, but I could talk to "cool kids" in class. I had some honors classes. I got straight As. I played tennis and track but was middle of the road at both even though I had fun. I had some guy friends in class but rarely outside of it. And I could NEVER talk to the guys I had crushes on. I got made fun of pretty badly in track practice once for how I looked (I overheard girls talking about me) and it scarred me for awhile… that was bad. I worried about appearing uncool wearing my Harry Potter sweatshirt. But otherwise I had a small but nice group of friends… I don't know, high school was ok for me. But I was definitely on the outside looking in. I never knew about parties or any of that.

    I was the girl that hung out in her favorite teachers classroom at lunch (I've stayed in touch with him and he performed my wedding ceremony actually. One win for high school!). I was the girl that went to prom solo with my friends and watched this guy I like dance with his date. I also asked my friend who I had a MAJOR crush on to go with me (over AIM hah) and he turned me down. He said it was because of the dance, not me, but that was crushing after getting up the courage to even ask.

    I never dated even though I so wanted to. I didn't date until after college actually. And believe me, it wasn't on purpose. I was always crushing from afar wishing I lived inside a romantic comedy. And I never imagined a profession either. I still don't to be honest. I have a job and it's fine, but it's not what drives me or makes my life. My one shining moment was getting into a screaming match with my AP Econ teacher about gay rights. He was claiming some bullshit about overpopulation and I was telling him how nonsensical that was and we got in a shouting match. I remember everyone watching me with their mouths open and in English next period they all told me how amazing it was. That felt pretty good. He was also the same teacher who picked on me everyday for liking the Lakers because that's when Kobe's sexual assault trial was going on. So yeah, Econ senior year wasn't that fun.

    I've also struggled with resting bitch face (hah) and I've been told by multiple people that they thought I didn't like them at first. I'm judgemental and a know-it-all and sometimes that doesn't come off in the nicest way. But like you, I'm working on it.

    I always worried that there was something wrong with me because I've never been the girl that's had a best friend since she was 5, or even best friends my whole life. I think it's because I moved a lot, but still. My high school friends stuck around and I went an hour south to college. I had FOMO pretty bad and worried they liked each other more than me. And I got some new friend groups in college, and after, and just wondered if I was the problem. Floating from group to group. Having quiet but devastating fallouts with friends. And I've come to learn that the people who are good friends, true friends, stick around no matter what. They're the kind of friends you can go a long time without seeing or talking to and it's the same as if you saw them yesterday. I have a really small group of friends now and I'm okay with that because they're amazing and I have Chris and he's amazing. And they accept me for me. I'm glad you have friends and a bf that accepts you too for the awesome, sarcastic person that you are <3 <3 <3

  5. I feel like I took over your post, I’m sorry πŸ™ The words kept spilling out hah.

    • Also, the people talking about you thing….. I’m so so sorry that happened to you but I’m glad it made you stronger. Sometimes painful moments bring great clarity. It’s the reason I don’t talk to my best guy friends from college- they talked about me behind my back a lot, really hurtful things, and I still miss them sometimes even though I recognize they weren’t being good friends.

      I’ve thought about the funeral thing too. It’s weird. And then I get into this sad, weird, emotional headspace that I created myself and wonder why I did that hah.

      Let us know if you go to your reunion! And I swear this is my last comment! I feel horribly self-indulgent and selfish for talking about myself so much (in relation to you) and I’ll probably second guess it all day hahaha…ha…ha. *worried face*

    • Christina Franke says:

      Cursory interest sounds about right for my level of interest. I’d like to be a fly on the wall, but there’s no way my teen self’s visions would ever play out. I would feel hella awkward because that’s how I felt through most of K-12. It’s like how perfectly mature people can revert back to being a bratty five-year-old when they’re with their parents. Certain people bring out past versions of yourself.

      Sounds like teen Morgan was way cooler than teen Christina. I probably would have envied you with your athletics and stuff. That’s horrible that you heard people making fun of your appearance. Those insecurities can really linger. When I was in second grade, the fifth-grade cheerleaders on my bus would make fun of my wild curly hair. I hated my hair for years after.

