By AMY PANG
Blast Los Angeles Bureau
I didn't go to my 10th-year high school reunion simply because I wasn't in
town. Then again, I wasn't dying to go either. It would've been strictly a
mood-driven activity for me; I'd go if I felt like it, and blow it off if I
didn't. After watching "Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion" and
"Grosse Point Blank," I felt that it was even unnecessary to attend, since
between the two of those movies, the reunion experience was well-covered.
The main reason I wouldn't have wanted to go is my feeling that my teenage
years were remarkably similar to living in Hell. In my mind, I was a big
loser. My parents were strict enough so that I wasn't allowed to do many
normal teenage activities like sleepovers, dating and partying.
I was relatively unattractive, having to wear thick glasses and enduring bad
haircuts. I wasn't particularly motivated in school, and I attended a
school where academics were mighty important. No boys "liked" me. You know,
pure wallflower material. So I was not one of the pretty girls, I was not a
brain, I was not an artist or a jock or a thespian. I was nothing. I fit
nowhere. And everyone who's been to high school knows that if you don't fit
anywhere, you may as well not exist, even if you are a walking, talking,
functioning human being. The epithet I inspired was "weird" -- the real kiss
I felt so crappy about everything that I tried to commit suicide when I was
15 by taking a lot of Tylenol. I woke up feeling groggy and was angry at
first that it didn't take. Was I grateful that I survived? Hardly.
Eventually, the realization of what I had nearly done scared me, and I left
pills alone, although I continued to daydream about an early, tragic death,
as though my only claim to recognition by my peers would be precipitated by
being the victim of a hit-and-run, or drowning in the ocean.
It's not uncommon for teenage girls to feel a lack of confidence and a
sense of helplessness, especially when their peers are mean and cruel. The
meanest people of all are teenage girls, and there's nothing they like
better than preying on those weaker, i.e. less pretty, than they are.
Am I bitter? Yes and no. I wish that I had the guts to kick a couple of
asses. I know senseless violence is wrong, but man, it would be satisfying
to get back at some people who made me extra-depressed. On the other hand,
I don't dwell on how miserable I was because things have improved
dramatically since I got out of high school.
So what have I done since graduation? I have a B.A. I'm going to grad
school. I traveled to Europe by myself. I've fallen in love. People have
fallen in love with me. I've been published. I have a fun job. I have good
friends. I may not be even remotely wealthy or famous and I am definitely
not married with children, although I'm currently in a great relationship
with someone who thinks I'm perfect. And I have a cat. I may not have
realized all my dreams just yet, but my life is a far cry from the unhappy
and mundane one that I envisioned in my youth. I wouldn't do anything
But I only regret that I didn't actively seek help, for I see now that I
needed more than my own resources. At the same time, pulling myself out of
the abyss is a great feat in itself. I am proud, finally, of who I am.