Flashback: 1997, or , Not My Space

Yeah, when WH isn’t around I stay up late and do things I wouldn’t do with him looking over my shoulder. Like pulling the profiles from my old high school. I should have graduated in 1997. My ten year reunion will be this year. Except it isn’t mine. You caught that “should have”, right? Well, dearest internet, there is story, and it is quite possibly the second most shameful story I have and the beginning of anything in my life not turning out the way I planned. It goes without saying that there are many, many parts of my life that I’m quite pleased with, thanksverymuch, but more on that point later. Right now I have story to tell you.

I was a good kid. My adventures in high school were not unlike most kids- I had friends, and we hung out and did drugs and acted like stupid kids. We had fun. We took care of each other. We were smart girls who got good grades and had futures. We had futures. Had futures. Some of us were more careful than others. I ended up flunking some math and science classes. They were harder for me than the other classes, and it was easier to shrug them off than struggle with them. There was a lot going on at home. There was a lot going on not at home. So then I got a job, and a boyfriend. And I ended up having to take day classes and a night class to graduate on time. That was my fault. I fucked around, I fucked off, and I got overloaded. Overwhelmed. So, I got sick. Really sick. I lost weight at a rapid rate, my abdomen distended, and I experienced a fatigue so deep and easily provoked that I have never felt anything like it since. This all happened about six weeks before I was supposed to graduate high school. I had chipped in on the limo deposit for prom. I had a 3.8 GPA. I was the co-president of the French Club and the Treasurer-Secretary of the Junior Civ Club. My free ride to any public college in the state was awaiting me. Despite my shenanigans, I had never been suspended. I was all set, despite having fucked up and fucked around, to graduate.

The doctors thought it was mono, but they couldn’t get a positive test. The school wanted a diagnosis. That was the rule. No diagnosis, no accommodations, no excused absence, no diploma. I had track marks on the insides of my elbows from the blood draws. Nothing. No explanation. None.

I asked the doctors to lie. They refused.
I asked my parents to fight the school board for me. Or at least call. They refused.
I called the damn superintendent of schools and asked him to make an exception. He said “drop out or fail”.

Four and a half weeks before I would have earned my high school diploma, I dropped out. I. am. a. high. school. dropout.

I am so ashamed. I was a good kid. I deserved that damn degree, more than some of the folks who got theirs.

My friends were either too embarrassed to maintain contact, or they were angry with me for not attending my graduation ceremony as a spectator. On the sidelines. I am told that not everything went through in time and they actually called my name. Called. My. Name. There wasn’t any piece of paper waiting for me, though. And when I threw away my high school career, I threw away my free ride. I threw away my future as I knew it at the time. I don’t have a graduating class. I have a GED.

High school was the first time in my life that I had a decent sized, quality group of friends. It was the first time ever in my life that I really felt like I belonged. But I don’t anymore. I’m that girl that dropped out and shocked everyone and what the hell happened to her.

Turns out that if this hadn’t happened, it is unlikely that I would be here, in Paradise, with WH, running an accounting department, owning a home, and finally, finally, finally, going to college. So. For the most part, this is a skeleton in my closet and split milk.

Except for those girls. I loved them. Loved them. They probably loved me. What do you do when you’re young, and you don’t understand the world yet, and your friend gets sick, and her parents don’t care about her education, and no one cares about her dreams, and she drops out of school, and you don’t? I guess you pull back, pull away. I know I did. The shame still brings me to tears, ten years later. It is my deepest motivation to keep taking classes no matter how long it takes. To earn a diploma. A spot on the reunion list. A graduating class. Vindication. The “good enoughs”.

After finding these girls on MySpace, after seeing their wedding pictures, and their beautiful babies, I want so badly to reach out. Just to say hi, hey, you look great, I’m doing well, nice to talk to you again. I just don’t feel like I can, and I just can’t tell if I’m being insecure and silly, or shy, or if I just really don’t belong. Didn’t. Ever. Belong?

Some of them are better off than I am. Some are not. Most have accomplished something I haven’t, most haven’t accomplished something I have. I am on the level with my peers. But are they still my peers?

WH won’t stand for this type of thinking. He had a similar experience in high school, and also has a GED. He wouldn’t avoid anyone from high school, but he sure as hell wouldn’t look them up on MySpace and relive the same ol’ shame. That’s why I love him so much.

I haven’t decided what to do. What do you think, internet?

Oh, and kids? Stay in school. And lay off the acid.

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4 Responses

  1. Wow. What a story! Frankly, there’s nothing wrong with saying “Hi” to those girls and letting them know you’re still around.
    Besides, I don’t think there is any shame around a GED. You got one didn’t you? You’re in college and kicking ass now right?
    The temptation to look up those friends on MySpace is tremendous. I know. I’ve done it.
    Saying “Hello” isn’t saying “I want to renew our old friendship” is it? It’s just paying tribute the friendship that used to be.
    Thanks for sharing this, Bad Cat.

  2. Oh WOW. That’s insane. Like, I seriously want to give everyone at the school who wouldn’t let you graduate (also, the doctors who wouldn’t lie) a swift kick to the shins. Asses.

    I agree with Jennifer in that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying “hey!” via MySpace. I’ve done it and when people do it to me, I’m super-excited to find out what has become of their lives. Go for it.

  3. What a terrible injustice. I’m sorry your parents didn’t fight the school board. I’m not sure that would fly these days. In any case, as awful as that was, it sounds like you got a life you love and that’s what matters most.

    As for saying hi on MySpace, if you want to, do it!

  4. I’m going to do it. I just have to sign up and create a profile. 🙂 Thanks ladies!

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