Saturday, April 21, 2012

Why I Didn't Want to Keep My High School Yearbook

Regular readers of my blog (thank you) have probably noticed a pattern. When I am not sewing or crocheting in my "personal" time, I usually am organizing. Sorting something. Depending on my level of motivation, these sorts of projects either go very quickly and are highly satisfying, or they drag on and follow me around on to-do lists and sit in piles in the corners of the room mocking me. This week, it has been the latter type. I am trying to reduce the volume of my saved school papers and mementos - cards, news clippings, programs, etc - from three cardboard boxes into (I hope) two small plastic boxes. There is only so much of one's past that one can sanely haul around from house to house.

This project takes so much time though, because I get so engrossed in reading all these little treasures... it is an experience of many mixed emotions.

I was this close to tossing my high school yearbook. All the coolness and cluelessness of high school distilled into one heavy, black and white, pretentious hunk of bookshelf real estate. Reading it makes me feel like I'm sitting in the cafeteria, surrounded by people who I am certain have It all figured out. High school was not all that much fun. Even sitting at my own lunch table of friends, my own familiar and friendly little social island, felt like work. Having something clever to say. Getting the joke. None of this came easily. Most of the time I just wanted to go home.

The signatures don't even make me want to keep the thing around; there is something fake about them, too. It is a lot of pressure to capture a true friendship in one scribbled paragraph.

But underneath the yearbook there is more in the box: art, notes, schoolwork, journals. This is real. These mementos make me happy, make me feel secure. Hey, I DID matter. My friends wrote me some really sweet birthday cards, every year. I have thank you notes indicating that I was apparently a Very Good Friend. Tests with good grades and encouraging notes from teachers reminded me of why I liked school at all.

How nice it would be to go through high school without the self-conscious baggage. To be in an environment of youth and learning and fun and soak it all in with a healthy dose of perspective instead of a backpack full of angst. My mom told me that every morning as an adult she would wake up feeling grateful that she did not have to go to school. Ditto. I am much happier here. I'm not sure I need to be reminded of that high school cafeteria feeling every time I look through the yearbook.

But, rumor has it I will regret chucking the old YB, so it can stay... for now.

As for the rest of the stuff in the box...

Being reminded of what seven years old feels like? That is priceless. This journal and others like it will be the parts of my past that I will always want to keep.

1 comment:

  1. The essence of that first grade journal entry is basically the same as every phone call/email we share these days: It's been good, gonna keep it good. Too much to do in too little time, but "I made it!"

    "my plan for the rest of the day is for it to be good" (not exactly a S.M.A.R.T. objective but what could be more wholesome!)

    Miss you! Love you!