Sunday, December 26, 2004

Goody Two Shoes

At age 26, I can finally admit to myself that my high school days were spent discovering my inner nerd. I can look back and smile at memories from that part of my life. I can also see how much of a nerd I truly was.

Last June, a girl that I work with brought in her yearbook. She was just about to graduate and she was excited to be getting out into the world. I was flipping through the pages of her book and saw a guy posed for his senior picture. He had a lizard on his shoulder. My first thought was "OMG, this poor guy! He’s going to be remembered for all time as the guy who really liked lizards." I may have been a dork in high school, but no where in my senior yearbook is a picture of me with a lizard.

In high school, I lettered nine times. That’s cool, right? Hardly. I was intelligent enough to never purchase a letter jacket. I’m so thankful I never did that. I would have been laughed out of the school. My awards were for bowling, academics, and choir. I was a hip girl. Yeah, right.
DM saw my senior pictures, the ones that don’t end up in the yearbook, and had a great laugh. To start, I didn’t realize that the place taking my picture would have my feet in any of the shots. I dressed up for the pictures. I wore a nice sweater for a few poses and I had two different blazers for the other poses. The poor choice in clothing came from my decision to wear the most beat-up pair of white Nikes I had ever owned. The shoes stuck out like a sore thumb and I thought my mom was going to kill me when she saw the proofs.

The shoes are bad, but the fact that I had convinced myself glasses were the look for me didn’t help my cool factor any. I wore a pair of glasses for my junior and senior years of high school. They were round, John Lennon style, except they weren’t small like the John Lennon style. They took up my whole face and made my nose (which I hate) appear even larger. Did I need glasses? No. That’s the whole thing. I don’t actually need prescription lenses to see. I have 20/20 vision in one eye and 20/25 vision in the other. At least I did back then. I don’t know what it is anymore. So I didn’t NEED glasses, yet I chose to wear them to make myself "cool".

The final candle on the cake of Beth’s nerdy senior pictures was the fact I decided a prop should be used for a couple of the poses. Now, I’ve seen some senior pictures that benefited from the use of another object. It can be fun and helps present an idea of what that person was known for in their school. I have a couple of old pictures of friends and I was looking through them to find which props they used. One of my friends used textbooks (she went to post-secondary school during high school) in one picture. In another picture, she posed with her car. That would have been rather cool if she had a cool car. Unfortunately, her car was not all that great. Another friend posed with her flute. Yet another friend posed with the high school play t-shirts and sweatshirts for each of the shows she had worked on.

What did I use as a prop? I was known for academics, choir, and bowling. I posed for pictures with my bowling ball.

Are you done laughing yet? I am so embarrassed to look at these pictures today. They are pretty decent proof though as to whom I was in high school. I have changed significantly since that time and it is for the better. I hope at least. I don’t wear tennis shoes anymore. I don’t wear glasses anymore. I still enjoy bowling, but I don’t even belong to a league anymore. In fact, I haven’t been bowling in almost a year. I think it had been two years prior to that one night that I even walked into a bowling alley.

A couple of years ago, I went to my five-year high school reunion. I did not actually want to go, however my best friend from high school wanted to go and I said I’d go with her. She brought her fiancĂ©e. I brought Adam. I brought a gay man to my high school reunion. I don’t care in the least what any of my former classmates thought of it. He was my roommate and fun to hang out with. I spent much of the time of that reunion hanging back, avoiding the people I was supposed to be talking with about our lives. The looks of surprise on a few people’s faces when I opted for an alcoholic beverage were amusing.

The thing is, I wasn’t really that much of a nerd in high school. I had an image in the school that didn’t make it far outside of the building. I got along with the people from my school just fine, but my free time was spent with people I knew from outside the high school. Many of my friends went to different local high schools. I hung out with a crowd from the bowling alley. I know bowling sounds like a lame, safe sport, but the people who were in my leagues did not fit stereotypes. There were parties in high school that I still wouldn’t share with my mother. Most evenings were innocent enough, but they were fun. I didn’t hang out with people who did math for fun. The group I associated with had one philosophy in life. It was to laugh and have fun. That’s what we did.

Going to my reunion showed me what others had thought of me. What I realized after seeing their opinions of me was that I hid part of myself from them. I didn’t know why I did when I was in the school, but I was glad I did. I never had a need for the girl who treated my friends like they were losers to know that I enjoyed parties or hanging out like she did. I never needed the jock to know that I stayed out late on Friday nights like he did. I didn’t care what these people thought of me. I know I just stereotyped a few people and I still don’t care. They stereotyped me and automatically assumed I didn’t know how to have a good time, just because I was on the honor roll. When I look back on my high school years, I don’t think of the people I walked down the aisle with to get our diplomas. I think of the group of friends I had from the bowling alley and I smile. A few of these went to my school and we had our own inside jokes. None of the other got the jokes and that made us feel special.

I can look back now at the pictures of my youth and laugh. I can see what image I gave to others. And you know what, I’m glad I had my pictures taken with a bowling ball. It reminds me of happy days.

Pictures of myself in high school to be posted soon (well, as soon as I get around to scanning them).


At 8:56 AM, CarpeDM thought...

You do realize that Goody Two Shoes is going to be stuck in my head for the entire day now, right?

This was a good post. I enjoyed reading it.

I completely get what you mean about people taking one aspect of your personality and that being the only image they have of you. I was on the yearbook and newspaper committee, not quite cool but I knew who everyone in the school was.

I don't think I would change any of that.

At 10:54 AM, Firebear thought...

There is a photo of me in my high school year book wearing a tri-cornered, Paul Revere type, hat.
I also had a leather cowboy hat and a baseball hat with flaps to cover my neck in the back.