high school

I had dinner with some gals from high school on Saturday night. It was interesting. There were 6 of us and we represented pretty much all the groups you find in those tough years: the jock, the pretty cool girl, the quiet one, the geek, the new student, and the minority.

We all saw each other a couple years ago at our reunion, but this was the first time we got to have an intimate conversation about our years when we spent ages 12-18 together every day.

The thing that amazed me the most was to hear about what other people were thinking and how wrong we were in our assumption that we were the only ones suffering.

We all come from different backgrounds and different levels of dysfunction. And don’t kid yerself, we ALL had dysfunction, just different kinds and severity. So here we all were, 12 years old, with all our baggage and insecurities that we acquired at home, and we are thrust into rooms with 20-30 others young people with their own cocktail of quirks, and we are expected to have fun. Really? Well, sure! It’s that what the adults tell us…’Enjoy school! It’s the best time of your life!’. Really?!? I remember thinking, ‘shit, if this is the best time of my life I’m soo not looking forward to what comes after school….eek’.

If we had mature coping skills and there was a manual on how to handle your teenage years, and how to navigate the sensitive mind fields like sex, self-esteem, periods, conflict, popularity, insecurity…. then I think we would have had a head start but good luck finding that. We were ill equipped! We walked into social and emotional situations that we were not schooled in. Parents seem to be a little more hands-on in their kids lives these days, but in the 80s, your parents patted you on the head and said, ‘have a great day at school’. You were on your own.

So, Saturday was a real eye-opener for all of us. Through talking about it, we all realized that we were each so busy trying to appear like we were fine and had everything under control that we didn’t even notice that everyone around us was going through the same thing. Hell!

Ie. I was always outgoing and loud and funny. They all thought that I was totally self-secure and problem free. But I used that laughter and joking to mask my fears that I wasn’t worthy, cool, or intelligent. The cool good looking girl was always well dressed and seemed to have it together. But she didn’t. She had shit going on at home, and was painfully shy. One gal had HUGE boobs and it stifled her ability to communicate with anyone, the intellectual gal wished to break out of her good girl image but didn’t have the guts and was rejected and ignored, the minority was dealing with racism and problems at home…I could go on.

I feel so sad for the wounded little souls we all were. Everyone so busy acting like they were some one other than who they were. Caring so much about what others thought of them that they lost their personal identity. Ugh. I wouldn’t go back to be that experience for anything.

As I walked home on Saturday night (we drank quite a bit so no driving for me), I realized how far I have come since then and I patted myself on the back. I have always marched to the beat of my own drum. When other kids were quiet and submissive, I was loud, outspoken, demanding,and wanted answers. I was never just ok with things the way they were simply because someone said so. I had to question. And I still do.

I haven’t changed that much. None of us have, but the difference is that we are ok with who were are now. I embrace my originality. I am still demanding, outgoing, and loud. But I embrace that now. I am who I am. I don’t apologize for who I am. This is me. Take it or leave it. We all seemed to have landed in the place of self acceptance and it feels great.

Be who you are. Accept who you are. Embrace who you are…you will one day, so why not do it now?


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9 Responses to high school

  1. I was the girl who never talked to anyone and always had three or four library books along with my regular schoolbooks. I’ve changed in a lot of ways, not at all in others. A big part of not being miserable, not feeling totally alone, is realizing exactly what you just said: We’re all in the same freaking boat and bailing like hell to stay afloat.

  2. amandasuebee says:

    I know what you’re saying about high school. I had the fantasy of being cool and popular and the boys that I liked actually liking me back. That wasn’t my experience in high school. I was shy and minded my own businees so I didn’t get out of high school what I wanted. I have “come out of my shell” sort of speak. I’m outgoing now and my shyness has subsided, a lot, and I’m not concerned about what people think of me anymore. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would and I’d be the person I am now. I had a self-confidence problem in school too. I always thought everyone was better than me, now I know I’m just as good as everyone else, not better, but just as good. That’s how I raise my children too, I make sure they know they aren’t better than any other child but that no child is better than them either. My daughter will be starting high school this next year and I dread it for her so bad but I don’t tell her that. I’m just hoping she has a better experience that I did. School is rough for all kids at one time or another and it’s our job as parents to help them through the rough times and that’s what I try to do with mine. Thanks for sharing Sam, you’re an awesome lady and I want you to know how much I admire you! Take care and love and hugs coming your way! :)))

  3. ilseklijn says:

    This was a good read! Thank you so much. I just realized a couple of weeks ago that I can finally by myself (I was bullied a lot and a few weeks ago I went to my primary school reunion and finally let go of my past). I’m glad other people experience the same thing and I also figured out that I’m glad who I am, I’ve done a lot of cool stuff and I like being weird.
    I don’t care anymore what people think about me but I wanted to raise awareness of bullying so that’s why I wrote a blog also (if you want you can read it here http://wp.me/p2Nu1r-i3).

