Reunited and it feels so . . . awkward

My high school reunion is this weekend. In honor of the occasion, my face broke out.  Perfect. Now I’ll be completely recognizable. Plus the zits can draw attention away from my growing collection of gray hairs.

My subconscious has joined in the fun by producing several anxiety dreams either set in the halls of my high school or featuring classmates I haven’t seen in twenty years as characters in bizarre plots. I have yet to do anything heroic or amazing in these dreams, confirming my innermost fear that I am still one of the uncool kids.

When I first told Peter about the weekend’s events, Mr. Antisocial immediately said, “I’m not going.” This was not a surprise, but I startled him with my response.

“Are you kidding? I’m not taking you! You already have plenty of fodder for mocking me.”

Since I’m not forcing Peter to join me on Saturday night, he’s going to a tractor pull. That leaves me in charge of Philip.

I’m not sure what to do with him.

When my mom heard about our plans for this weekend, she volunteered to watch Philip. I haven’t decided whether to take her up on the offer. We’ve been invited to bring our families to Saturday night’s catered picnic. It’s being held at a private campground, so there would be room for Philip to play and nature for him to explore.

On the other hand, if I send Philip to grandma’s house, I won’t have to worry about keeping an eye on him or rushing home when it’s time for his bath and bed. Or rushing home because he is miserable. I’d be able to eat without him climbing up on my lap or having to abandon my plate to give chase if he wanders off.

I was asking Peter’s opinion this morning. He voiced one of the advantages of taking Philip that has been lingering in my mind.

“You know, if you take him, you’ll have an excuse to leave.”

Indeed. If it turns out I have nothing to say to these people, Philip serves as the perfect reason to cut my losses and run.

I haven’t always been so strategic when it comes to escaping awkward social situations. While I was in college, I became that pathetic girl who lingered at parties. Despite the fact that I didn’t drink or smoke, I was afraid to leave the party too soon lest I miss that funny incident destined to become legend, an inside joke that I, having left early, would never be allowed to share. I stayed when I was bored. I stayed even though I was never sure of the right things to say. I stayed even though I still didn’t feel like I belonged.

I worry that, if I go to my reunion without Philip, I’ll only repeat this pattern. Sure, with age I am learning to accept myself for who I am and learning to focus less on thinking about what others may or may not be thinking about me. Yet, I worry that being around people who “knew me when” will trigger all my insecurities. I fear that, in a quest to fit in, I’ll stay too long, try too hard and revert back to that person that I hoped that I’d outgrown.

Unless the weather takes a turn for the worse, I think I will take Philip with me. Since he has been a catalyst for so much of my self-reflection, self-improvement and changes for the better, it makes sense to bring him along. Who wouldn’t want to be accompanied to a potentially awkward social situation by a person who brings out the best in her?

 

It’s never awkward over at the Yeah Write Weekend Moonshine Grid. Stop by any time after 6:00 pm EDT Friday to drink up some great stories.

24 thoughts on “Reunited and it feels so . . . awkward

  1. You can also use him as an excuse even if he’s not there, right? “Um, I need to pick up P from my mom’s place. See you at the 30th!” Have a great weekend. I was really moved by my reunion, having cut and run 20 years before. Report back!

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  2. agreed! have a great time. either is good. i kind of lean toward being free to enjoy but it is helpful to bring a cute little date. whatever.. you can’t go wrong, just go and have fun! 🙂

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  3. Ugh. Reunions. I have yet to actually go to one, but my next will be my 20th, so I suppose I’ll make an effort. I think it might be more fun without my hubs… but I could be wrong.

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  4. I’ve never been to a class reunion, I admit…if I didn’t really get the time of day from these people when we were stuck together on the ship of fools way back when, the attention I’m going to get now is morbid curiosity, and I’ socially awkward enough already.

    My advice: don’t take Philip, but more because he might pick up on your tension and react to it, which will make you more tense and self-conscious (I know that’s what happens to me in similar circumstances.) Don’t worry about the grey hairs or the zits, everyone has them…only other people are better at disguising them because they have a) more resources, b) more time, c) both, or d) greater insecurities that require the constant feeding of palliatives to themselves.

    Ten years, twenty years, thirty years pass for everyone, my dear: the alternative is time not passing at all and we know what that means.

    Don’t worry about “needing” an excuse to leave. You can leave whenever you want, and there is always the cell phone…put it on vibrate and if you feel uncomfortable, just excuse yourself to check messages and boom, you can say “I’m sorry, but something came up at home, and we’ll keep in touch.”

    Go and enjoy yourself as much as you can. You are neither obligated to have fun nor to not have fun…that’s the thing: you’re absolutely in control of all this. As I said, I haven’t been to any of my reunions, but I’ve seen pictures posted by those who were my friends who actually attended: the pretty girls are still pretty, but either you can tell their age or they no longer look like themselves because they’re trying too hard. The handsome guys still have the same cocky air about them because they remember how we all fawned over them back in the day. The ones that made me happiest to see, even in photos, were the ones like me: the ones who have always been comfortable to relate to, the ones who remember high school ended in the early 80s, and consider a reunion “a thing to go to” not “a thing to go to so they can show how awesome they still are.”

    Go and be there, and let yourself be there…and if you want to leave, LEAVE! This too, like everything else, shall pass…(a BB cream is good to conceal and yet not look cake-y in daytime or nighttime…and gray hair is just blonde hair you weren’t expecting…that’s my theory anyway…)

    😀

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  5. I think I’m way cooler now than I ever was back in High School. Of course, that’s probably because I know now that I don’t really need to impress anybody, and as long as I’m happy with where I’m at, that’s all that matters.

    And there’s also the knowledge that some of those kids I knew back then that were going to change the world and be somebody of significance, have led the same boring insignificant life that I have.

    Funny how time evens us all out. 🙂

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    1. I was always cool, it’s the other people who weren’t sophisticated enough to realize this. 😀 (Nah…I was a huge dork, but it has served me well and the people that liked and appreciated me then, like and appreciate me now…)

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  6. Im with Ken, I think we are all much cooler as we grow into ourselves. So bring Phillip, don’t bring Phillip…either way youre who you are…

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  7. I went to my tenth. A good friend and I had a pact, we go together. Im in the parking lot and he cancels! So since I am there I go anyways. A sea of unfamiliar faces and none of the bullies I wanted to see washed up, to laugh back at. Cheesy dance music. Lots of booze. Gyrating, it was like a bad high school party revisited, with a few extra wrinkles and stretch marks. It was like, are we 30 going on 16?

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  8. There is nothing about a high school reunion that sounds appealing to me. I’ve never gone to any of mine. That being said, some of my friends think reunions are super fun. Are you planning on attending because you *really* want to go, or out of some sense of obligation? I hope the event isn’t too stressful for you.

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  9. Missed my 10 year a couple years ago and didn’t think twice about it. Not a single person I care about attended, and the only people who did, are those who helped keep me socially awkward throughout my high school years… Never went-Never will!! But kudos to you for taking your little man and going!

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