Thursday, March 4, 2010

Glory Days

December 1989
 December 2009

They say that the best times of your life happen when you're in high school. If I believed that, then I should have just given up on life after graduation. Because then I would have known that my life would be nothing but miserable afterward.

Yes, high school had it's moments. I loved being in band, performing, being in competitions. I made some of the best friends I'll ever have. I fell in love for the first time. I was part of a group.

But then, there was the rest. I was miserable. I hated everything. I felt like everyone was always picking on me. I got terrible grades, which meant being grounded. All the time. I wasn't popular. I didn't even feel well liked. I was terribly insecure. I wanted constant attention, but not for the things I ended up getting it for. I was angry, I was sad. I fought with everyone. I was smart. I was talented. But I wasn't smart or talented enough. I was mediocre. And I hated that about myself. I was lazy, and overweight. But no matter how much I dieted, or exercised, I was never happy with how I looked. I didn't wear the clothes that were “In style.” I didn't have the right hair. I just wasn't right. I was depressed, I was suicidal. I was violent. It was not a good way to be.

Some things don't change. Some things do. I have some great memories of high school. I have some horrid feelings from high school. I won't go into specifics, but I was made fun of and singled out in a not-so-good way.... a lot. It wasn't a good feeling. I didn't know at the time, but I was manic depressive.

I didn't go to my Grad Night after graduation because I never felt like I even knew the people in my class. I had no reason to say goodbye to most of them. And most of them, I haven't seen since then. And that doesn't bother me. I had no real ties to the people I grew up with, other than the classes that we shared since first grade.

I moved on, made new friends, got different jobs, and dated other people. I got cancer, and lived. I went on through my dad's cancer. During that period, I went to my 10 year reunion. I was amazed to find out that people remembered me. People thought highly of me. People said I was sweet, and that they just loved me in high school. Really? But they didn't give me the time of day then, why now? I was in the rest room, reapplying my lipstick and someone said something that made me laugh. One person said my name. After all these years, she still recognized my laugh. I probably hadn't talked to her in almost 15 years, because we ran in completely different circles in high school. It was surreal. I ran into people that knew me, and I knew, but we could not figure out HOW.

After that, I began to hang out with and correspond with some of the people at the reunion via email. I'm glad that I've been able to keep in touch with many of them. The second time that I got cancer, I was thrilled to have so much support from them. I also reconnected with some of my band friends which really made me happy. They were my dysfunctional family in high school.

Then there was the miracle of the internet. And social networking. I went on Facebook after joining a wedding board that didn't want every private thing on a public board. For about 6 months, the only friends I had on there, were people from that wedding board. Then, the friend requests started pouring in. I now have over 450 friends on there. Probably 90% of those friends are people that I know, personally from school, work, family, or through friends of friends.

It was after I started getting all these friend requests that I realized how weird it was to be talking to some of these people. Many of these friends from school never gave me the time of day back then. Or they had one class with me back in freshman year. How? Why? What made these people add me? And they TALK to me! I mean, a lot of it is “hope you feel well soon,” or “I'm glad that you had a good day.” But then I will get emails on Facebook, or just general things where we talk about our lives, offer advice or support to each other. Many of us have lost a parent, some have had cancer, most have had kids. Via the internet, I feel like I've gotten close to some of these people from my past. But some of them, I am really confused about.

There is a Bruce Springsteen song called Glory Days. Some of the things I see posted – in pictures, mostly – make me think of this song. Were the high school years the peak of their lives? Is this their claim to fame? What happened? I come from southern California – the land of perfect bodies, which I never fit in because of – it amazes me how some people have AGED terribly, and some look exactly the same, if not better than in high school. I see these pictures and the comments and the captions under them and I wonder.... What happened? I don't even remember some of these events! (not that I remember MUCH, mind you) But how can this be that important to you? I guess because I was only in band, I don't get the big draw of sports or prom, or whatever. I remember few things from band. I remember the friends that I had. I remember some of the songs we played. But not much else. I guess some people are lucky to have these memories.

I'm glad that I made it past all these things. I'm very glad that I still have friends that remember me well enough to add me as a friend. I'm glad that I grew up. I'm also glad that those weren't the best years of my life. My life is so much better now than it ever has been. I have really never been happier. I am more satisfied than I have ever been with who I am. I have an amazing, loving husband. I have the best family. I have a great job, and fantastic co-workers. I have a sweet cuddle bug of a dog. I have wonderful, supportive friends. I have a comfortable life. It's not everything, I don't have a house, we only have one car, we don't have all the things that we want, and I have some health issues. But it doesn't keep us down. I am happy. And that, makes these the best years of my life.

Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen

I had a friend was a big baseball player
back in high school
He could throw that speedball by you
Make you look like a fool boy
Saw him the other night at this roadside bar
I was walking in, he was walking out
We went back inside sat down had a few drinks
but all he kept talking about was

Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days

Well there's a girl that lives up the block
back in school she could turn all the boy's heads
Sometimes on a Friday I'll stop by
and have a few drinks after she put her kids to bed
Her and her husband Bobby well they split up
I guess it's two years gone by now
We just sit around talking about the old times,
she says when she feels like crying
she starts laughing thinking about


My old man worked 20 years on the line
and they let him go
Now everywhere he goes out looking for work
they just tell him that he's too old
I was 9 nine years old and he was working at the
Metuchen Ford plant assembly line
Now he just sits on a stool down at the Legion hall
but I can tell what's on his mind

Glory days yeah goin' back
Glory days aw he ain't never had
Glory days, glory days

Now I think I'm going down to the well tonight
and I'm going to drink till I get my fill
And I hope when I get old I don't sit around thinking about it
but I probably will
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
a little of the glory of, well time slips away
and leaves you with nothing mister but
boring stories of glory days

Chorus (repeat twice) 


Daisy said...

Well written post, Tink. I hated high school too. I couldn't wait to graduate and get away from it. I never felt like I fit in anywhere either. I always felt like I was on the fringes. I still feel that way a lot of times, but I don't worry about it anymore. That's just part of who I am. I just accept that and focus on doing the things that make me happy and be grateful for the good things in life. It seems like the best course of action to me.

Lose That Girl said...

Great post, Tink. I thank my lucky stars that my best times weren't in high school. Life just really starts when you move on from the confines of that environment. I agree with you totally.

Tink said...

Thanks, both of you! I don't know why the elusive "they" always say it's the best years of your life. I would hate to think it would be over then. :-)

The Courteous Chihuahua said...

Very good post. I remember my husband frequently telling my stepson high school should be the best time of your life. I always said, if you only plan on living until you're 19.