Why I Never Fit In during My High School Years

The other day, I had an epiphany. And it was a good one.

If you’ve ever second-guessed yourself, and tried to analyze yourself from an internet troll’s perspective, you might have some idea of the state of mind I was in when I thought about high school.

I’m in my late twenties at the moment, and I work as a high school teacher in a private school. I love my kids, and I love my school, and it’s a private school, so I am allowed to talk about God without worrying about getting fired. It’s pretty much an ideal situation for someone who wants to feel like they are making a difference in the world, one person at time.

But I hated high school, sort of, mostly, when I was a student.

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I thought this was weird until I looked in the mirror and I saw myself.

I have to say, overall, I haven’t changed that much in terms of looks since high school (still, only 8 years later, so that’s a good sign I guess). I remember I went to visit my high school teacher once, a couple of years ago, and I got asked if I had a hall pass when I went to go see her. Hilarious.

But despite the bigger black circles under my eyes, my face is all there. My body’s different – two kids will do that to you – but overall I haven’t changed much. I still don’t like make up, and I like my hair long, and I like to put in braids and tie back my hair in buns and ponytails, and if I can score a shirt that is classy and sporty at the same time, it still makes me happy. I wear dress shoes instead of sneakers, but that’s really all that’s changed (I even have a pair of sweatpants which look like dress pants.)

True, I have changed a bit in terms of thinking – coffee finally won out, naps are in fashion, and I have political talking points, and I realize how much time can change a person’s perspective. But I have not changed my thinking on a lot of things – how morality and authenticity matters, no matter who you are or what your position is, how gratitude is a sign you’ll never see in a bitter person, and how there is a definite right and wrong and if there is any gray in between, it is either of the most supreme importance or of no importance at all, and either way, it is just one part of a very, very, very long story.

So here is my epiphany:

Most of who I am now, I wanted to be in high school.

I was not happy being the student; I am happier as the teacher. I am happier with living and planning out my own life, not needing to consult my parents (although you do have to check in with your spouse when you’re married), than I was dreaming about planning out and living my own life.

In some ways, our culture seems to want to promote the ongoing-adolescence period. I think this is harmful, but there’ll be more on that in another rant-post, I am sure. Here is the catch I want you, especially if you are suffering in some form or another like I had, to take away:

To be the person I am now, I had to go through all that. Waiting and education and training and dealing with people, especially stupid, mean, power-hungry-pathetic people, being inconvenienced for people you love, making choices, sticking out hard commitments, learning to drop needless or harmful promises, and finally figuring out where to shop – I had to go through that.

I do not believe in meaningless suffering. And I pray you don’t, either.

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