Just recently a really good friend of mine well more like a champion informed me that our thirty year high school reunion is happening this August. He asked if I was plan on going. I paused then responded with I don’t know. It’s always difficult task going back to high school. I can imagine it’s a tough time for most but for me it was my living hell nightmarish prison that I thought I would never escape. The anxiety of getting to school was a nightmare. I spent four years with a bunch of miserable assholes who pride themselves on being assholes becoming the target of many vicious attacks. My four years were spent dodging bullets, ducking hand grenades and digging deep trenches to hide in. Why on earth would I want to volunteer to spend one evening reliving that?
Talk About The Trenches: I make no bones about my experiences in high school being an outcast, a freak and bullied. I can remember awkwardly walking down the hallways holding on tight to my composition books that contained my life. All my writings, thoughts, ideas, my music danced in these books glued by cheap adhesive glue clutched tightly in my arms, hoping no one would notice me. The goal is to make it to “The Closet” without having someone knocking my things out of my hands and stepping on them laughing. I just simply closed my eyes took a deep breath and moved stealthily down the hallway deep inside the trenches pass the enemies. Some days were a success others weren’t and right now I don’t care to go any further than that.
“The Closet” – a little recording room with a piano and a safe place to escape
Safe Haven: My love of writing started when I started seventh grade aged twelve. It wasn’t until I got to eighth grade I truly indulge in my passion. My writings started off as song lyrics that turned into poems that turned into short stories. Music was the jumping off point, my mother thought it would be a good idea to get me into some music classes to get me to focus. At the time I was very sensitive I needed direction. My mother alongside my history teacher Mr. Chu worked together to help focus and control my depressive state aka my “Chum”. Music for me is like a duck to water. I did pretty good even learning how to write and keep time. I started playing the flute then moved onto the accordion, however, I found myself behind the piano. For years I would play classical and pop receiving free lessons from my great Aunt Belle (another story). I just fell in love with writing and music.
Mr. Chu First Class Hero: Today you don’t see many teachers take interest in their students. Most just move kids along through the system not knowing the personalities behind the faces. I was very lucky that I had someone not only believed in me but seen something that I couldn’t see. I was always distracted and uninterested, that all changed with Mr. Chu. He believed that every child has an interest, it’s just a matter of tapping into that interest. For me it was writing and music. I would stay after school help cleaning Mr. Chu chalk board. Through him I would learn how to play chest, but not only I learned about the world. Mr. Chu was not only a history teacher or taught shop he loved music and reading. He made learning easy and relatable. He would introduce me into a world non-like ever before all from Latin music, big band, show tunes and contemporary and it didn’t stop there he would introduce me to Hemingway and a lovely book titled “The Twelve Million Dollar Note” a book that I fell in love with and still read my little introverted world has just became bigger. Through Mr. Chu I started to be less introverted and more sociable. My amour became stronger, bigger and brighter I enjoy this version of me.
High School Hell: After leaving Jr High behind I look ahead to High School. A sea of teenage angst. When I walked into those double doors of my High School all that I worked for started to disappear. The cracks in my amour started to show and the shy introverted girl was back. For two years I didn’t know what was wrong with me that people hated me. I just didn’t fit anywhere and my writings started to turn dark and worse I stopped playing music. I was quiet and a loner often becoming a target of bullying. One day I ditched school went to visit Mr. Chu, told him what was going on. I was heartbroken because I was no longer a part of something big. My champions all were scattered. Going to different schools or moving out of the state. I didn’t have that shield that protected me from the storms. Mr. Chu suggested I take a drama and a music class. He said that these classes will help me adapt to my new surroundings and open me up. Maybe to the point where I would meet new friends. I did I joined show choir and took a drama class and I gained three new friends. Unfortunately for them they were the same as me misfits and outcasts. At least I wasn’t alone in my private hell. Now the four of us was tortured equality.
Confession Of A Scared Mind: I have to admit it’s been thirty years but the scars still remain. Slowly I have tugged and pulled at this band-aid called High School. I finally peeled it off revealing a scar that has healed but still bruised. Every time I look at that scar a flood of tortuous pain floods my mind that takes me back to that place of being non-existing. Yes that what hurts us makes us stronger but damn does it have to hurt that bad? And who came up with that saying? I wonder if they had a hellish high school experience. The adult me wants so desperately to take that bruised little tortured soul in my arms and hug her. Tell her that this part of life isn’t forever things will get better.
Still Struggling: Sorry I had to take a long detour to get here but it needed to be said. I guess I just had to justify the reasons why I don’t want to attend my thirty year high school reunion. It was tough and of course people change. I am a person with a mental disorder. For me each episode with my “Chum” is brutal. The recovery time is harder. I don’t want to willingly put myself in a situation where I’m reliving old dreadful memories and being judged for who the person I turned out to be. I will continue to love and I will continue forgive and follow this path of self-discovery. As far as growth well that’s on going. People say there’s two things to life you “dying” and “taxes”. I would like to offer more to that statement; You’re born, you live, you grow, you die and pay taxes ha ha ha.
Remember to be kind.