Five years ago I helped organize our 20th along with a committee of three others. We met multiple times over a one year period… tracking down grads, setting up websites, booking venues, collecting money, designing party favors and decorating the hall. On top of that, we set in motion an effort to post-humously graduate our classmate, Vinod Thomas, who died in the Air India Disaster the summer before grade twelve. We attended Halifax West’s High School graduation that year, walked across the stage and proudly accepted his diploma amid a standing ovation of new graduates! We gave the school a check for a few thousand dollars… raised by the class of 1986 in Vinod’s name.
It was an amazing graduation and reunion! The entire experience one I never wanted to forget until the next day when, with the exception of the graduation, I’d wished had never taken place.
The morning after the party, folks began posting their photos on Facebook as each of us headed into the albums to relive the fabulous weekend of friendships rekindled. In one album there was a photo of me that I’d not realized was taken… with a caption on the bottom stating simply… “Seriously… WTF!”
I knew what it meant.
In the twenty years since I’d walked out the doors of the high school… I’d gained a hundred pounds. The once tall and extremely slim girl who went through her school years believing she was fat… was nothing the way folks remembered her. The fact is… I wasn’t the only one who was different. Folks had lost hair, gotten boob jobs, gained and lost weight, come out of the closet and gotten sex changes! There weren’t any defaming comments about anyone else that I remember… but on the picture of me… that I fully admit was an awful photo… there wasn’t a “Thanks for helping plan this wonderful event” or “It means so much that you helped to honor Vinod in such a wonderful way”… NO… under the picture of me… What the Fuck!
Here’s the thing… no one judges me more than I judge myself. I strive at all times to be a good person. I screw up… but my intentions are always there. I’m a wonderful mom… I was a good wife… I’m a fabulous daughter… a caring sister… and you couldn’t have better friends than I have which must say something about the kind of friend I am! Yet… for some… it doesn’t matter. There are people who will judge us not for what we do and how we act… but how we look. Ironically, its’ one of the reasons I hated high school and one of the main reasons that so many young people struggle to get through their teen aged years.
I’ve lost about sixty pounds of that weight in the last few years but tonight I’m heading to my reunion… looking forward to seeing a few folks I haven’t seen in awhile… wearing a size sixteen. I’m happier than I’ve been in my entire life and it’s taken me until well into my forties to come to the point of accepting who I am. Despite how wonderful I think I am… I will never meet up to the expectations of a few.
How sad I feel for them.