Saturday, March 17, 2012

High school and its lasting effects, part 2

Same disclaimer as part 1: 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).
Let's talk about my reputation in high school.  I can't actually know what my reputation was because most high schoolers (most people for that matter) don't go around saying, "you're the token pothead; you're the prude; you're the slut," so all I can really write about was what I perceived my reputation to be and the clues that I got that supported that perception.

Here I am in a play.
FIRST, I'm going to say what I was, in my own opinion, which I think, in this case, is the most reliable one.  I got good grades.  I enjoyed schoolwork...mostly.  I played soccer.  I was in the chamber choir, show choir, and jazz band.  Outwardly, I was the type of person that people were surprised to hear swear.  I have a vivid memory of talking to a couple of people during freshman year, when one of them heard me say fuck for one reason or another and they were just blown away.  Looking back, it's kind of funny, because I really have an incredibly foul mouth.  

...and with a piano

My niche was with the music/drama club crowd.  I felt the most passion for music and theatre, so I clicked best with the people who had the same kind of interests.  I was kind of in the middle, socially.  Like I said in part 1, I had to learn during my Sophomore year how to be on my own, so by the time that whole fiasco had died off, I enjoyed being on my own.  So, for the latter half of high school, I had friends, but I didn't care quite enough to go out to parties and try to socialize and make new ones.  I didn't have that much against anyone; I just felt too uncomfortable around most people my age for it to be worth putting myself in awkward situations that I just made more awkward by not having any idea how to be a social being.
...and another play
--Although, my sister, A, told me something recently that was incredibly comforting.  She told me that whenever I feel like I’m making an ass of myself in any sort of social situation at all, everyone else feels the same way.  No one actually knows how anything social is supposed to work.  Some are just better at faking it than others. (in case anyone's confused, I have two sisters: N and A.  S is my brother- N's twin.)
Here I am at a party with S and A (on facebook, N was tagged
as the phone-- she couldn't make it)
It also wasn't worth it to me to get caught at a party in my town and get suspended from teams and other things.  Instead, I partied whenever I visited my siblings at college, because I'd already learned that I usually had more fun with them anyway (see part 1).  Because of this, I think I may have given myself a reputation of a bit of a goody two-shoes who never partied or anything.  I got this idea mainly from the fact that when people found out I partied now and then they got these looks on their faces as if they'd just found out that fish can actually breath air (and sometimes they'd say something like, "you don't seem like the type who parties," so that was a pretty good clue as to what they thought of me).

Something else that might have contributed to my reputation in high school is the quarter of my family who is closest in age to me.  S was the valedictorian of his class, and N was the salutatorian.  A lot of people (a lot of the time, teachers) seemed to expect me to be like that.  Of course, they forgot about my other older sister, A, who was totally smart and awesome and NOT number one or two in her class.  That’s how I was.  I think I was in the top tenth percentile or something like that, but I just did the work.  My parents have blessed me with intelligent genes.  But they’ve also given me lazy genes, so I did the work I needed to do, I participated in class, and that was about it.  I did extra on the stuff that was fun for me- projects, creative things- ya know.  Thankfully, doing well in school was one of the things that was fun for me.  I got all As and Bs.  I’m happy with that.

(that's the Emerson logo in
case you didn't know)
I can’t tell you how much it irritated me when people who knew that A and S went to Yale (as well as both of my parents) said with this presumptive air, “So, are you going to Yale?” or “I bet you’re going to Yale then,” or some other pressuring, judging statement that made me want to punch them in the face.  When I told them no, I wasn’t going to Yale, the common response was, “Ooh, breaking the mold,” or “and how do your parents feel about that?” or “uh-oh!”  I really wanted to say to all of these people, “MY OTHER SISTER WENT TO MIDDLEBURY AND SHE’S SUPER HAPPY AND SMART AND WE ALL STILL LOVE HER!!!”  I mean, I liked Yale, but I didn't really want to go there.  My parents were happy with whatever grades I got and whatever college (or not college) decision I made, as long as they thought I was working as hard as I could and doing something that made me happy.  They actually encouraged me to take a gap year in between high school and college.  At one point, I even considered graduating early for social reasons (and because I could have).  I think they would have supported me if I’d decided to do that, but I’m glad that they told me that they thought I might be happier in the long run if I stayed for my senior year (and I was happier). 
I graduated without familial 'bout that?
Honestly, the only place where there was pressure to go to a certain college (or any college at all for that matter) or even get As and Bs (!!) was coming from the people who assumed there was pressure from my family.  Ugh.

It also really bugged me when people were surprised that I was going into film, because I was smart.  Some people actually assumed that I was going into chemistry or something like that (you can be good at things and not want to spend your life studying them…you can also be smart and not study math…).  I got this weird pleasure out of breaking people’s assumptions.  I mean, I would rather have the reputation of the smart, prudish teacher’s pet, or whatever my reputation actually was, than the burnout, going nowhere pothead.  But it was still really oppressive.  Now, if someone tries to pigeonhole me, even if they’re right, I bristle.  It’s really irritating because when people have clearly formed some opinion of you, it’s the hardest thing in the world to break that.  And even if you do break out of it, getting those baffled reactions from people is hardly worth it.  It was things like this stuck reputation that I had (or at least felt I had, which is just as bad, even if it didn’t really exist) that made me want out of high school ASAP.

Me and L (I had to find one that didn't show
her face because I don't have her permission)
So I said earlier that I didn't have that much against the people at my high school, but I think really what I do have against them is that pressure I felt from them concerning my reputation.  But honestly, it was partially a self-inflicted situation.  At this point, it's up to me to forget it and actually be who I want to be (I have a theory that a number of people may try to do this in high school- but no one 100% succeeds).  I mean, here I am in LA, soon to be Greenland and then Puerto Rico or something.  Even though I never thought  in high school that I'd have the guts to do what I'm doing right now (in fact- a big sign that my rep. came somewhat from myself was that I had a HUGELY difficult time making the final decision to take time off because it wasn't what most of my family had done- ah! irony!).  But, thinking about it now, I can't imagine that I would ever have NOT done this.  There were so many times I considered going off the beaten track from "high-school-college-real-life," that it seemed inevitable that I eventually sucked it up and did it.

I just realized that I said in part 1 that I'd talk about romance in this post.  I didn't.  Oops.  Well, that will come in a later post.

1 comment:

  1. You all still love me?!?!?!?!?!?!! Awwww