art · babies and pregnancy · hair · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · Los Angeles · pesach · rabbi · teaching · writing

High School Reunion

Well, I missed writing my daily blog post yesterday. My bad. Shabbos was a blur of reading People (thanks to my mother-in-law) and Entertainment Weekly. Kudos to Nicole Kidman’s gestating Aussie spawn and um, poor Britney needs more than Dr. Phil to help her out of this one.

Last night, we watched Paprika, an anime about…well, if I tried to explain it, I wouldn’t do it justice since I didn’t understand it myself. By the end of the psychedelic film, all I could think was “?.” I’m going to stick to Netflixing episodes of Smallville. As my friend agreed while we watched some episodes of the super soap opera last night, Superman is hot. ‘Nuff said.

Meanwhile, in other news, unlike many of my blogger friends, I don’t have half as interesting a life to discuss so I dusted off a book I have which helps with journal writing by providing a daily prompt. I figured I’d just open up to a page and see where it takes me.

“Do you think you’ll attend your high school reunion? Mabe you will think it will be fun to see how everyone’s doing; maybe you can’t stand the people at your high school and can’t wait to see the last of them; maybe you don’t know what you’ll feel in ten years. What do you think?”

It’s actually been ten years since I finished high school. Wow. There are rumors that there will be a 10th year reunion at my art high school but I’m paying them no mind. I don’t think I really want to be any closer to most of my high school friends than I already am on MySpace and Facebook. If I listen too closely, I hear some pretty painful stories about divorce and single parenthood or just plain growing up. And then there are some stories of homosexuality and some cute babies that have been born since then to people I still remember as 17-year-olds.

When I reconnected with some of my high school friends recently on MySpace and Facebook, I think I just confused the heck out of them. So much of my life seems surreal to me right now so I can’t imagine what it looks like for people that missed the 10 years that led up to who I am today.

For instance, here’s a couple of very important things that have changed in the last 10 years:

My hair:

From big “poof” as it was lovingly referred to in high school or “looks like pubic hair” by a guy who was trying to pick me up (I kid you not), my hair only makes appearances on special occasions for my husband and my closest friends. Years later my husband used to find me at synagogue by looking for my hair height in the crowd but at 17, any friend back in high school would probably have started to describe me by discussing the complexity, length and volume of my “poof.” Still, though the hair’s still in the picture, there have been some dramatic changes.

I have a year’s worth of hair now that makes for quite the Jew ‘fro since shaving it off from hair covering angst after getting married. Since my husband is obsessed with my curly locks, I have promised him not to shave it off again and am supposed to get around to deep conditioning it with ultra expensive, for curly-hair-only, conditioners. Sigh. Still, it’s about a foot shorter than it was in high school so instead of being weighed down, I really do look more like a cherub with a punky ‘fro more than the midget with a curl-halo that I once was.

My religion:

Oh, that’s been a big hit for people who can actually find me on MySpace. Um, you’re Jewish? Since when are you Jewish? Everyone thinks that’s a little odd but the killer is when I explain that I’m not just Jewish, I’m an Orthodox Jew. (“Did you shave your head? Do you have sex through a sheet?”) And my husband is going to be a rabbi. And I eat a diet of mostly potatoes over Pesach (Passover, to some of you).

Changing my religion has also meant changing the way I think. At 17, I wasn’t just well-known for the height of my hair, I was known for my hot pants and tight tees and wearing minis in below freezing weather. I thought then that dressing like that meant that I had high self-esteem (not that I needed attention). Now, my close friend (not Jewish) tells me that I REALLY look Jewish wearing my winter uniform: little beret, long skirt, boots and sweater.

But actually, two other areas of my life actually seem to interest my high school friends much more.

My name:

Right, I pulled a Muhammed Ali after converting. I changed my first name, middle name and last name. Then I got married and changed my last name again. It’s sort of like being in the witness protection program. Even my mother doesn’t know my name. And I so rarely hear my former name that it’s jolting when I do. “Who are they talking to?” Oh, right, that was me.

Part of the reason I changed my name was that changing my religion was like becoming a whole new person. Despite all the emotional baggage from my past life, I am not sure that my former self, much less my high school friends, would recognize me.

My husband:

Sigh, my single-white-female-esque friend who wanted to be my doppleganger, stole my crush and told people she was my sister in high school (and is now married to her cousin?) said this after seeing my husband’s photo:

“Oh, my, G-d. You married a WHITE boy. I knew you would marry a WHITE boy.”

Really? I sure didn’t know I would marry some blue-eyed, Jewish WHITE boy from Los Angeles. In fact, ten years ago, I’m pretty sure I was wrapped up in the arms of my very effeminate, gay and Indian ex-boyfriend smooching away in Barnes & Nobles. Poor guy. Poor me.

And then there’s my career?:

Okay, so seriously, though my husband still tells people that I’m a teacher, I’m actually retired. Probably for good. I work part-time and spend the rest of the day making sure our lives run smoothly. I’m not altogether good at this but since he loves me, he hasn’t fired me yet. Working part-time makes me feel like I’m in college and I should be deciding on a major.

Back in the day, I wanted to be a fashion illustrator and I was getting ulcers trying to decide whether or not to go to art school or major in English at a liberal arts university. I couldn’t really do both. Honestly, the liberal arts university won because major in English was just cheaper than majoring in Illustration.

So, instead of a fashion illustrator, most of my high school friends imagined me working at a top magazine. I eventually did land a cushy part-time job at CosmoGIRL! but it didn’t pan out the way I had planned. I realized that I wanted to write more than I wanted to edit things and that I didn’t really have much to say to teenage girls whose lives I couldn’t really understand.

And so then, I became a teacher. Being a teacher was an adrenaline rush like no other, I felt confident, I worked my ass off and I felt like I was giving back to teenagers that I really understood. Unfortunately, teaching is hell on the body and so in an attempt to keep hope alive, I’m now a university writing tutor. Less stress but I help some wayward writers learn how to express themselves and learn more about the way I write in the process.

So in the end…

It’s not that I can’t stand the people at my high school, in fact, even after having to get a restraining order against my first boyfriend, I still have pretty fond memories of those years. But I don’t really understand how who I was then and how who I am now makes any sense.

I don’t think my high school friends would recognize me under my long skirts and long-sleeved shirts since the last time most of them saw me, I was sporting heels and a miniskirt that I’d had since I was 8 (no, really!).

So, the only reason that I would go to my high school reunion is either to scare my former friends or to show off my hot husband. Are these really good enough reasons to put myself through such the emotional rollercoaster of reliving my tortured youth? Nah.

Well…I’ll ask the hot husband.

(Update: Hottie husband says, “Oh, hell no, I’m not going to no reunion.” Only said in less ghetto way. And apparently, there is a real reunion in June. Frightening.)

One thought on “High School Reunion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s