      Wow, I’m impressed you got up the courage. That was one of those things I’d always think about but never actually do. Pretty sure the teachers liked me more than the students did. :-p

      Oh man, I wanted to date so badly. I had so many crushes it was ridiculous. “I have a job and it’s fine, but it’s not what drives me or makes my life.” <- This. Me exactly. If I were independently wealthy, I would just read and watch TV. No work ever. That teacher sounds like an asshat. Resting bitch face afflicts many wonderful people. And it does have its perks. People will rarely sit next to me on a bus or subway unless there's no space left to sit. :-p Oh man, never having a best friend. I had some friendless years, which was horrible. But also the friends I have had have always had other people they liked more, even if we spent more time together than they did. It's always been clear that I wasn't their best friend, even if they were mine, which honestly hurt, even though it's not their fault. Those quiet but devastating fallouts. I've been there, and it takes years to get over them, and you will always wonder what you did and if you could have done it differently. I am so so so grateful for the friends I have who stick around and accept me. It amazes me every single day that I've found people like that. No, thank you for sharing! I was glad to read all of it. I feel like I know you way better, and that's awesome. I probably won't go to the reunion, but if I do I'll say something here or on twitter.

      • I’m glad I’m not alone in wanting to stay home and read/watch tv all day hahah. I wouldn’t even spend my money on ridiculous things, but it would be nice to not worry about money, you know? Go to Panera every day and flying to England once in awhile, pay off my credit cards, etc. Hahah. And stay home with my beagle and books. I’m glad you feel like you know me better because I feel that way about you. It’s nice to get personal sometimes. Thanks for responding to my comment πŸ™‚ I definitely didn’t feel cool in high school but I guess I was pretty lucky to have a mostly positive/ run of the mill experience. I’m still good friends with the guy I had a crush on and now we can laugh about it but oh my god was it embarassing for those couple years. He so knew that I liked him LOL. Here’s to adult best friends and hopefully a future to stay home and read hehe.

      • Christina Franke says:

        Nope. If only we had all this money for no reason and could just do that. Hang out with our furbabies and have food delivered and read/watch TV forever.

        Of course if you and your friend had been in a novel, he would not have known but also have been in love with you. Such drama. lol. In real life, it’s just awkward until the crusher gets over it. :-p

  6. Amanda says:

    I feel like your 10 year is WAY too soon to reunite in some cases. Now there is so much social media you can connect with nearly anyone. I did go to mine and it was fairly anticlimactic.

    You said you think your teen self would be pretty happy with your adult self now – who can ask for much more? Great post-and brave!
    Amanda recently posted…Review: Made You UpMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Thank heavens for social media when I feel like casually photo stalking.

      Good point. As long as I’ve gotten better through the years and found good friends, it’s way better (in a realistic way) than my teen self could have imagined.

  7. Casey says:

    Yeah, mine’s coming up next month too. And they did the facebook group and I’m just laughing because there is no way you could pay me enough to go, even if I was back in my hometown that weekend. One of my friends, who was picked on far worse than me, is going to do the ‘rub your face in it’ and she’s constantly like: people on this group have me BLOCKED so someone who doesn’t has to tell me things’ and I’m laughing every single time because everyone else is all: KOOMBAYAH weren’t we all BESTIES? Ha ha ha.

    Anyway, I feel you on this post big time. Thankfully, my mom was like: It will not last, just make it to college and I did without too many mishaps but with very few actual friends through high school. And college WAS better. Like you, I forced myself to be a total extrovert for the first few weeks and it got me through. Then, sophomore year, I lucked out completely and got roomed with a group who took everyone for who they were, regardless of who you were πŸ˜›

    So yeah, feel you, glad we met and are still friends!

    • Christina Franke says:

      Oh man, that plan sounds ill-conceived. They blocked her from the Facebook group? That’s just so fucking high school. I was wondering about why the reunion group for my high school was private. You had to be invited in. Hello, cliques!

      I’m sure my parents would have told me the same, but I’m not sure that I ever really told them how unhappy I was. I’ve never been particularly open about most of my feelings, except anger (no wonder I didn’t have many friends), and I was horrible with it in high school. Thankfully, I’ve gotten a lot better at opening up to people.

      So glad that I have so many wonderful friends, including the traveling librarians. I’ve been terrible at keeping up with the FB chat. Catching up in person will be the best thing. Heather can tell us all about her FIANCEE.

