To Go or not to go High School Reunions
March 10, 2007 10:40am CST
Imagine this...it's been eight years, now, since you last glimpsed those familiar bleachers and the track and field packed with raw red clay dirt. The last time you remember being there, there were tears mixed with smiles and families who stood by to watch proudly as their sons or daughters walked up those steps to receive their diplomas. This is easy for me. My dad wanted nothing to do with my graduation. And instead of that feeling of elation and joy, what I felt could only be described as terror. I was terrified of the world. I knew that I had nothing to offer. It was just a game to some, but for me the stakes were sky high. I look back on those moments and wonder if I would have reacted as I did, had I known what was in store for me down the line. Who knows? Maybe I would have walked with my shoulders back and head held high. Maybe I would have realized that no matter what life threw at you, you could survive. Ohhhh, and survive, I did. Barely by the skin of my teeth, mind you, but nevertheless, the lessons I have learned made me the man I am today. That man that looks back at me in the mirror, declares that no one will ever poison the fire that burns so earnestly within those grey blue eyes that sparkle just a bit. There's no easy way of saying this: I wasn't socially adept at all. People would say things behind my back and make jokes at my expense. The sad thing is, sometimes I didn't even have a clue that I was doing so poorly. How would I? When I couldn't even get up the gumption to be myself- the self that wasn't hurt and angry all the time, and looking for approval where none could be found. I cast about in a stormy sea of strangers that even, to this day, leaves me with the impression that no one really knew me. The image of success-my image-has fueled me through more circumstances than I can rightly put a number on. To not have to wear the same damn sneakers for months at a time, or have something more than jeans and t-shirts tattered and dingy from overuse. That would have been a bit of a relief. Yet, had I not gone through all those things, would I have forged a core of resilliency so strong that when my home was literally torn from beneath me, my job lost to a combination of dyslexia and intense anxiety, and my car given back over to the local dealership-would I have had the courage to face these things without finding myself in the clutches of alchoholism or drug abuse? I wonder. You see, I believe that my life will be told as a success story when I do finally go. How many will have shared in my quest for fullfillment of crazy dreams, I couldn't begin to say. The story's not over-not by a long shot. I feel a deeper understanding of my being coming out from the darkness. I have to have courage and faith in the face of daily adversity. So, I think I will go and get myself reaquainted with those who graduated right along side of me. I want to set the record straight and see for myself that the fear and hatred was just a screen to hide behind, so I wouldn't have to get close to anyone. It's time to let go, forgive and, if I'm able, to forget.