We think those are bangs on the front of my head. But we're not certain.
Three decades ago this memorial weekend I was just shy of eighteen years old. At the time of my graduation from High School I had managed to not: die, get pregnant, date anyone, do drugs, do spray glue, do the hokey pokey, take more than one A.P. class, get straight A's, join the football team, set my hair on fire, get expelled, or get voted most likely to be Mariah Carey.
All in all I think I was a success.
I did, however, manage to go through the entire 4 years riddled like a fine Gruyére with holes of insecurity. It got better as I went along, but still, I graduated with more than one little cheese-tunnel through which some lack of confidence might scramble.
But, you know, time has passed. I'm old now. Older. And much more wise. I have mostly raised 4 children. Worked in the computer industry. Been a corporate presenter in major cities around the world. Been in a few plays. Run a marathon (and finished before the wimp-wagon could scrape me up off the pavement and drive me to the finish-line). Given birth to those 4 children that I've mostly raised, without shooting anyone's toes off. Kept a few of my friends around. Kept a very nice husband around. And have never been caught in public with a piece of toilet paper dragging off of my shoe.
I am a raging success.
So, explain to me how, when I traipsed into a planning meeting for my thirty-year class reunion–which our HS Chamber Choir is in charge of this time–every single blinking one of my little teenaged insecurities came bashing right back into my brainstem, scampered through my hypothalamus, and planted themselves in the epicenter of my frontal lobes? 'Splain that, Looceee.
Have I not matured? Learned? Grown? Filled out in the hips?
Apparently sitting there with the popular kids still turns me into a wobbly weeble (if you don't know what that is you are too young to be reading this.) I smiled. Laughed. Made polite suggestions. Talked too much about myself. Then made a bee-line for the kitchen bar and commenced a two-handed cramming into my gob of cream-cheese-and-pepper-jelly-on-ritz-crackers at a rate that would have made the Man Versus Food guy leave in shame.
The thing is, I'm relatively sure that no one there noticed that I was a quivering, yammering bowl of cheesy jelly. They were there to plan the reunion not to analyze me. Where the hinkeypunk do we get the idea that no one likes us, but then are completely sure that these same people are so fascinated by us that they analyze everything we say and do and judge it not good enough? Dudes. They have their own lives to worry about. They aren't worrying about mine.
Well. I had that little conversation with myself on the way home. Before I left I did manage to complement one of ladies on her fabu cookies and listen with interest as they talked about the shared memories they had from their childhoods. Real interest. They are actually very cool people. And probably not the least bit judgmental. If anything, that judgmental person was me.
So, before I got home I decided that during the next meeting I am going to pay attention to the business at hand, pay attention to them instead of me, and see if I can't learn something.
But I'm also going to have a can of cheese-whiz and a vat of jelly on the table next to me. Just in case.