    Thank you for sharing your opinions to the world and I like you say what’s on your mind even how hard it sometime can/ must be to do!

  4. Heather S. says:

    Your latest post made me think about my high school ills. It’s a sore spot for me. I had casual friends from all walks of life, but didn’t fit the mold of any particular group. I desperately wanted to fit in and I made many poor choices because of it. I wasn’t into the drug scene, but I smoked, drank, and did things I’m not proud of. You’re right though, we all went through “crap”. Stuff we weren’t prepared for and baggage we’ll continue to carry to our graves. I would never wish to go back to that time, but I do wish I had done things differently.
    *Thank you for another thought provoking post.

  5. Sandy says:

    This is off topic but I didn’t know where else to say this: I wanted to thank you for speaking of getting an colonoscopy a little while ago. I put mine off for two years but I’m finally getting it done on Wednesday and there’s no doubt that reading you talk about it made it easier for me. It’s a blessing to use fame or recognition or whatever one would call it for the good of others.

    • samferris says:

      Yay! That’s why I do this. Human beings are a weird bunch…we get hung up on all kinds of things. Me included. If I can help ONE person through a trying event by talking about it and finding the humor, then rock on.

      Hope it went well. My brother and I have to get them regularly. Our dad died of lower intestinal cancer so we are at high risk. I don’t mind them now. I actually like the ‘jungle juice’ they give you. I never remember. And I like my gastroenterologist.

      Procedures like these save lives. Including mine. We shouldn’t be embarrassed about them. We are, but let’s hope we’re heading in the direction that it becomes common practice without awkwardness and shame.

      • Sandy says:

        I didn’t expect a reply. So thank you. It went well. He removed some benign polyps which still need testing but he wasn’t worried. I’ll need another in 3 or 5 years depending. I’m glad I got over the fear and did it. I have young daughters and felt I owed it to them to take care of myself. But I was definitely inspired by your openness. Jim Beaver, as well, has tweeted about this. I miss you on Supernatural. Hope they find some clever way to get you back. Lovely chatting with you.

  6. travelstacey says:

    This is what I discovered 2 1/2 years ago, at age 35, when I got so sick from stress I had to stand back and analyze where that stress was coming from. It stemmed from some long time friends who had started down the path of an alternate lifestyle and judged me for not going with them. As our friendship crumbled I kept asking myself “what have I done wrong that they don’t enjoy me any more and how can I change to fix that?” Illness and excruciating pain were the catalysts for me to sit up and say “F*CK THEM! I am me. I like me. Other people like the me I like being. So that’s who I will be!” The friendship waned and as sad as that is, I am now in the most amazing place in my life. Other, truer friendships have blossomed, my career has become so much more enjoyable again, exciting new doors have opened in my life that I could never have dreamed possible 3 years ago.

    I know, I know. 35 is a little late to this realization. But maybe it actually all does go back to high school as I tried to find my niche. I was that person who wasn’t quite a jock, wasn’t quite a nerd. Wasn’t the goody two-shoes, wasn’t the complete rebel. I tried to fit in to one group or another and maybe the point should be made that it’s not about fitting into a group. It’s about being open and honest and the people who gravitate towards you are the people who are meant to be in your life.

    Oh, and also, this realization has made me post really deep things on blogs 😉 Kicking it in the ass!

  7. ickyemy says:

    Whenever people from my high school see me in public, they look as though they have seen a ghost. Halfway through my sophomore year, my parents “surprise” dropped me off at a residential treatment center for girls with eating disorders. Nobody told my friends what happened, the teachers all said they couldn’t talk about it. People thought I had died, or that something awful had happened. By the time I got back, I was like a novelty item in a freak show. And I still had an eating disorder. A lot of people made fun of me, to my face, pretending to puke in their lockers when I walked by, or throwing doughnuts at me in the halls. I was hospitalized again, and then my parents got the brilliant idea to exorcise me, because someone told them that my eating problems were caused by a demon. Long story short, I had to fake a demon manifestation, and when my Dr. found out, he reported my parents to CPS. I was placed in foster care. I never went back to high school, and it’s probably a good thing, because I don’t think I could have taken being made fun of for being possessed by a demon. I got my GED and am still plugging away at college. I still struggle with food, and I still feel like the weird girl everywhere I go, but I am still here. Still trying.

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