the return

When I graduated from high school, I ran out of that place swearing that I’d never go back, ever. I was finally free. Never ever would I ever go back to the scene of countless emotional traumas.

So of course I just went back.

Dude.

Facebook was involved. I reconnected over there with my friend from back in the day, Paula. I thought it would be really fun to see her after almost two decades. Around that time, I was considering going back to my old high school for reasons related to the new book I’m writing. Then my lIbrary event was scheduled (thanks for an awesome time, Kimberly!) and…it all came together.

When we graduated, a massive renovation of the school was just staring. Now the kids have an insanely schmancy new auditorium, new high-tech photo lab, new cafeteria, new freaking everything. I’m all jealous of their improved school experience, but I’m not jealous that they’re there. I was drooling over the new science wing. The only remaining science teacher from the old days totally remembered me from Science League!

Which got me thinking about the things we remember about school and the things we block out. I seem to have blocked out a lot of the horror. That’s one reason I wanted to go back – I was hoping the visit might unlock some things. Paula remembers so much, though. She was telling me about all this stuff that happened and I was like, Really? I did that? She brought her photo album to show me old pictures of us. Here’s what’s strange: Looking at pictures of yourself with no memory of being there, doing whatever you were doing in the picture. Apparently, I was a Corn Flake for Halloween one year.

Was I traumatized by my return? Not at all. In fact, it was a good example of how time heals. To all of my teen readers who are having the worst experience of your life right now, please know this. The badness comes to an end. Your real life starts. And everything just gets better from there. So keep the hope of a better life alive, and one day soon you will be living it.

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6 thoughts on “the return

  1. Glad you had a good time! Sorry I couldnt make it to the reading though =[ but! I followed your advice and just started a book blog! I wanted to send you the link. It’s the-truth-about-books.blogspot.com hope you enjoy!

  2. I am so glad you went back! Especially at the stage in your life you’re at now, when you can feel really good about yourself and what you’ve accomplished! So wait, you actually got to do a book reading at your old high school?! That is the best freaking karma ever. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I can’t believe what the high school kids have in – is it NJ? High schools aren’t that fancy here, even now, if you’re in a regular mid-sized town at least. I’m not really sure about the biggest towns in my state.
    It’s funny that you don’t remember – with my journals, I remember pretty much, but there are definitely details I’ve forgotten that only come back when I read them. I bet your visit will definitely help with your books! So cool that you got to revisit with an old friend who can jog your memory. Yay for time that actually heals. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yeah, it was a good experience. I don’t regret visiting at all. The school is in an area of New Jersey that has money, so the taxpayers can afford to fund all of these amazing things for the school. Those kids are lucky. We just walked around and got a tour of all the new stuff, though – I don’t think I’m ready for a reading there anytime soon!

  3. High School is a funny thing. I graduated 2 years ago and like you, I couldn’t wait to get the heck out! The two years that followed however were/have been horrible. Life got way more complicated after I graduated. Sometimes I wish I could go back and do it all over again (minus grade 9 which I hated with a passion). I just miss the simplicity that came with that part of my life.
    I think it’s great though that you went back and confronted that part of your life!I’m sorry that you had such a crummy high school experience. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    • Could we do it all over again knowing what we know now and being the way we are now? Then maybe I’d go for it. Actually, having survived such harsh high school times is a good thing at this point in my life. A lot of what I write relates to things I wish had happened back then. In a way, I can experience parts of the life I wish I’d had vicariously through my stories. It’s also helped me connect with other teens struggling with similar horrors. I never thought I’d have anything good to say about the badness – further proof that life is a wild thing.

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