It was bound to happen, but somehow I didn’t really see it coming. I was just carrying on, working, living, laughing, and then one day: BAM. A Facebook notification that included words like “invited to” and “20 year high school reunion.”
Wait, huh? Did my Facebook get hacked? Surely this can’t be directed at me. I’m not old enough for such nonsense.
Then I did the math. Oh. Um. Yeah. I guess it all adds up.
I wasn’t immediately certain I’d go. My perception was always that people go to those things to re-connect with old friends or to prove how awesome they’re doing now. The former isn’t much of an issue now in the social media age, and the latter really didn’t interest me. That might come as a surprise to some of you.
“But Jess!”, you might be thinking. “You’re always telling us how the teasing and taunting about your hair is what prompted you to start Jessicurl! Didn’t you want to go show them that you’re not Mushroom Head anymore?!”
I guess my answer is, not really. Yes, those experiences are a large part of the Jessicurl creation story, but it’s been 20 years. Isn’t it time to get over high school?
Ultimately the largest draw for going was that I’d get to spend time with my BFF Betsy. We don’t see each other nearly enough (she’s a big-time lawyer living in D.C.) and I’m not one for passing up the chance to spend time with my Sistah Friend. :)
I did not go into it thinking that the people who had been mean would still be mean. All teenagers can be little jerks, and everybody (EVERYBODY) is picked on to some extent about something. It’s just how it goes during adolescence. Thus, it was no surprise that everybody was super nice. I mean, like, genuinely nice. Interested in each other’s lives. Happy for the news of new babies and job promotions. And sure, yes, I got some compliments on my hair from people who didn’t know what I did for a living. That’s always nice of course. :)
I know that this shouldn’t really be an epiphany, but it dawned on me that back then, I spent WAY more mental energy on the “mean kids” than they did on me. (Like I said, no shock there.) While I was fighting with my hair every morning trying to make it take up less space on the planet, and worrying at night how to avoid being teased the next day, they were NOT sitting around thinking up new ways to torment me. They were all fighting their own adolescent battles and worrying about whatever it was about themselves that made them insecure.
Would that understanding have helped at all 20 years ago? Probably not. Teenagers can’t be convinced that the world doesn’t, in fact, revolve around them and I’d probably have been hard pressed to comprehend that making fun of my hair wasn’t the main objective of my peers.
In the end, I had a great time meeting my old classmates as the adults they’ve grown in to and seeing in person the old friends I usually only “see” on Facebook. I don’t have a lot of pictures, but here’s a good one of me and my old friend Brian. He said to tell you that’s what happens when you DON’T use Jessicurl. :) Ha. (And no, we didn’t plan to be so well color coordinated. :) )
For reference, he’s us with some of our buddies back in high school, when Brian still had hair and mine was… well… triangular. (Can you tell I used the round brush and hair dryer? Ugg. I can. No wonder they called me Mushroom Head. :) )
If you’re on the fence about going to any of your reunions, for whatever reason, I’d say just go. What’s the worst that could happen? You might just make some new friends.