High school reunion!!! Everyone loves it, right? Not really. The movies about mean girls and school clique hierarchy might be exaggerated but it does exist. I should know, I was at the bottom rung of the ladder for many years in school. Or at least I felt like I was.
Most of us catholic school girls grow up together from Kindergarten to High School. I wore a brown sack uniform and was trapped in gray institutional buildings run by nuns for 12 years. My memory of school is hazy but it was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually tough!
The miserable formula of bullying results in feelings of shame and embarrassment. I didn’t tell my family what was going on. I believed that I deserved what I was getting, and if my peers thought I was worthless, then I must be. This went on for several years in grade school but things started to look up in high school when I found a great group of girls to have lunch with and who have become my life long friends to this day.
Does bullying affect one’s adult life? I think it does. I was socially confused, angry, and even became a bully in college and at work. I thought it was how things were done, be a bully or be bullied. It took years for me to heal, forgive, and realize that I can move on from the past. I actually began to like myself more when I decided that bullying was not going to define my life anymore.
Now the reunion. 20 years! Should I go? Why not? My friends will be there. Also, I was curious and wanted to reconnect with my classmates. I missed out on a lot of friendships and I wanted to make up for lost time. Was I anxious? Yes. My fears and insecurities love to nag A LOT. However, my life has been one social experiment after another, and I’ve learned enough to know that if someone in the reunion was mean to me, that’s just life. There are mean people in the world and that has nothing to do with who I am as a person.
So what happened during the reunion? I lived it up and partied in Las Vegas for three days with my lifelong friends and created new friendships with my classmates who are all amazingly nice people. The experience was surreal. Seriously. I was hearing comments like: “Let’s all sit together, no cliques.”, “If someone makes snide comments about you but everyone else likes you then that person has a problem.” And the best one yet? Self-identified mean girls called themselves “Bullies No More”
My decision to attend our school reunion with an open heart and mind – and also to put my fears and insecurities aside – resulted in one of the best life experiences I have had. Sometimes I think, when we accept things we can’t change and forgive ourselves and our aggressors, life apologizes for throwing lemons at us and hands us a large pitcher of sweet lemonade instead.
To my classmates, I can’t wait to see you all again. I am so proud of us, we have all grown from wearing little brown uniforms to heels and dresses. We have become beautiful wonderful women who have taken to heart our school motto: Truth In Love.