I flew to Indiana last weekend with salon-fresh hair and nails, a new dress, and sexy shoes.  We didn’t have a large turnout for my high school reunion, but there was enough of a mix to stir me and guide me a few blocks down Memory Lane to a forgotten place I have managed to avoid for many years.

My feelings were big and overwhelming.  Movie clips flashed on my mental screen with every “remember when,” and I struggled to bring the pictures into clear focus.  Which life was I living?  Images swirled and mixed together the decades of my life so that one was inseparable from the other.  And I judged my past from the bench of my present.

To complicate the story, I introduced my Present, who is wrapped up in my past, to my childhood and danced into the future with him, surrounded by sights and sounds of days gone by.  It was surreal.

I remembered lost parts of myself in stories told by friends – Kindness, Compassion, and Goodness… Where did they go?  My marriage left me bitter and angry for such a long time.  Or were those traits really a disguise for a codependent obsession with putting others’ needs above my own?  I thought I was just living by the principles I learned in church.  And I liked being nice. 

Thank god Bible-Thumping fell to the wayside.  I introduced myself to someone who I wasn’t sure remembered me, but then he asked if I still went to church and was shocked by my answer.  I guess he did remember me after all.  Another guy recalled a time when I told a couple of students that their game of Dungeons & Dragons was devil’s play and they were headed for hell.  Seriously???

I embraced a gorgeous drama queen who maintained a taboo lifestyle that was simply unknown to me in the 80’s.   We didn’t classify people by their suspected sexuality, especially since no one suspected anything other than the norm.  Looking back, of course I knew he was gay, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know, you know?

I was nominated, along with several others, for “the person who changed the least since high school.”  I think they meant it in a flattering way, but who wants to look like they did in high school?  Ugh.  I certainly don’t want to feel like I did in high school.  High school sucked.  And I know I’ve changed on the inside – at least some of the parts – thank you, dear Universe.  I was a real mess at 17.   

Trouble-makers cleaned up well and made something of themselves.  Spindly-armed awkward girls from the band evolved into stunning, leggy blondes who dripped with success and sex.  Cocky pricks who were voted into class-officer roles, unfortunately, remained cocky pricks.

And so it went.

Who was I then?   Who have I become?  Which parts are worth retrieving and which are best left buried in the rubble of high school depression and growing pains?

Then… whoosh.  I hopped on a plane and flew back to the here and now. 

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