Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My High School Reunion

My 20 year High School Reunion is this Saturday. No, I didn't graduate from The School for the Socially Retarded & A.D.D. Afflicted. I actually graduated from a public school. My High School was segregated by brain power, so I was somewhat sheltered by being in the honors program.

I spent most of my time at High School doing homework and studying in the library. I was nice to others, but very shy. Back then, there was no Facebook or an Internet to easily make connections to others just like me. Being gay made the whole High School experience quite horrible because I was the only gay person I knew.

I envy the young people today who are able to go to progressive schools built just for gay people. Do you realize how lucky you are? Can you imagine how much self esteem can be built up going to a school specifically built for gays? That's reality now in New York, Milwaukee, and coming soon to Chicago. I didn't have that option in High School. It was more like a horrible game of ... Which One of These is Not Like the Other?

Which is exactly why I don't want to go to my High School Reunion. I was the odd duck. High School was a traumatic period of time in my life that has left my psyche scarred. What if I go and feel these same haunting feelings come back?

This is precisely why I skipped my 10 and 15 year class reunions. My twin brother told me later that there were lots of people asking about me. I was quite surprised they even remembered me. He said they kept telling him that they always remembered how nice I was.

Hmm. Being nice certainly didn't help me make very many friends back then. In retrospect, perhaps my own insecurities sabotaged the only chances I had of forging friendships. What if it was really me choosing to isolate myself away from others because I feared being rejected for being different?

A part of me feels like I should take the chance to go back in time and mend my present life with the shadow of my past. After all, I am a totally different person today. Since coming out in 1993, I experienced a burst of happiness and found many new friends. I am now a confident gay man who no longer flinches when asked the question as to whether I am married or have kids. I am no longer the duck that is so odd. Maybe going to the reunion will heal my past wounds. I will never know if I don't take the chance. Hmm.



Blogger publius100 said...

As I commented in a blog entry last year about the answers to the Final Exam of Life,

"12. Twentieth year reunions are good for finding out the stupid mistakes other people wound up making in their own lives which were worse than yours."

And that's good whether you're gay or not.

Go for it.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger -Tony- said...

Hey - I certainly can relate to your experiences in High School. I went to Cecilia High School and graduated 150 kids. I was the band fag for 4 years and didn't think I had made any friends after I left. I really didn't want to attend but then I felt that after 20 years I had actually made something of my life and am proud of the place I'm in. I went and actually had a great time. Besides, I looked great physically while most every guy there had either put on a bunch of weight or lost all their hair or both. Revenge is looking better than anyone expects you to! GO AND HAVE FUN!

November 12, 2008  
Blogger -Tony- said...

OMG - this year is my 30th!

November 12, 2008  
Blogger AJohnP said...

You totally have to go.
Like Tony said, the chances are VERY good that you'll look better than half the guys there and you should be proud of all you've accomplished. The last reunion I went to was my 10th. I was completely amazed at the number of guys (including many who I avoided for 4 long years) came up to me and chatted like we were old friends.
It was great....some people DO actually grow up. :-)

GO, GO, GO!!!!

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Kezza said...

I say go for it, by now everyone will have grown up so they won't be the same people you remember from high school, plus you may find you're not the only homo there any more. Even better than that though is realising that you can brag and carry on about all you have accomplished, while all everyone else will have to show for it is a beer gut and some missing hair.

Or at least thats the way it should play out!

November 12, 2008  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Just remember darlin', lookin' good is the best revenge. Bein' rich is almost as good.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger mikeinbama said...

Oh, please go to your reunion Brett. I think you'll have a great time. I went to mine back in the summer and it was fun. You'd be surprised how some people have really changed and some that are stuck back in 1988. I graduated with almost 500 students and have only kept in contact with 1 person.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Beau RN said...

GO! I was exactly the same in all respects and when my 20th came up this summer, I felt like I never felt and looked better and people were BLOWN AWAY. In school I was the nerd everyone hated...and I walked in and all that was gone...most people had grown up and we really enjoyed getting to know one another as adults.

Definitely go. You're your own man now. Walk in there strong and proud.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger Ultra Dave said...

I had friends but have not kept in touch. I run across a few people here and there, briefly say something nice ond go on my merry way. I had very little in common with them then and doubt very much if anything now. I've never gone to any. Can't think of any reason I need to.

November 12, 2008  
Blogger JC said...

Hey wait, you went to HS in Lousiana, right?
.... then you have something else on them besides the hot bod and good hair. You still have all your teeth! ...or at least a very good dentist, at least from the photos I've seen.

November 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This year is my 26th....I went to my 25th year reunion last year. It was worthy to attend.

Brett, I have seen that you have great social skills so I am sure that you will be fine at your reunion. Have a great time!

Brian D.

November 13, 2008  
Anonymous catrina said...

I'm a straight white woman, and my past reunions weren't always fun. Face it---high school was a tough time in everyone's life. My favorite reunion was my 20th--the football jock had got fat, gone bald, and his wife had left him. But he rented a brand new Corvette to drive up in, and we think he rented an escort, too. If for no other reason, go to laugh at 'em!

November 13, 2008  
Blogger LAMama-MSDad said...

Brett, I went to my 10 yr right after coming out. But, being timid, skipped my 20th. I regret it, as most in BR area need an image of the gays other than the those from pride events.

Plus, from the photo's I saw, everyone seemed toasted and laid back. ...and heard there was tons of 80's music. So Geaux!

Troy (DC)

November 13, 2008  
Blogger cb said...

Once I graduated from High School, I told them all to kiss the whitest part of my ass.

And I haven't gone back since.

November 13, 2008  
Anonymous JB said...

You should definitely go! I am sure that you weren't the only gay man in your class. I found out after not going to my 10 year that two of the jocks who teased me in high school about being gay (to the point that suicide was becoming an option for me), turned out to be gay themselves. Always thinking I was alone in the gay room while in high school, I have since found out that there are a total of 5 of the men in my small class of 101 that are now out.


To hell with those who can't accept you for who you are.

November 13, 2008  
Anonymous jtg said...

My 20th reunion was last night. I can't say I was eager to go, for many of the same reasons you mentioned - but now I'm glad I did. Go and be proud!

November 15, 2008  

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