Thursday, June 7, 2012

What Can I Say About High School?

     High School.  I think if everyone was honest about it they would admit that high school is four of the toughest years of your life.  Reasons may vary greatly for different people.  It may be shyness, or a difficult time figuring out where you fit in.  Maybe it's  peer pressure or grades.  Whatever the individual struggle I think we would all have to say it was a combination of both good and bad experiences, running the spectrum from one extreme to the other.  If you were lucky, your good experiences far out-weighed your bad.  No matter which  it was, the combination ultimately made you the person you became as an adult.

     I would love to say that my high school experience was wonderful, but if I did I would be lying.  Oh, there were highlights.  I would never say it was all bad because there were some great times.  My freshman year was amazing!  I was cheerleader, ran with some great friends and got along with everyone.  It was like the ultimate high school experience should be.  I was on top of the world.  Then came my sophomore year and the bottom dropped out of my world. 

     I attended a very small school, only 26 people in my class.  Because we grew up in such a small town we knew everyone and always felt like everyone was the same.  We didn't actually have exclusive groups of popular kids; we were all just kids.  That being said, anytime you have that many kids together, some are going to be more influential than others.  That was never me.

     These are memories that have affected my entire life and is something I rarely tell anyone because it is too painful.  Without going into a lot of detail, I think that it is time to quit holding it all inside.  Maybe if I do open up I will finally find some peace from the nightmares that still haunt me.   Most people, if they knew the whole story, would probably tell me that we were just kids and to get over it.  Believe me, I have tried.

     I have always been a very sensitive person and a people pleaser.   At the age of 15 and 16, I wanted nothing more (other than a drivers license) than for everyone to like me.  I take rejection very personally and very hard.  There were 3 major traumatic events that happened that year.
     1.  My very best friend quit school, got married and moved out of town.
     2.  My cousin, who was also like a best friend, also quit school and got married.
     3.  Another close friend, whom I would never have intentionally hurt her feelings, apparently
          misunderstood something I said (and to this day I still don't know for sure what really
          happened) and she got mad at me.   Please know that what you are about to read is
          only a hint of how I was treated.   For personal reasons and for the sake of not making
          you read an entire book I will spare you the painful details.

     I'm sure you are thinking this doesn't sound like the end of the world to you.   Let me assure you this was no normal bickering between girlfriends. First, because of the 2 weddings I had lost the 2 girls I had always spent the most time with, even though I was still friends with the girls in my class (we only had 26 people in our class so there weren't that many girls).  Second, this misunderstanding got way out of hand and became some well planned scheme to black-ball Karen.  I had no warning, there was no argument, I was totally blindsided.  My friend got some older girls into it and I spent my entire sophomore year pretty much alone because it got so bad nearly no one at school spoke to me with the exception of just a handful of people.  I still don't know what was said about me that turned so many people that had been good friends into people who whispered behind my back when I walked down the hall, laughing and calling me names.  It got so bad that I finally walked off school grounds and ran home crying in the middle of the day, planning to never return.  I went so far as to enroll in another school, and moving in with out of town relatives.  The principal talked me into coming back.  I had a job at the local restaurant and worked as many hours after school and weekends to keep myself busy.  Just so you know that even the year from Hell wasn't all bad, I did have some guy friends from other area schools that I dated some that year.  Plus, I got my drivers license (of course, if you have been reading my blog for a while you know what a nightmare that was)!  Needless to say, I was never cheerleader again.

     By my junior year, my friend was over it and wanted us to be friends again.  I let it drop because I was so lonely and anxious to have friends again, but it was never the same.  We  ran around some, but were never the close, best friends like before.  She and another good friend had gotten really close and they spent more time together.  For the remainder of high school I felt like an outsider, always working as many hours as possible at my job.  Also that year, one of my closest friends was killed in Vietnam.

     By the time I got through senior year, I still spent most of my time outside of school working.  Another friend had gotten married and the other one had a steady boyfriend.   I dated on and off over the years but never anything  serious.  In spite of feeling like a complete outsider I still managed to graduate Valedictorian.   I couldn't wait to get out of town, which I did, moving to Kentucky the very next day after graduation.

