High School Reunion: part one

How it might go...

I'm dressed all in black; it's better for my body image--even though they already know what I look like. Because, Facebook. My hair color no longer comes out of a box from Rite Aid. My heels make the clickity-clack-adult sound on the floor of the venue and my eyes are alive with excitement, the perfect amount of mascara and eyeliner that I kinda-sorta know how to apply myself. I'm classy these days. I have tattoos. I really am all grown up.

I'm greeted by a few people; people who either hated me, loved me or don't remember me. I stretch my vocal chords to match high-pitched, "OhmyGod! and "I'm so glad you're here!", or the "How ARE you?! I saw you were a "maybe" on the Facebook page and I was like, 'wha??? I hope she comes! It would SO suck if you didn't!'". Something like that. I still don't know where I belong. I still don't have any answers. In so many ways, I'm still that fifteen year-old girl who thinks too much and takes life way too seriously for her own good. Do they remember that about me? If so, hopefully they've forgotten.

I'm lost in thought from the get-go and I'm already unintentionally disengaged. I have one drink ticket and I need to use it wisely. Now. Right away. Now seems like a fine time. I hold my drink in both hands; something to do with them while they sweat profusely. I'm as 'here' as I can be, hanging out with familiar strangers, living out the social tradition of the High School Reunion. I wonder if everyone is right: that Facebook has tarnished the purpose of reunions. I wonder if we already know the things we need and want to know about each other and that leaves nothing to say, nothing to ask.  I'm curious about this, which is good, because it's costing me fifty bucks to find out...

photo 1-4

It's been my understanding, from conversations with folks from previous generations, that reunions are great opportunities to simply catch up and find out the "basics"; what do you do? Are you married? Do you have children? Where are you living now?  Before social media, we didn't know any of this. We didn't even know WHO was gonna be at the reunion. Thanks to Facebook, not only do I know who's coming to my reunion, but half of them I've never seen or heard of in my life...but that's probably because my friends were juniors, seniors and teachers. But that's neither here nor there. Also, reunions were great for finding out who's gained weight and gotten plastic surgery. Lucky for me, someone with body image issues, they already know what I look like so it's probably not as much about looks as it used to be.

But still, my upcoming reunion is leaving a lot of space in my brain for worry; what if I'm not successful enough? What if I have nothing to show for the last ten years of my life? What if I am totally forgettable? What if I can't carry a conversation? What if I don't want to? What if I'm not the only one who feels this way but no one will admit it and I'll feel alone? We can't rely on the typical, what's been going on these last ten years questions because, though most of us have painted a glorified picture of ourselves on social media, we've already answered the mundane "reunion" questions for each other. It's all right there in status updates, photo albums and life events. So where does that leave us? Why are reunions still a 'thing'? What is left to say?

photo 3-3

Deep down, I have a feeling that although it's easy to blame Facebook for ruining or spoiling High School Reunions, it's quite possible Facebook has raised the bar and upped the ante for reunions. We've believed Facebook to pass as a constant streaming, real-time reunion and maybe it is, (if all you want to know is what someone looks like ten years later and if they've gotten married. Or had children. Or the other way around.) But maybe reunions are on the brink of evolution. Maybe we cannot assume we have the answers, but rather learn to ask the right questions, better questions; the questions we would have been emotionally and socially incapable of asking all those years ago; Are you happy? Do you feel like a failure? Do you have any STD's? How much faux soul-searching did it take for you to show up tonight? You know, REAL questions. These are all the things I'm dying to know.

photo 2-4I didn't particularly like High School. Actually, I disliked it so much that I doubled up on classes in Junior year and graduated a semester early. I didn't go to Prom. I didn't attend Senior trips or the Senior Breakfast. I didn't take out a page in the yearbook to make a collage of my "hella-super-wicked-uber fun" memories. Oh, and I didn't show up to Graduation. Truthfully, I don't even have my diploma, so I don't know if I'm actually a High School graduate. Whoops. Doesn't matter. I regret none of this.

But I might regret not going to my reunion...so I'm going, with uncertainty, insecurity, curiosity and confusion packed mercilessly in my purse. I might not be married, or have kids or be the thinnest, but I'm going to wear my $250 Michael Kors watch. That has to count for something.