Thursday, November 4, 2010

Color Me Shocked and Surprised!

A couple of days ago I got a friend request from someone who went to my high school. I had no idea who he was so I asked him, "I'm sorry to ask, but can you help me remember how we know each other?"

I've had to ask several people this because my memories of high school are shoddy at best. There are some things that really really stick out and other things are pushed so far back in my head or lost forever.

He was very nice about reminding me of our connection. As I read his reply snippets came back to, little foggy memories, kind of like bad snapshots of who he possibly could be. Finally I remembered him. He was a year up on me. He was a techie in our school mash up production of "Our Town" and "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown!" I think I even sat with him and his girlfriend at prom.

(10th grade class picture, 1990, I'm dressing like the future Dana Scully. I thought I was so ivy league preppy in my blazer. yep. No fashion sense.)

I replied back to him profusely apologizing. He sent me this in return:
Hey Wendi, it's not problem. Like I said, it was a long time ago. I always really admired you though, I have to say. You were one of the few people at Enterprise High that was above all the B.S. plus you were an independent thinker and I always admired that about you.

I was above the BS? WOW! That's a shocker, I had no idea. Seriously, I'm totally not being sarcastic. I hated high school bull shit, the games, the politics. All I really wanted to do was hang out with my friends.

I knew I was an independent thinker but my thoughts usually came out of my mouth, and well, irritated and annoyed a lot of people, even some of my "friends." We were all trying to figure out who we were and how we fit into the high school community. Back then nobody wanted to be friends with the person who swam against the popular current even if it meant turning their backs on moral issues.

(Picture: 11th grade, it does not get better! what was i doing with my hair? At least I didn't have a gigantic poof on my forehead. But as Tyra Banks would say, I have a five finger forehead. And you can't see it, but there were neon green rubber bands around my bottom braces. Worst photo ever. I love that dress though and would wear it to this day if 1. I still had it and 2. it fit.)

This one time my group of friends that I hung with for three years (this was my junior year) hung me out to dry. One of our friends was constantly belittling his girlfriend, verbally abusing her right in front of us. Well, I had had enough and I let him have it. I looked at my friends and said, "Why aren't you all saying anything?! You know it's not right that he talks to her this way!" They just looked at me and shook their heads. My own group ostracized me.

I spent the next few weeks eating lunch alone because I couldn't bring myself to be around them. It was a lonely time.

So to get this message from this guy I barely remember means the world to me. Somebody out there, back then didn't think I was a social leper. It's nice to know. I would have liked to have known that then, but it still nice to hear now. I guess being a spitfire wasn't such a bad thing.


  1. That's awesome, that you find out years later that you did make an impression on someone during one of the hardest phases of social acclamation... That's a nice little pick-me-up, yah?

  2. Wow. I am impressed at your high school self. You were brave at a time when it's tough to be brave, especially as a teenager. I'm sure your friends are ashamed to this day for their actions. I hope they are. I would have wished you were my friend in high school.

    And what an amazing smile you have! No (apparent) self-consciousness at all about these photos! My own high school pictures are awful, if accurate; in fact, I skipped picture day after grade 10 because I couldn't bear to have a record of me.

  3. You guys are so awesome. It really was one of the nicest things I've heard in a long time.

    My mom is the one that taught me bravery. She's quite the mouthy one too. I used to refer to her as Julia Sugarbaker.

    D-M, I don't think it was so much bravery as just what I thought was the right thing to do. Like a lot of people I had been bullied horribly and I couldn't stand seeing someone else being bullied. I don't think the people I hung out with then even remember this, honestly.

    Thank you, though. I think it's funny - there were girls I wanted to look like because everybody told that's how it was supposed to be. But when I see their pictures now I just have to giggle. Sure they are pretty girls, but no prettier or less pretty than me. I just didn't dress like them or wear my hair like them. D-M, how do you feel about having your picture taken now?

  4. I still don't like having my picture taken. I'm just not photgenic. Or I'm too self-conscious around a camera. I tend to turn into a clown if someone insists on taking a photo. Or I throw on a costume. That way if it turns out goofy I can pretend I meant to do that. I have very few photos of myself that don't involve me wearing something insane or making a ridiculous face. This may be a problem if I ever end tragically and the newspapers want to run a story but only have ridiculous photos of me. Although, that might be terribly, terribly funny as well.

  5. Sir Grump's sister used to pose, I mean full out pose, for every single picture. Whether she was in her Navy uniform, a pageant dress, or shorts and a tank top on the beach - she treated every snapshot as if she were posing for a beauty pageant. I love that about her. It speaks to who she is, I think - out there, unafraid, and beautiful. So I started thinking about it that way too. When someone takes a picture be myself. And then I usually like the picture. I think it's a matter of embracing who you are, so if you put on a tutu for your next picture, love it and enjoy it. I think it would be a hoot for the obit when you're 98 and passed on to have a great picture of you having a swell time in a tutu.