My High School reunion is RIGHT around the corner (August 12-14 to be precise). There is stigma from High School– how your awkward manifested, relationships, the past, our hormonal education and growth journey, and how that experience shaped you to become who you are in this moment. Maybe you were type casted, had an awesome experience, you were someone who could not wait to get the hell out of dodge, or it inspired you to do different and become who you are.

In our teens, our hormones are raging, we are learning how to not only mentally grow, but also emotionally handle these hormonal impulses, the feelings, the social norms and miniature social pressures placed on us, especially all under the influence of our relationships. High School relationships: friends, family, peers, significant others, sexual encounters, and yes, the clubs and clicks of the social or the work environment. The journey of our inner power and the relationship of where this places us on the High School “food chain” is an interesting determinant of the series of events that unfold in the next 10 years and the journey thereafter: What will limit you and what will set you free.

I have a friend who graduated the same year from Rockbridge. We have been close since youth group. Adamantly, she is firm that she will not be going to her reunion, whereas I am genuinely not only enthusiastic to see others, but truly just happy to put on my adult attire and have an enjoyable night out in a hot dress with high heels (may I add all you can drink and eat). I probed her for reasons around why she does not want to go, and like many I presume, there is pain centered on what “was” in High School, or the relationship journeys that occurred “after”. When I say pain, it was the kind of pain like rumors, adolescent cruelty, being a cast out, letting yourself react to others reactions about you, not fitting in, and all that awkward bull shit that causes you to be trapped, or grow the hell up, developing behaviors we hold as our justification patterns as adults. “The people I am close with I see, why do I need to see the people at the reunion?” A valid point, but one I feel is true and false in a sense.

Exploring this phenomenon in movies from our culture, I share my top 3 movies I relate to for what WAS, IS, and can come to PASS:

#1: Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997): Not a great movie, but it’s impossible not to enjoy the performances of Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino, playing two remarkably unsuccessful friends who decide to outrageously lie to former classmates at their high-school reunion. “Uh, I invented Post-Its.”

I relate to the friendship that Romy and Michelle have and the desire to see everyone from high school, showing the journey they have come through. My favorite character was always Lisa, the representative from Vogue that gives Romy and Michelle their big break. Total laugh out loud movie.

#2: Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008): Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks play long-time platonic friends who become depressed about their lives after attending a high-school reunion. The solution to their money woes? Make a XXX-rated movie. Director Kevin Smith performs his usual magic of mixing crudeness and sweetness.

Though I do not live with a friend from high school, and have not made any film debuts such as Zach and Miri, I laugh out loud to this movie, as the 10 year reunion is exactly where I am headed. They are at the end of the road, last resorts, and they have to come up with an idea to turn it around. The reunion scene alone when she discovers her crush was not what she thought all along is what always leaves my jaw on the ground.

#3: Peggy Sue Got Married (1986): Kathleen Turner gives a strong performance as a woman who passes out at her 25-year high-school reunion and actually wakes up back in high school. Francis Ford Coppola directed this amusing look at the unexpected, disturbing and rewarding paths our lives take.

What do you think about Nick Cage? Did you check out his hair?!? Wowsers! Though I am not in my 25 years post High School, I do know class mates who are getting divorced, and it is weird to look at this movie as an evolution, “what would you do different piece”. Just so we are clear: I would do it all the same again, every little bit.

People evolve or remain the same as the process of the journey unfolds. Some of our class mates are parents, have amazing careers, have had dreams realized and are on to the next biggest thing, or are still trying to figure it all out, making sense from what was/is/will be, have lost and learned, have passed away, have traveled far away, and are for the most part not the “same” as they were in High School attributed to looking, feeling, behaving, thinking, or being different.

My father went to Hickman, and has some of his closest relationships with people from his class reunions. Some of these friends are life long, high school to current, where as the majority are friends that when he was in school he did not know – Hickman was huge in the 70’s; it was even bigger when I graduated. I have great role models that are close with my father who have married High School sweethearts, married those from the reunions, divorced those from the reunions, continue to grow in relationships with those from the reunion through trips, dinners, and support one another for better or for worse, usually with a side of drama. These reunion friends of my fathers are like a second family to me, an extension of parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, sisters and brothers that in a crunch, I know have my back. I look forward to growing in this reunion journey of my own out of my own class now, no expectations, just excited to be going.

PS…if you graduated with me and you are reading…buy your tickets here.

If my post has struck a nerve with you – fears of High School past, reunion taboo, or why you would or would not go to your High School reunion, please share in the comment box below!

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