I’m back at home for the summer.
I was a friendless loser in high school (I still am, I just dress a lot better and go out more often) and because of that, summer isn’t what it’s supposed to be. It’s not picking up where I left off over winter break with my best friends since I was 15. It’s not a million new inside jokes. It’s not spontaneous day drinking beach trips with my buddies. It’s me, feeling like I’m watching everyone fuck the shit out of life and grab summer by the testicles as I awkwardly try to hold life’s hand and get a text back from summer.
In high school, I was kind of a hipster. I thought I was better than everyone because they wore Uggs and yoga pants to school every day, and I wore Doc Martens and shirts from thrift stores. I actually looked like an idiot, but no one had the heart to tell me, and if anyone did I’d probably just call them uncultured swine and go on some tangent about conformity and Eurocentrism. I spent all this time around other artistic bohemian souls, and while some of them were brilliant and changed my life forever, a lot of them were painfully vapid. I’ll never forget the time I heard two of my acquaintances talking about walking barefoot in train stations to “feel the energy.”
I assumed so much about people I didn’t know and barely interacted with. I couldn’t stand the guys yelling penis or making “I left it at my house” jokes anymore than I could stand the girls cackling obnoxiously in the dining hall over something that couldn’t possibly have been that funny. I went to a few parties after I graduated, and that’s when all of my regrets resonated with me. I saw these people not as the staunch generalizations I’d made about them, but as individuals with hearts and personalities and experiences of their own that made them complex human beings. In my limited exchanges with them, they were hilarious and fun to be around.
People say that high school isn’t a popularity contest, but it kind of is, and it’s not one you have to win, but it’s worth participating in. You obviously don’t have to be liked by everyone and you should never compromise yourself to gain approval, but the more people you’re on friendly terms with, the better. There were some people in high school that I’d notice actively pursuing popularity and while I thought it was/still think it is pathetic, it definitely worked out for them. Simply put, more friends means not only more parties in the summer and schools to visit during the school year, but more perspective. The more people you can relate to from different walks of life, the better of a person you will ultimately be.
The relationships you form in high school may not define you for the rest of your life, but they mean something. Assuming someone is a plebe before you really give them a chance kind of makes you a plebe, my friend.
Since high school, I’ve turned in the studs for pearls and the Jeffrey Campbells for Jack Rogers (not literally but figuratively #toobroke #canigetanamen)- and not because I’m trying to be something I’m not, but because I’ve changed. A lot. As much as I lament the way I lived my life, from my social choices to my academic efforts, I have a feeling things happened exactly as they should have. I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I hope that some self righteous angsty teenager with special snowflake syndrome will read this and grow up.