  8. Angie F. says:

    My 10 year reunion is next year and I am not looking forward to it. At all. There are a few people I’d want to see, but for the most part, I have no desire to be shoved into a room with most of the people in my class. I already know that some of them are going to have to bring up this one guy, and even if they’re meaning it in a joking “remember way back when…” manner, I’m going to want to slap them. I was supposedly very loose with my favors (on the bus!!!??!?!?!!) according to the rumor mill. WTF, people, WTF?!?! Kindly jump off a cliff. And some of them had bullied me in 8th grade, a horrendous 4.5 month ordeal where I faked sick at least once a week and stayed home to cry. Yeah, definitely don’t want to see any of those people.

    I wasn’t friendless, so I really can’t imagine how that made you feel, but I have been told that I come across as stuck up or like I think I’m too good for people. And I’m too weird, which…whatever. I am who I am. Which is probably why I only have two friends. But I’m just shy and I don’t trust people after 8th grade and high school. I keep to myself, or throw myself into endless books, which is probably not the best way to deal with things. But….whatever. I have not yet mastered the fake it ’til you make it thing. Hopefully my 27th year will be better than 25, because it’s been dull.
    Angie F. recently posted…Wishlist Wednesday #95: Sound by Alexandra DuncanMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Angie, I’m sorry to hear your high school years were even worse than mine. I was bullied a bit in elementary school, but was mostly just ignored thereafter. No one should have to go through what you did. Kids are so cruel.

      I’ve gotten that same stuck up accusation as well. Sometimes even when I was actively trying to look engaged and thoughtful and polite. *shrugs* My face, it is a resting bitch. I’ve had enough two-faced friends that I have a lot of trouble trusting people too. Right now, I mostly just have the two really close friends near me. I’ve had others, but I certainly don’t have a large social network either.

  9. Layla says:

    Aw, this is lovely. (And you’ve made me want to read that Leila Sales book – I still haven’t done – among the many other things I’v never read but should’ve.)

    My feeling on reunions … I graduated in 2003, and didn’t go to my 10-year reunion. I went to a fairly conservative all-girls Catholic high school and miiiight have gone if any of my friends had wanted to, but generally felt like I was already in touch with all the folks I wanted to be in touch with. Maybe it was different before Facebook? But there’s no mystery there – I don’t need to wonder how so-and-so turned out, I can look them up online. (Additionally, I realized that my reasons for wanting to go – to be out and bring a girlfriend and be visibly queer in the way that I wasn’t in high school – were things that I could resolve without spending a couple hundred bucks.)

    And oh man, this really spoke to me: “Like her, I realized that, though all I wanted was friendship, I had actually been actively pushing people away with my sarcasm, my resting bitch face, and my general attitude.” Sarcasm was also my primary mode of interaction in high school – even with people I really cared about – because I wasn’t comfortable showing any sort of vulnerability (and also because I am judgey as hell). (It also seemed like the sort of behavior that got rewarded in movies – like, hello, obviously everyone will be able to tell that beneath this prickly exterior is an awesome person you want to get to know and love, right? It worked in “Ten Things I Hate About You”!) Anyway. It’s a hard behavior to unlearn.

    Would your 17 year-old self also be thrilled about your awesome cat? πŸ˜‰
    Layla recently posted…More Happy Than Not: ReviewMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      YOU SHOULD TOTALLY READ THAT LEILA SALES BOOK. Ahem. I mean. Like. If you want and stuff. No pressure.

      The couple hundred bucks part of the reunion is the real reason I probably won’t go. I mean, I have lots of good reasons not to attend, but the fact that I could spend that money to go to a really cool concert or buy clothes or something instead is the primary factor. Like, I’m PAYING to see people who made me feel like shit? Time was I might have gone with my only close high school friend if she went, but we’ve sort of gone our separate ways. Being out and proud sounds like it would be so tempting, but also I imagine it would get old fast in reality with everyone asking horribly inappropriate questions, though perhaps I’m underestimating humanity idk. But YAY for you being in a better place now than you were in high school. So glad those years are in the past.

      “I wasn’t comfortable showing any sort of vulnerability” <- THIS. I don't know why but I've always really hated showing my weaknesses to people, and I wouldn't really tell people that I was upset. Then it would come out as anger eventually because DUH. There's this great line from Wonderfalls: "What happens when we repress things?" "They go away?" "No. They come back all ANGRY AND PISSED OFF." Such truth. I also totally expected someone to swan in and fall in love with me and tell me I was perfect and everyone else sucked. The "you're not like other girls" line probably would have worked on me back then. My 17-year-old self would be horrified to know that my cat from back then wasn't still around, but, yes, she would love Percy.

