Monday, September 21, 2015

after 20 years...

This past weekend, my high school classmates got together to celebrate 20 years since our high school graduation. They got together minus moi, because I was dealing with a raging debate in my head over said reunion. (This should be no new news to anybody who knows me; raging debates inside my own head  are a thing.) I remember my parents going to their 20th high school reunion (or at least talking about it. My parents were not known for their strong social skills or their expansive social life. And my mom always waved at the camera when someone was taking her picture. Awkward. If you are a camera-waver, stop.) and my mom being nervous. Also I remember them as being very old. I must have graduated from high school super early, because I do not feel old. Anyway. My mom was nervous because she didn't know what people would think about the self-described wallflower who married a railroad construction guy who never quite hit it big. Despite her great accomplishments--she had two beautiful girls (obviously), had strengthened her faith considerably, and had learned a lot about herself in that time, she was still concerned about one thing: what people would think about her glaring non-accomplishments: a lack of money, nice things, nice clothes, social skills (see above: camera waving), and career. And at 38, like me, she was starting to notice the little lines around her eyes and mouth. I know she was concerned about these things not because she explicitly told me but because she showed me. Those little actions, that body language that kids can so easily read when adults think they are absorbed in watching Saved by the Bell.  (Just one day as Kelly was my prayer as a 12YO. ONE DAY PLEASE GOD.)

On Saturday night, some friends came over to watch football, and during the idle chit-chat, I admitted that NO ONE ASKED THIS GIRL TO DANCE AT A SIXTH GRADE JUNIOR HIGH DANCE. Actually, it wasn't so much of an admission as it was I just blurted this fact out. I am not generally a blurter-outer of facts about my former self as I am a careful conversationalist. What I want you to know about me I tell you. What I don't, I don't say. I don't generally just go around blurting things out about myself. I don't even know where that came from.

So maybe it was the pink plastic-framed glasses. Or maybe it was that every single sixth-grader is awkward and shy about dancing in public. Whatever the reason, my sixth-grade self internalized the non-dancing as rejection, and I'm not quite sure my 38YO self has ever really gotten over it. There might be somewhere inside of this adult body a 12 year-old who, when she thinks about sixth-grade dances, still feels the sting of not being asked to dance.

Sixth grade!

Senior Year!

So I knew that at the September 2015 Reunion, all these years later, I might still feel the need to prove myself to the class of 1995. HA, class of 1995. SEE? I AM somebody you want to dance with. SO HA.

Hence the raging debate.

See, I've fought hard over the last couple of years to end the self-destruction that comes along with the insecurity of feeling like you have to prove yourself. I, like my own mother, have many great accomplishments, and they don't have anything to do with money, power, prestige, appearance or anything else that can be quickly assessed. They have to do with attitude and faith. And growth, maturity, finding my way in the dark, my family, my relationships. I've come a long way from where I started, and I'm proud of that. But I know me, and I knew that being faced with seeing people, some of whom I haven't seen in ten or twenty years, I'd drop what I've fought so hard for and go right back to my defaults. Call me juvenile, but I don't believe I'm the only one out there who tries hard to prove she is worthy of being asked to dance.

So I ultimately decided that I didn't want to worry about how I looked all day leading up to the event. I didn't want to stress about making clever conversation, or being anxious about looking out of shape. That is not the person I want to be, or the person that I want to show to the world. I have found my security, after searching for a long time, and I wish I could go back to that sixth-grade girl with the blue sweater and pink glasses, standing against the bleachers and watching other girls get picked to dance to Right Here Waiting For You and tell her that she is worthy, and no boy and no amount of money and no big ole house would ever change that.

I saw some of the pictures on FaceBook. It looked like my Class of '95 peoples were having a good time. (And all y'all looked beeee-u-ti-ful!) I'm not sure anybody missed my presence, but then again, does it really matter? I'm proud of who I am and where I've landed in life, and where I'm headed. I still get anxious about how I look and all that junk, but it's become less of an issue as I become more secure in who I am in Christ.

And maybe I'll see all y'all '95 grads in 2020.

Twenty years. Can you even believe it?

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