Thursday, March 15, 2012

High school and its lasting effects, part 1

Before I write this, I want to post a quick disclaimer.  I'm not writing this is be catty or to get back at someone or someones who wronged me in high school or whatever.  I'm just writing it because high school took up four years of my life and is therefore worth writing about.  If you're curious to know who a certain story in this post was about, email me and I might tell you.  But I probably won't (there's a reason I never mention anyone in this blog except myself by name).
Looking back on it now, high school was a very strange time in my life in many respects.  Among other things, it largely affected the way I interact with people (particularly with my contemporaries, but also with everyone).  It also affected the way I handle relationships in a big way, romantic and otherwise.  But mainly, it affected how I deal with myself.

My high school didn't have really bad cliques like your average high school movie.  I mean, there were definitely a number of separate groups, but it wasn't really exclusive, like Mean Girls or anything.  There were "jocks" and there were "nerds" (and I use both of those terms in the most respectful way), but a number of the starting varsity football players were in our chamber choir.  I like to think that people were quite a bit more accepting of others in my high school than is the common reputation in places like Hollywood.  Instead of cliques, I'm going to say that our school had niches.  That's a more accurate word for it.  At least, from my experience it was.

Obviously, everyone wasn't friends with everyone else (there were 200ish people in my graduating class- where are you going to find a group of 200 people who all like each other?).  There was still drama over whose guy was whose and who hooked up with whom and such.  So that was where the niches came from.  But people didn't generally get slushied in the face or beat up for being "unpopular."  You just don't want to hang out with a girl who stole your boyfriend in Sophomore year, so she and her friends aren't your niche.  I'm not referring to myself there just so we're clear.  No.  I tried to stay out of the way of high-profile drama like that.  It seemed like a waste of time to me.  Yes, it sucked when someone started dating my crush or something, but I wasn't going to burn any bridges simply out of bitterness.

My freshman year was made less scary by the fact that N and S (sister and brother) were seniors at the time.  That year, I got much closer to them and their friends, which was really great.  I sometimes wish I had been in their class just because everyone in it seemed so much more laid back and less concerned with what most high schoolers were concerned least, that's how it seemed to me as a freshman.  I still love hanging out with my siblings and their group of friends because I feel much more comfortable around them than I do around people from my class (with perhaps two or three exceptions).

A lot of what made high school tough for me was striking a balance between being me and finding a niche where I could do that.  As much as I didn't want to care (and in some respects actually didn't care), I was still sucked in by the social expectations of high school.  Because I didn't know how to follow those norms without being untrue to myself, I was all the more tortured by it.  My best friend throughout high school (and before), L, and I still laugh about the fact that we were both parts of niches that were pretty mutually exclusive from each other (with maybe a little overlap), and yet we've still managed a very strong friendship for over 5 years.

Sophomore year however, challenged that quite a bit.  I had boyfriend who didn't like the fact that I had drunk alcohol before.  I was worried that he was going to break up with me, and I wanted to ask my mom for advice.  But of course, to do so, I had to explain to her that I had drunk alcohol before.
My high school...good ol' HA.
**side note here: it's necessary to mention here that I am very close to my parents.  They are both my best friends-- people sometimes think it's strange (less so now that I'm older) that I am so open with them, but it's just the way we are-- I can't explain why I'm close to my family.  I just am.**
So I told my mom about the first time I had gotten drunk, which happened to be a time when L was also there, so when I told L that I had come clean to my mom, she told me that she didn't think that she would be able to trust me again...or for a long time or something.  I don't remember her exact wording.  This was really upsetting to me because trust is one of the most important things two people can have between them, no matter what kind of relationship it is.  Word spread quickly that I had told my parents about drinking and I soon realized that a lot of people were upset with me who weren't even involved in the situation.  In reality, my parents understood that teenagers experiment, and they weren't condoning it, but they didn't ground me for life or anything even close to that.

That whole fiasco was how I eventually learned how to be (and appreciate being) alone.  It felt like a long time (but in reality probably 4 weeks, tops) that I had a number of people who were unhappy with me (it didn't help that my boyfriend and I broke up anyway a month or so after that).  In the end, the only person who had any reason to be mad at me at all, L, was the first person who got over it.  She was also the only person who I really stayed friends with for the rest of high school.  Everyone else just became people I knew and went to school with- no one super important.

So I guess that was the best thing that came out of my fallout in Sophomore year: I can entertain myself when I need to and I don't feel a need to constantly be around people.  (That actually became the topic of my college essay.)  I also was able to sift through the numerous people of my high school world and find the ones that were really going to be good friends in the future.
Okay- I was going to put all of high school in one post, but I'm realizing that it should be split into parts, because this is getting long and strenuous to write.  Part 2 will talk about the rest of high school...maybe some music stuff, maybe some romance stuff...I don't know.

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