  10. Maraia says:

    Thank you for writing this post. It’s really inspiring!

    People can be so cruel. I’m sorry your high school experience was so awful, but I’m glad things are better now. There’s always room for improvement, but it sounds like you’re on the right track. I’m going to take what you said to heart and try to implement some changes in my own life. πŸ™‚

    My high school experience was actually quite different from yours. I had some pretty bad bullying in both middle school and elementary school from people who were “friends.” I’m still not completely over one of my supposed best friends telling me that I didn’t have a personality (I’m sorry, what??). And at that age, it’s always “you have to pick them or me.” In comparison, high school was a lot easier. I had a good group of friends, I loved my teachers, and I was in classes with all the popular kids, so they were never mean to me. My friends and I were huge LOTR geeks, smart, nonathletic, and pretty much under the radar. I thought I had great friends in college, but in the years since, I’ve realized how little those friendships (apparently) meant. I have a long-running problem of never being the most important person in anyone’s life (if I were in a fire, I think my mom’s the only one I could could on to save me). I have people that *I* consider best friends, but each one of them has someone else they consider a best friend instead. I’ve always craved but never had the security of knowing I matter to people as much as they matter to me. I’m always the one initiating and maintaining friendships, which of course gives me lots of self-doubt. I no longer live in the same city as any of my friends, which makes it even harder. But discovering the book blogging world has been amazing. The change it’s made in my life over the past 6 or so months is definitely positive. I’m rusty at making friends, and I still have the same “does anyone *really* like me?” self-doubt, but I’m working on it. I hope I’m getting there.

    It’s so easy to look at people’s blogs/Twitter accounts/Facebook pages and think “wow, she has it all figured out, why can’t I be like that?” I appreciate the reminder that we all put up a front for other people, but really, we all have our own struggles and insecurities. So again, thank you for writing this. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

    • Christina Franke says:

      Oh no, you got hit by those two-faced “friends” too. That happened to me in elementary and middle school as well, and that, more than anything else, is what messed me up lastingly. It’s one thing if people don’t like you. It’s another to find out that the people you thought liked you actually disliked you all along. WHY PRETEND? It makes it so hard to trust people.

      I totally relate to not being the most important person in someone’s life. I always wanted someone (who wasn’t a parent) to care about me the most. I wanted to be someone’s best. Though I will say that I’m probably my boyfriend’s most important person, and it does feel like a lot of pressure. Haha. But yeah, through all of my life, every best friend has had someone else they thought of as their actual best friend. It does kind of suck ngl, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t care. My college friendships mattered I hope, but I have lost touch with most of those people, which I’ll blame largely on myself since I am very bad at keeping in contact long distance.

      My blogger friends have been such a big part of my life for the last four years, and I don’t know what I would do without that. It really makes my life feel so much fuller. Even though I can’t see them everyday, it feels like we’re together all the time on Twitter and Gchat. I will always suffer a bit of the “do they really like me?”, but it has gotten better. There are people who will stick with you. Sadly, though, others won’t. I had a friendship go south last year, and that’s brought all of this to the forefront of my mind again. Still, it didn’t take as much of a toll as it might have in the past.

      Haha, believe that I do not have it all figured out. :-p I have so many insecurities about absolutely everything. What I put out on Twitter or on the blog is fairly well calculated. I don’t want to whine or put all of that out there. It’s easier to hide on the internet. Woo, internet!

      • Maraia says:

        I don’t understand what it is about girls that age that makes them so awful to each other. (I’m an only child, so I have no idea if boys are the same way.) But you’re absolutely right that it creates lasting damage. I know it’s affected all of my friendships since. No matter how old and mature I get, I’m not sure if I’ll ever completely get rid of that doubting voice in the back of my head. It’s also weird, because you’d think that we’d be past all that drama in our late twenties, but as your broken friendship goes to show, some things never change.

        I’m really happy that you found your boyfriend! I can see why it might feel like pressure, but I also think you deserve to be number one in someone’s life. Can I ask how you met your boyfriend? I’m one of those perpetually single people, so I’m always curious to know how people start relationships, especially now that we’re not in a college environment.

        I wonder why it’s so easy to keep in contact with friends met online but not ones we meet in real life. (I’m the same way about keeping in contact long distance.) I think maybe friendships IRL are so often based on location and convenience, making them harder to maintain when those things disappear. Online friendships are presumably based on shared interests and compatibility, and location is never a factor.

