High School.

Honestly?

So this morning, I woke up and turned on the television. It was already tuned to the Lifetime Movie Network. I can’t, for the life of me, remember what I was watching last night before turning the TV off. I hardly ever watch LMN. Why? Well I hate the cliched and tired stories of the woman spurned or crazy chick who goes off and ethers everyone around her. Spare me. Something GOOD must have been on last night.

Anyhow, Death of A Cheerleader was on.

Death of a Cheerleader

Typical LMN drama starring Tori Spelling (hopelessly unattractive and unbelievable as a high school student) and Kellie Martin (LMN regular). The story is about a plain jane nerdy chick at a new school who is trying to fit into the cool crowd, which happens to be a bunch of blonde “mean girls” who get off and making everyone else feel like shit. When the queen bee (Spelling) dismisses her ass, plain jane goes wild and stabs her in the back… literally. All because she felt her life would be over if she wasn’t accepted into the crowd. All because she was afraid of being the outcast at school.

I thought to myself, why the hell does she even care so much? Tori Spelling’s character was a stone cold asswipe AND ugly, to boot! Like, why do they make high school seem SO terrible on television? For a minute I thought this must be one of those white people things that I just don’t understand (like clapping on the 1 and 3 instead of the 2 and 4). But I reeled myself in and figured it had to be more than that. What? I don’t really know.

See, when I went to high school, everything was fine. I honestly don’t believe that we had those kinds of divisions you read about in teen novels and see on Degrassi High. The lunchroom wasn’t divided between the cool kids, the jocks, the geeks, etc. Hell, I never heard anyone use the word “jock” in high school unless it was in the “Get off my jock!/Why you jockin’ my style” context. To be fair, yes there were those who were clearly more well-known than others and decidedly more popular. That popularity, though, didn’t hinge on declaring and isolating your polar opposite: the nerd.

I was both, I think. Both a nerd and popular. When I got to high school, it was already firmly established that I was a smart kid. In elementary school, I had been in “gifted” programs and cleaned up when it came to awards season. I wrote and produced a play in the 4th grade. I was invited to represent my school on a radio show. I got invited to the principal’s office for treats while other students stood in the back holding books on their outstretched arms. Not bragging, it’s just a fact. In middle school, I was placed in honors classes and was able to start taking certain classes earlier than other students (I was a year ahead of most of my peers in foreign languages). There’s more, but I just realized that I’m supposed to be writing about high school, not about my academic achievements through the years. I’ll save that for another time.

My point is, I was in high school with many of the same people who knew me in elementary and middle school. They already knew I was nice with the books. If life were a television drama, I’d probably be outcast. I was in the band for goodness sake! I was in drama club! Oh, and I certainly wasn’t rich. Usually, poor band/drama geeks are the bottom of the bottom in high school (says TV). Not me, though.

I had a bunch of friends in different circles which overlapped pretty often. I had my friends who were in a lot of the honors classes with me. They were in band and they were in drama club. I had my friends who were from the neighborhood, who were NEVER in any of those classes with me, but who were my best friends nonetheless.

I was also captain of the cheerleading squad, on student government, played two varsity sports, co-coordinated our school’s step team, and took second place in the talent show sophomore year (we were robbed!). I think, according to TV, those are cool people things to do.

I don’t remember people being mercilously teased in high school. I don’t remember people being told they weren’t cool enough to sit here or there. I don’t remember anyone trying to murder the cheerleading captain (I’m here ain’t I?). Then again, maybe I don’t remember all of this because I was above it all and not subject to that kind of ridicule. However, I know that I didn’t inflict that pain on anyone.

Folks on television always talk about how high school was horrible and they never want to go back. It’s like (and sorry I have to go back here, but they’re the main culprits) white people see high school as an inevitable gauntlet they must suffer through. I loved high school. Next year will be 10 years since I graduated. I’m supposed to help plan the reunion. Might be difficult as I try to prepare for the Bar exam, but I’m kind of excited.

High school was a time when I laughed so much. I did everything I wanted to do. I participated in so many things and did extremely well in school. I also did a TON of dirt, which went undetected. I mean, you know it’s the so-called goody two shoes smarty pants students who get in the most trouble on the low. We’re just smart enough to get away with it.

I went through a bunch of fashion mishaps, got in a couple fights, took the train to NYC, had a cute boyfriend, went to both proms, sang in the stairwells, and was voted Most Likely to Succeed. And, like anyone else, I struggled with my identify, my looks and my relationships. (you should see some of the lame ass entries from the journal I kept in HS. I think I’ll post some entries one day if I don’t die of the embarrasment). Not once, however, did I think about killing myself or the cheerleader.

Was high school a good or bad experience for you?

Captains!

A crappy pic of good times.

4 Comments

Filed under Routine Ramblings

4 responses to “High School.

  1. High school pretty much sucked for me.
    Dealing with depression, low-self esteem, appearance issues, small crew and odd interests… pretty much led me to not hope to achieve much at that time.

    Those were mostly things I could have changed while there, but what’s done is done and the experience has shaped me, for better or worse.

    I might do a series of entries on it if I feel like digging up them bones.

  2. shelly

    maybe you were watching “golden girls” before you went to bed. that’s always a good reason to watch lifetime.

  3. ndenise

    True. What’s a night without tales from St. Olaf to lull you to sleep?

  4. kamakula

    My high school experience was much like yours. To some degree, middle school had specific cliques whose purpose in life seemed to be to attempt to make mine miserable. Sometimes they succeeded. There was definitely a “popular” crowd there they way TV seems to define it though by the time I got to HS, I realized it was mostly a self-defined thing. They decided who was “popular” and I went along with it. In HS, I decided that I made the rules on who were important and while there were definitely some cliques there, I never had a time when I actually hated anyone.

    In fact, I think by not belonging to any particular group, it was easier for people to accept me for who I was and be friends. I think one thing that really happened, at least at my HS, is that even if we were not necessarily good friends with everyone, we all respected each other. We definitely had a lot of pride as a class.

    I’m mad that I immediately got the St. Olaf reference though. . .

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