     Before finishing up, let me assure you there were some wonderful, nice people that I went to school with.  A few of them I have been able to reconnect with through facebook and I love them.  Some that were involved in the year from hell, I repeatedly apologized to for anything I might have said to upset them.  I thought I had fully forgiven them for their retaliation, never dreaming it would still haunt me 40 some years later. 

      I do think I have finally figured out why I haven't been able to forget it; why it has affected me all these years.  Because of events that happened my sophomore year, I have lived 43 years with an inferiority complex.  I am still trying to please everyone, wanting to be liked, wanting their approval, but never feeling that I am worthy.  After that year I built a wall around my heart and was always afraid to let anyone get too close to it; afraid to open the door and let anyone through for fear I would get hurt again.  When I met Kenneth, he was the first person I didn't try to keep at arms length.  But even after him, when it came to making friends, I still tried not to get too attached in case they changed their mind and didn't want to be my friend.  It is why I am still somewhat of a loner.

     For years I didn't even want to go back to Milltown for anything, and didn't much.  Over the years, the pain has softened and I do remember the good times more often and have again found a soft spot in my heart for my hometown and the fun of growing up there.

     I apologize for the length of this post (blame Beth and Jo).  Thank you if you have hung in there and are still reading.  I have kept this bottled up inside for so long, but think I needed to let it out.  Cleansing of the soul, as they say.

Until next time...that's my view.
Kat









    

26 comments:

  1. My first words have to be, NOT WORTHY? You are so worthy and such a treasure to me. I am in continuous amazement at your strength, your support and your heart. I can imagine how difficult this was to write. I should say that I'm sorry I asked such a thing, but I'm just not because it may have helped cleanse your mind and it gives me a chance to say that I am on the Kat bandwagon full force and if you wanna dump me, well, good luck, I have stalker tendencies!
    Besides being a phenom writer, you are a very special person in my writing world. We are friends because I like who you are and what you have brought to my life. We are friends because we share mutual love of a lot of things. We are friends because you like me, too.
    Thanks you for sharing your history and now my blessed friend, please put it away in a big ole box, never to be opened again. It has nothing to do with who you are now. Open that heart and give that friendship to everyone who deserves it. It's a gift.
    I love you, Kat...today and always. ♥

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    1. Dearest Jo, I don't cry very easy, it takes a lot even though I wear my feelings on my sleeve (something about dry eye syndrome), but your comment made me cry...happy tears of joy. I love you too and always will. I feel we have become great friends even if it is through the computer. Luckily, I have found a few friends the last few years that I have been able to get close to; and now I have some great internet friends that I love just as much. Thank you for your kind words and your constant support. You mean the world to me and I think someday you and I will meet face to face. I would love that!

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  2. Kat, Thanks for sharing these words. I think your experience in high school is probably more typical than not, but no one really opens up and talks about them. And you are right, there are long-lasting effects.
    Thanks for having the courage to speak up about your experiences. I am sure many people can identify with you. I can.
    But Jo is right. You are a good writer, a good blogger, and a good person, and what happened years ago doesn't define you now. Keep on writing. You have lots of important things to say, and I (and so many others) will be reading them! Internet friends are the best!

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    1. Thank you so much Janice. I really appreciate your kind words and yes, I am finding that many people have bad high school memories. Thank you for your support. Internet friends are the best and I love mine!

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  3. I have bared my soul before in my blog, and you know what I felt a lot better afterwards. There is nothing more cleansing for the soul. High school is such a small space of your life, still you and I both cared what these snot nose kids said about us and let it shape our thinking all these years thinking there was something wrong with us. KAT the problem isn't with you. The problem is with them. You are a wonderful writer, a kind generous woman and worthy of the best life can offer you. You didn't deserve to be treated that way and you probably did absolutely nothing to bring it on. Some people get their jollies making good people miserable. In the end karma does bite them in the butt. It may take a while, but what goes around comes around. I have come to love you also and have the greatest respect for you. I love reading what you write, and I think it was good for what ails you to get this off your chest once and for all. High school was only 4 years of a person's life. Just a drop in the bucket. It just doesn't make sense to let whatever happens in that time period to define you. Be free of it, and happy. Feel blessed and leave it in the past knowing there are a lot of folks, me included that think you are pretty wonderful just the way you are. Brilliant blog filled with plenty of blood, sweat, and tears. Bless your heart. ♥
    (HUGS)

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

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    1. Aaww Kathy, just like Jo, you made me cry. Yes, you have bared your soul and I always admire you for being able to do it. I have done it with some things but this one was just too painful until now. Thank you. You, unknowingly, helped give me the courage to write it. Thank you for all your constant support. I love you and your blog and am thankful for both. Thanks for everything.