        Yes, so much easier to hide on the Internet. πŸ™‚ (At the same time, we could look at is as just being our best selves.) Thank you for taking the time to comment back!

  11. I never went to any reunions, because most people back then sucked and made my time at school awful.

    I was bullied and used because of my need for friendship. People who acted like friends, but they actually made me feel the loneliest I’ve ever been. At the same time, it was definitely a time where I learned a lot about myself and the person I wanted to be. I recognized so many things in This song will save your life, that book really hit me.

    High School was much better, but I don’t feel the need to see any of those people. I had people I talked and laughed with, but I don’t think I have ever had THAT click with someone. Not the best-friends-forever like you see often in books.

    Younger Mel probably wouldn’t believe me if I would tell her about her life later. I have grown so much and I’ve become someone I am proud of. It has taken me quite some time and it was a long, bumpy road, but I’m finally at a point where I am happy with who I a am (most days)

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Sometimes it’s good to open up and be personal. It’s also comforting to see you are not alone. I always admire your presence in the community and I never thought you had such a story to tell πŸ™‚
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Cinderella book tag.My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      “I was bullied and used because of my need for friendship. People who acted like friends, but they actually made me feel the loneliest I’ve ever been.” <- This happened to me too, and it's caused lifelong trust issues, which sucks. It's better to have no friends than people like that. No one I knew growing up had that click from books either. Thankfully I've found some as an adult, but it's still a rare thing to find. I think that's part of why I find instalove so frustrating. Even with friendship, it's tough to find. Aww I'm so glad that you've come so far and that younger Mel would be proud. That's all we can ask, right? Well, no, we can ask for so much more and keep working to get it. Thank you. *hugs*

  12. Wow, I didn’t even realize until I read your post that I graduated 10 years ago, too! Yikes. I used to fantasize about the reunion all the time, too, but then 10 years go by and I didn’t even think about it until just now.

    I have no idea if there’s even going to be a reunion (probably, given the massive size of my grad class) but I don’t really care, either. I don’t think my high school experience was as bad as yours, but towards the end of my senior year I finally gave up trying to be someone I wasn’t and I pushed a lot of people away… some on purpose, and some because they didn’t like the “new” (real) me.

    Anyway, I’m so glad you shared this post. And all the perfect gifs! Beautiful, haha.
    looloolooweez recently posted…TBR Pile Challenge | The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily KoppelMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Welcome to the old folks home. We have jello….shots. :-p

      I think writing this post helped me churn through some of the lingering temptation to go to my reunion, and I no longer will need to. It’s a curiosity, but I’m not actually that interested in it.

      Romy & Michele’s will always be one of my favorite things. πŸ™‚

  13. Lyn Kaye says:

    So I could more than likely take this blog post and say “Yes, this is ME” to all of the above. I did stay in band until my final year (I wish I had given it up my senior year however – it became a train wreck), and I had no close friends. I had no idea how to act or how to make friends. It turns out that I was falling apart every day due to untreated anxiety and depression. Once I treated those issues, life became better.
    I understand a lot of what you list in here: I thought I was going to be rich, beautiful and charming when I grew up. However, I’m not any thinner, although I can afford nice clothing for my body type, I still lack close friendships and I’m still scraping by. But the big difference is that I’m more accepting of myself. I’ve become comfortable knowing that I will never date or have a spouse, and that I am a highly unlikable person because my social skills are shit. It still gets to me some days, but all of those motivational posters at school turned out to be correct: When you accept yourself, you will be happy.

    “When I was a wee, unhappy teen, I would sometimes dream of my reunion. In grand Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, I planned to wow everyone with how much I’d changed.”

    I did something better than this – I forgot about those people and left them in the past. I no longer even want to see them or impress them or even be around them.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Garden Gazette: June Wrap UpMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      When I quit band, the band kids totally dropped me. I mean, I was super uncool even in the context of band/marching band, but they at least would wave in the hall and stuff. But that was done, except for the people who were in classes with me. That kind of sucked.

      I’m fairly certain I have undiagnosed anxiety issues which I need to be working on, but I don’t know if I had them then. Probably?

      Dressing for your body type is so crucial. I’m sure I could have then too, but I wore what was “cool” not necessarily what worked for me. #mistake

      “I did something better than this – I forgot about those people and left them in the past. I no longer even want to see them or impress them or even be around them.” <- you win the comments. haha.

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