“Oh my God, it’s so great to see you! What have you been up to since school?”
My parents always talked about how much fun they had at their high school reunions. Even my dad—who wasn’t as school spirited as my prom queen mother—would go and have a blast. Just this past summer, both of them attended their 45th reunions. They would tell me that I had to at least go to my 10-year, and I always thought I would. After the last 10-years I’ve had, it’s not gonna happen.
I was pretty average in high school—not popular, but also not quite a wallflower. About 90% of the kids in my grade all went to the same middle school and some of the kids I had known since the first grade. So there weren’t many strangers, though I would still get surprised whenever people actually knew my name, students and teachers alike. I was just a really quiet kid who rarely spoke in class. Unless you knew me, then I was loud and annoying, always joking around.
I had a really close group of friends from the second grade until the start of high school—our parents called us “The Posse”. Once 9th grade hit, we all kind of started hanging with other kids but still stayed friends. Some got really into their studies with AP classes and I was really into my dance friends, especially once I was on the school’s dance team my last two years of high school. When I graduated in 2009, I left with a few really close friends, girls that I can happily say I’m still close too. I figure if we can last 17+ years, we’re in it for the long haul.
Something that really helps to keep us close is the role social media plays in our lives. Now that I live across the country from all of my friends, I can’t call someone up to go to dinner or to the movies anymore. I keep up with their lives through Facebook or Instagram. That’s kind of how I can keep up any of the kids from high school. I’ll admit, I can be a nosey bitch. I love to peek around at my 9th grade crush or see if the nasty varsity cheerleader is still annoyingly pretty. Gossiping with my friends over who’s married or who seems to have peaked in high school is a guilty pleasure. And that is what social media has given us.
Then my life kind of blew up in 2015 and everything went downhill. I was moving back in with my parents, leaving both of my jobs, having two different surgeries and radiation therapy. I lost my hair just to lose it again once it had almost grown back. I blew up from steroids—weight that still won’t go away. My friend had to force herself over to my house because I didn’t want anyone to see my balloon face. I still can’t walk/stand for more than 20-30 minutes. My overall health is an absolute mess.
The last thing I want to do is mingle around at a bar in Los Angeles, talking to people who either are married with kids or working as a lawyer—or both! I don’t want to have to explain myself to semi-strangers for an entire night. I already had to do that at a friend’s wedding a few years ago and it was humiliating. It also really brings down the vibe of a conversation and I totally don’t blame the other person for it. How are you supposed to respond when someone discussed brain surgery or chronic pain in general?
I don’t like where I am in life—with my body, work (or lack thereof), and relationship (also a load of emptiness). And I know that what people put on social media is the highlight reel of their lives, but there is still some truth there. If any of my close friends were going, I would think about it, but they’re all ditching too. It’s not worth my already fragile anxiety and it would be emotionally and physically exhausting. It’s just not worth it.
So that’s it. No reunion for me. I may look back and regret my decision, but for me, right now, it’s the best thing. I’ll just have to watch it all unfold over the Internet, how I spend most of my time. Let the stalking commence!
***I promise I’m not a real stalker, it’s just a phrase people use, okay?***