Thursday, February 01, 2007

February 03, 2004

Where I'm coming from...

So wow, when I sat down to write this post up I had some hopes and plans for it. That of course means that the final result is nothing at all like I had planned. It's more of a personal rant that for some reason or another my head forced me to put down into type. This is definitely going to have to go under personal. Read at your own risk, most of this turned into a rambling free write session where I just didn't want to have my fingers stop typing letters out.

I was doing some book shelf maintenance earlier when I came across two pieces of rough amongst the diamonds. Mixed in the shelf stuffed somewhere between my portfolio and Mark Minasi's "Mastering Windows NT Server 4 (Seventh Edition)" were my middle school and high school year books. Well of course I had to drop everything, pull them out and do the memory thing.

I focused mainly on the middle school book (years '93-'94) mainly because back in July when I was visiting friends in Michigan me and my friends wife were going through the high school edition (we all went to the same school but I was one year under them.. only by months).

It is weird how just the smallest pictures and things can bring back memories isn't it? Just looking at the pictures I have this incredible vivid memory of those years as if they were more recent than my college adventures. Unfortunately I also realize when I remember these things that somehow time has even in my own mind sugar coated a lot of things. Middle school and especially the little time I spent in high school were not the happy times the memories I have portray them as. Perhaps I should enjoy the fact that my mind prefers to let the good things roll easy and it requires me to actively think to remember the bad times?

So I was remembering quite a few things, and the first thing that I realized when going through the lists of people that I knew and I was friends with was that about 90% of the people I chose to consider friends ended up being girls. I have no idea how it worked out that way, and I certainly had a group of friends that included guys but for the most part I was talking to girls all the time. Now this sounds GREAT..... in theory. The fact is, once you are in "friend" mode, you are a friend and usually not much more. We talked about this in Michigan to great lengths, the overall theory was that I got along more with the girls my age because I was not as wild and crazy as was generally the case for male adolescents. My theory was I was just boring unimaginative and uninterested in the havoc. I still prefer my story to the theory they floated about it being something of a maturity thing and me skipping over my teenage years and acting far too adult far too early. I don't think I act like an adult even now. So anyway, I've never been the kind of guy that just goes out for a night with "the boys" even back when I was young the craziness that is expected and the outgoingness that the guys I had as friends possessed I just couldn't muster up. As I've said before, I am always he quiet one.

After I thought about my friends that I talked to on intelligent levels, I decided to go over the entire class lists and do a little personal reminiscing on some of the people who weren't close friends but who I was friendly with. Wow, for an unpopular person I did know a lot of people. I realized looking through a lot of this that in life I am usually a background character. I don't get the bulk of the screen time, I don't usually get the girl (talk about unfair huh?), I don't make big gigantic waves, but I usually get a decent response when I'm around and talking and five minutes after I'm gone you forget about me until I show back up in the third act. I can guarantee that when I look through these books and I recognize people, and I have specific memories of all of them a good portion of those very same people probably have almost no recollection of me at all. In many cases that might actually be for the best.

Crushes.... How can anyone go through middle and high school without them? Middle school especially, I had my share didn't you? A weird sensation I came across back in July with my friends wife was actually looking back and realizing that there were some people that we had crushes on that at the time we had no idea we even liked them. I found the same thing happening for the middle school yearbook. Also I find myself wondering just how these people are fairing through the years, and what some of them (especially the crushes) look like now. Of course if ever there were a reunion for any of my classes I really doubt I would go. The only friends I maintain from any of my schooling are my friend and his wife both of whom live in Michigan now. In fact, even though we are only a few months apart in age, and we had a ton of mutual friends I had never met my friends wife until after they got married. As it turns out, I had at least on paper more common ground with her than he did.

Two last things on the year books. First off, remember back in 2002 a little pageant called Miss America? Guess what, in my yearbooks I was finally able to prove something that i had said over and over again. I knew (at least in one of those not totally close friends but friendly enough ways) Katie Harman. Yep that's right, I knew her way back in the day. For the record she was always one of those just sweetheart nice totally likeable types. I couldn't say a bad thing about her if you paid me (unless of course fibs were ok). When I saw her publicity photos from the pageant I really didn't recognize her until I looked hard.

Finally Teachers, another sad look into my head reveals another gem. I was one of those students you hate, I got along great with the teacher, most of the faculty actually. I was just one of those kids that actually liked learning (technically I still enjoy learning, it's just not as easy as it once was). So it was always a little weird because even back in those days I could hold long conversations with adults and at least it felt like I was holding my own and speaking the language. I used to be proud of my intelligence, now I feel like it's slowly leaving it's former home and sneaking out of my head in hopes of greener pastures.

Going through my high school book is not as thrilling for me. For me high school represents probably the biggest failure in my life. I had a breakdown there, I looked around at a lot of things, I was getting mentally just beat down there. Again I was there for one main reason, I wanted to learn and be a student. I cannot convey the feeling that I had during that year in writing, it really was just horrible. You can feel popular right, and then you can feel unpopular, and then there is one more stage below popular. This last one, when you are in that lowest of the low ranking for any reason you just eventually you can get to a point where the protective shell you put over yourself just breaks down. I like to think in life I am pretty easy going, if someone says something about me I try and let it not have much of an effect on me. That was always my stance on people at school, screw those who have a problem with me if I ignore them they will go away and I can talk to my friends. The problem with that theory was, once you enter high school ... and I have no idea why this happens. The cruel become crueler, and your protective devices and your circle of friends support just cannot hold you up. At least this was my experience. High school made me enter a very dark place, extremely dark.

For me quitting HS was just about as painful as it could be. But, I honestly believe that if I hadn't gotten out of that dark dark place something bad might have happened. I saw myself just spiraling down I would have days where getting out of bed was physically painful, getting to school produced nothing but pain and angst, my mind was so clouded over and scared and paranoid, and full of just blind hate and internalized rage that I could get no work done and had trouble even paying attention to things happening around me. After school I would go home and just do nothing, maybe read on my own but I was a general pain to even be around. That was no way to live life, I knew that even then... so I got out, even if it meant completely killing the high hopes that others had for my "potential".

I could of course have gone to a different school, but at that point my only other option for schools was Alpha, otherwise known as that alternative school for those who were kicked out of or couldn't make it in the real school. I knew people that went there and graduating just meant showing up to class, or if work had to be done it was nothing. I decided that a diploma from there would be nearly as impressive as a GED so I passed on that. Of course I have already mentioned that later in life I did indeed go back and get my GED, that did make me happy. But even now, after going to ITT after graduating with what I'm told is a good GPA, after all I have accomplished I still feel like I've been stabbed in the gut when I think of how I messed up and dropped out of high school.

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