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  4. I think everyone remembers the awful moments when friends turn on us, people treat us cruelly, and our lives are turned upside down because of someone else's mistreatment of us. Unfortunately when we're kids those slights and insults are so much more painful. I'm convinced that living in such a small town was the crux of your problem - you literally had no place to go!

    Thanks for sharing your story. You are very brave.

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    1. Thank you Sharon. Yes, I think you are right. Conflict can really be tough in such a small town.

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  5. Is it something about being a loner and friendless in high school that makes people turn to writing? I've been reading all the posts on high school and this is a common feature, all of us felt acutely that we were friendless for varying reasons.

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    1. I think you may be right Ritu. Maybe we write because it is our escape from the real world.

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  6. wow Kate that is sad that you had a such a rough time and also sad that you kept it in for such a long time. My years were ok I wont say it was the best but not that I didnt enjoy. I have a lot of friends but not anyone very close enough to call this is my best friend either. I think I am closest to my sister and brother in law. I feel very comfortable with them. As you say so many things happen during high school that sometimes friendships are not the same.
    www.thoughtsofpaps.com

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    1. Thank you Paps. I'm sure most people have things in high school they would just as soon forget. Luckily, I can now say I have some wonderful friends and life is good.

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  7. Kat,sorry you had a tough time.By not revealing the details,your hurt is all the more exposed.Hope you are feeling a little better now, as this is off your chest...

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    1. Thank you Laila. Yes, maybe now I can put it behind me where it belongs.

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  8. Kat, I'm not sure where to begin. You are such a gentle, decent person. You exude kindness and I've seen you step forward to offer an ear and a shoulder more times than I can count. When one of us expresses pain, you bring warm, soothing words. When we share a happy moment or success, you stand to cheer.

    I hate that those girls took something from you that hurt you not only then, but for so many years after. When I see you, I see beauty and grace. I see a wonderful example of what is to be a friend, to be a good human being. I see someone I wished lived right next door.

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    1. Beth, you are always so good to me. You are the one who always has the right words to say and always make me feel better. Thank you for your love and support, and just for being you. I wish you lived right next door too. We would be such good neighbors! XOXO

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  9. I'm glad you were able to get this out in the open, deal with it in a way that suited you. I don't have any wise words, although I do wonder if never knowing why has been more of a reason for not letting go than anything else, but I will cheer for you. You made it out, you made it through and you found your happiness. Go you! *hug*

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    1. Thank you Mojo. It's great blogging friends that gives me the strength and courage to write about things I normally would never talk about. Thank you.

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  10. It is funny how the wounds of that age stay with us for so long. I'm so sorry you were hurt. I wrote a similar post about my 20th year reunion

    (this is intended to relate to you, not as a shameless plug):

    http://webandofmothers.blogspot.com/2011/06/20th-high-school-reunion-pass.html

    I am glad you wrote this, I think it helps us understand ourselves better and start to heal.

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    1. Thank you so much Marianne. I read your post and I am sorry you had the same kind of experience. I think your life has turned out great and I'm sure Herodius is paying for the way she treated you. Now we can both move on.

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  11. ...wow...tearing up here...and yup..my personal prayers are answered..YES MAM your healing has BEGUN!! yup..as hurtful and maybe trite and this may read to some..but see i do know better..hehe...and yup..i am so so so excited for you...for the real you..is FREE yup!! ((hugs)) whew.. LOL

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    1. Thank you so much Brenda. It is the strength and support I get from wonderful people like you that sets me free. XOXO

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  12. Nice write, Kat. I hope it's helped to lighten your heart. Keep purging, it will soothe the soul. <3

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    1. Thanks Daphne. It is true. Writing truly is a soothing experience. Thanks for your support. XOXO

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  13. Pain is pain and I'm glad you got were able to talk about it on your blog this week. Such a tender age to be affected by people around us.

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    1. That is so true Linda. Pain is pain at any age.

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