This blog post is brought to you by my sick-bed; yes I am at home lying in bed and feeling generally yucky. Naturally the only thing I can do in this situation is lie here and tweet as my thumbs are probably the only part of my body that has any energy to do anything today. Reading twitter (to curb the boredom) I noticed that my incredibly forward thinking boyfriend has struck a chord with many people regarding their experiences of high school. This comes at a time when he is now thinking about his eldest who will be starting high school next year. His anxiety about making sure it’s the right school for his child is totally normal and most parents go through a similar experience. My initial thought when he voiced his concerns were, “I’m sure he will be fine” after all I have been there done that three times over. This, I realize is not helpful to our relationship as my blasé attitude to parenting (yawn) does not diminish the fact that my partner still has to go through some of the experiences I have already been through.
This made me think of my own high school experience, one that was not all roses, but more like thorn bushes and cacti. I started out like every other newbie, thinking I was all that and expected to be treated as such. It’s so different when you come from just being the top dog and senior at your primary school to starting at a grade 1 level all over again.
I had short curly hair and in primary school my ‘curls’ were cute and adored. In high school I was asked by a bunch of matric girls (the movie mean girls immediately springs to mind just thinking about them) if I permed my hair. This was the eighties after all. “No” I replied, quite proudly, “it’s natural”. The next day when I entered school I was greeted by strangers saying, “Good morning natural” with a sarcastic undertone. After that I became known as ‘nest head” I guess that was pretty much the beginning of my hate-hate relationship with my curly hair. The problem was that this kind of abuse (for lack of a better word) just made me more determined to show everyone that I WAS in fact all that. I became a complete brat at home, cheeky teenager syndrome multiplied by a thousand. I disrespected my teachers just to show the other kids I can be cool, dark and brooding, like James Dean in rebel without a cause. (Except I had a cause) I did things like hitchhike to clubs, wear make-up to get into pubs when I was only thirteen. Normal teenage behaviour you may say, but I neglected my school work in all my efforts to be part of the ‘in’ crowd and be considered cool. This is one of my biggest regrets in life, to this day. I managed somehow to get through three years of high school without so much as opening a book to study! Not once. Then my mom enrolled me into a college (which I loved) to complete my education.
I often wonder how much better I could have faired academically if I had actually applied myself and tried to study something. I guess I will never know the answer to that question. I wish I would have concentrated more on school work, respected my teachers who were only there to assist me in my education and worried less about the social aspects of it all. I wish I could have realized that because I am such a social person, I would eventual blossom and have an actual social life. That it would come in time and to just wait for it. I wish I could have known then that I would have friends who like me for me, and not to pretend to be something/someone else just to be liked.
Lessons one learns only form hindsight unfortunately.