I’ve been thinking about high school a lot lately. Maybe it’s because my 10 year reunion is happening next month (not going, but still…surreal!), maybe it’s because I have taken to wearing a backpack these days thanks to this Fjallraven stunner or maybe it’s because the day this look was shot, I was mentoring a lovely Grade 12 student. It also has a little something to do with some high-school-esque instances that happened recently that reminded me of why in a weird but ultimately amazing way, not having a typical high school experience actually helped me in so many ways once I broke out of there. Click through to read why!
I’ve mentioned in some of my past posts that the first three years of high school were pretty brutal for me, which for some reason a lot of people like to say after high school but for me, it was really very painfully true. Evidence One and Evidence Two right here – let’s just say I was a very late bloomer and straight up both chose not to understand the social systems that started developing when we were in Grade 8 onwards and also couldn’t navigate my way within them anyway if I wanted to.
What I struggled with in high school more than anything (and something I still can’t tolerate) is that I just have never been able to work in Mean Girls-esque groups. I’ve become tight with lots of different people who I went to high school with after we got out of high school but for some reason, when we were in school, I just couldn’t deal with what felt like politics in terms of making friends or belonging to a group. I know this wasn’t the case for everyone, but for me, it just felt like to fit in, you had to either be an ass-kisser or be okay with having a bunch of ass-kissers, well…kiss your ass. That just doesn’t fly with me. I felt then and still feel now that if you’re going to be in a group, it’s because you guys just love each other – it’s not because you’re satisfying some sort of weird need for social order or hierarchy.
But anyway, while the first few years were really rough and I felt really lonely, like magic in Grade 11 I met some pretty special people when we were on a band trip in Hawaii (I was one of two French horn players in our massive high school, which should kind of speak for itself about why I struggled to fit in), and all those feelings of not fitting in evaporated because all of a sudden, I belonged with these girls. For us to belong in the group, we didn’t have to be cool, we didn’t have to wear Parasuco jeans (they were really ugly and really in), we didn’t have to go to high school dances and “grind” (I mean….why) and we sure as shit didn’t have to be mean to other people to get accepted. We were all totally different from one another but we all belonged to the group so long as we satisfied these 3 basic friendship requirements: we all had to be fiercely ourselves, to be supportive of one another and, to be honest…to have good taste in music. That was the one kind of superficial requirement.
I’m so grateful for our little group (Christin, Emily, Kirsten and I, aka The Urinettes…don’t ask!) as well as our extended group of friends for teaching me pretty early on that while high school did involve a lot of politics and drama, we didn’t have to – we could just hang out in our little group of weirdos, smoke in the parking lot, drink beer on the steps of elementary schools instead of going to the prom after-party and have the best time together every time we hung out. In other words, I learned that having a group of friends without the dumb drama or value compromises was a reality because our group was living proof. It was a really rare and very special thing to have so young.
So this long, convoluted story about high school is getting to a point. No need to get into details, but a couple catty, high-school-esque instances recently reminded me that I may not be in high school anymore, but that doesn’t stop some people from clinging onto the old social hierarchies and systems. Basically, having the kind of bizarre but ultimately special experience I did in my teen years has given me an “ain’t nobody got time for that” reflex to any catty bullshit, and for that, I am thankful.
People change after high school (myself included, thank God) but I’m happy I had the experience I did. Nice reminder for anyone who might be in high school and who’s not loving it (which I think statistically is usually a lot of people!) but also that whenever we’re going through our different challenges in life, it’s usually because we’re learning a lesson before we get something truly amazing – some incredible new friends, an unreal career opportunity or that trip you always dreamt of.
So with that, I’m taking this weekend to spend time with some of my favourite, no-bullshit people and plan my trip for this summer to reunite with some more of my favourite, no-bullshit people. Seriously so excited for some exciting travel plans this summer, honestly can’t wait! Happy Friday lovelies!