High school was probably the worst four years of my life.
Well, except for maybe the last year of my marriage and the following one during which I survived my divorce.
During those high school years, I just didn’t quite feel like I fit.
From what I understand years later, most of us feel that way.
Sure, there are a few people who hit the peak of their life between the ages of 14 and 18, but for the vast majority of us, it’s an awkward, emotional, painstakingly torturous time.
In high school, much like my adult self, I was able to be friends with just about anyone. But I felt most comfortable among the people who weren’t terribly interested in pretending to be someone they were not.
I’ve just never been good at not being me.
So, I spent my time with the people I felt were the most real. And we were a rag-tag group of people who, when being observed from the outside, were not a matched set.
But we had one important thing in common: we were fairly content to be who we were. Most of us weren’t athletes or cheerleaders. We were the kids who stayed out of trouble, got pretty good grades, and were far more likely to be a member of French Club or Chess Club than to be elected homecoming King or Queen.
We were a little on the nerdish side.
It was not a cute little uniform.
It was polyester.
We had four options: brown polyester long skirt, gray polyester long skirt, brown plaid polyester long skirt, and gray plaid polyester long skirt.
With a brown or gray polyester vest.
Yes, it was hideous.
Although in my Junior Year, the vest went by the wayside in order to “make the school look more classy” <– I kid you not. That is the explanation that the President of the High School gave in our yearbook that year.
It was almost as if the administration decided that they would go as far in the opposite direction from the white blouse, cute short plaid skirt of the stereotypical “Catholic School Girl” look as they possibly could.
I dug through every single photo album I could get my hands on, and you know what? There’s no family snapshot of me in that uniform anywhere. Either it was so ugly, we never took pictures of me in it, or I burned them at some point.
Either way, the best I could do to get you a visual is this yearbook photo of me as part of the Newspaper Writing Staff. I was sporting the gray skirt, no vest, white socks and brown shoes. Yes, I was a teenage fashion icon.
I probably had legwarmers in my locker.
But along the way, I learned that I like being me.
Even if I am a bit nerdish.
Perhaps that was the most important lesson anyway?
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