24 June 2008

Class of 1998: Ten f*cking years later

By: Jessica B.

Some of you may have seen my Tweets from about a week ago announcing (with a bittersweet tone) that Facebook recently invited me to my 10-year high school reunion. Well Facebook itself is not hosting it for me, but my high school, which has a group on Facebook (which I find odd that it exists there) notified me about the event. Actually, June 13 was the official 10-year anniversary date of me graduating high school and I celebrated…by going to work and it was pay day so it was doubly good.

So my 10-year high school reunion is set to be in Wisconsin in August, on a Saturday at a bar on the west side of town (which I find somewhat interesting yet fitting), and for $25 I can relive all the painful anxiety and low self-esteem emotions that made three of my four high schools years awful. Ah the memories, me with thick glasses, baggy clothes, braces, big boobs, long blonde hair, my ears fully pierced and making it through each day with one thought: “I can’t wait to get the f*ck out of here and away from these people.” 
I don’t want to misrepresent this, but high school wasn’t all painful. My senior year of high school was literally the best year ever. Had my first kiss, first real “boyfriend” and date, got contacts, started to not be afraid of my breasts and body and the biggest coup, I was a forensics, a.k.a. debate rock star. Medals, first-place trophies, recognition and jealousy from my teammates, including my former best friend. I drank that shit up like it was wine and I wanted bathe in it. Suddenly the chubby, petite girl got kind of better looking and was good at something, wha????
Oh the chance to see them all again, especially the guy I crushed on for all four years of high school, who conveniently lost his virginity to my former best friend on her couch because “they were feeling horny one night.” Ah high school, misty water-color memories. Ironically, he went on to pursue “music” at college and illegal substances so I think I got the better end of that stick in the long run.
A lot of things have changed in ten years and thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to follow many of my old classmates, many of which fall into one of three categories:
  • Drunk
  • Married
  • Unmarried with a kid (some with multiple kids)
Fortunately, I seem to fall in the outlier category from this: single, working and content. 
I’m not surprised that most of my old classmates ended up back in Wisconsin, living in the city we all grew up in. One old classmate, who recently friended me on Facebook, was so excited for me that I was living in the big city and said it was brave. BRAVE? Maybe to them it is, but to me, it’s second nature. It’s interesting to see how you grow up and away from the people you once held so close to you. Even relationships with family members have changed in that time. Some I’ve grown closer to and some I’ve drifted away from for better and worse.
And thinking about this reunion has prompted me to start taking a trip down memory lane, looking at pictures of me and seeing how dramatically different I am now from the timid, insecure and scared girl I was before. Heck if I look dramatically different from a picture that’s two years old and posted outside my work cube, imagine what has changed in 10 years? Some of the funniest memories I recounted while looking back include smoking my first cigarette outside the mall with a friend of mine, thinking we were so “bad ass” and how I smoked cloves at the bowling alley “lying” that it was from someone else. And who could forget sipping a screwdriver from someone’s thermos, again thinking I was “bad to the bone.”
But as I look back at the girl who was 18, miserable and at a huge crossroads in her life, personally and emotionally, I look back at her and the 28-year-old me would tell her this if I could:
You will be okay and all this confusion and insecurity will work itself out. Be strong and don’t let the bumps you’re about to go through and the heartache you’ll encounter break your spirit. You are strong and you will make it through. 
And I can imagine the 18-year-old me would look at me (timidly), initially say nothing and then say something like, “well I’m glad it works out, sort of, but damn you’re kind of mean.” Grow up girl.
So yeah, what the hell, I’ll pay $25 to see some people I used to crush on and feel insecure around. I have a feeling it’ll be more of a self-esteem boost and “life choices” affirmation than anything else. Woo hoo! Class of 1998!!


  1. Ashley says:

    We spend SO much time worrying and feeling inadequate. In high school, in college, and as adults. :) Good thing you’re realizing that’s a waste!

  2. LJ says:

    Ha Great post I totally relate! It will be shocking to see how some people ended up. Time to pull out that old Year book.

  3. Blaez says:

    i couldn’t attend my own this year because i moved up here and its in another state… maybe the next one? good luck with yours!

  4. Tipp says:

    Good for you, go strut your stuff you hottie!

    they will all be jealous!

    And just so you know, I will need you to reiterate this to me next year when I am hemming and hawing about attending my reunion.

  5. K says:

    You are an amazing single and content gal if I dont say so myself.

    You give me some inspo getting used to this single thing and being content.

  6. megkathleen says:

    Dude, everybody there is going to be so jealous of you! All carefree and living the life in the big city.

  7. Heidi Renée says:

    I don’t know if I’ll be able to go to my 10 year reunion in 2010. Depends how close we live, probably. I know I’ll want to go, simply to show all those bitches (and loser guys who ignored me) how hot and successful my husband is.

    If we go to my husband’s reunion, all we’ll hear the whole night is “You were the guy with the mohawk!” At least his classmates will remember him.

    My advice is to go if you can, if only to thank your lucky stars that you got your ass out of there and on to better things!

  8. Rachel says:

    hmmmm….that sounds kind of trollish….I will wait to see if bayjb lets me off my leash 0_o

  9. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t “chubby petite” an oxymoron? How can one be chubby AND petite? I’ve been to Ann Taylor and don’t see how a chubby person can fit in a petite size. Can you please clarify?

  10. Marianne says:

    Woo! Class of 98 too! I’m so sad noone from my school has got on the case and organised anything. I so want to see all the weird and wonderful people I grew up with! I can’t wait to hear how yours goes, bring on August! x

  11. surviving myself says:

    My ten year was just this past year – and it was awesome. You are going to have fun, especially making fun of all the people who got ugly.

  12. Jenn says:

    This is me taking a break from blogs.

    I have read your post and wanted you to be aware of that, but I am not leaving a comment.

  13. L Sass says:

    My ten year is next year. High school was pretty good for me – I definitely wasn’t cool, but I had good friends and was content.

    All the same, the choices I’ve made are different than 99% of my high school class mates and I don’t relish explaining how “brave” I’ve been.

  14. wontletlifedefineme says:

    My high school experience wasn’t too great either. University changed everything for me. I’m so glad I moved away from my hometown to go and live in Leiden (where my uni is). I made so many new friends there!

    By the way, I ran into a guy who used to be in my class at secondary school today. He looked totally grubby and looked at me in this weird ‘happy to see you but is this really you?’ kind of way. It was.. odd.

    I hope you have fun at your reunion!

  15. Cass says:

    Hey, mine’s in august too but at least you didn’t get stuck planning it… I didn’t know being a senior class officer was going to be a life-long commitment!

    I was in debate too, maybe we debated against each other, we went to lots of tournaments in the milwaukee area…

    and one last thing…did I read that correctly, you had long blond hair??? I soooo cannot picture this, can you post a photo??!! pretty please??!!

  16. Alexa says:

    ok im in the exact same boat as you.

    my 10 year is mid august. i’m from a town where EVERYONE is married, well maybe 75% of my class is married and that ones that aren’t are me or gay.

    well i may be stretching that a bit but you get my point.

    i’m going, but it is going to be a tough one. ugh.

  17. RebeccaC says:

    My 10-year was last summer. I dreaded it but went anyway since I was still in contact with the guy who organized it and wanted to be supportive. SO glad I did. It was nothing like high school. All of those Romy and Michelle horror stories in my mind about people being in the same old cliques and not talking to one another evaporated the minute I walked in the door. People were genuinly interested to see one another and people that never even spoke in HS were having these long, happy conversations. It was all really strange but I left feeling like the world isn’t as crappy as I sometimes think it is. You be brave and go Jess!

  18. brandy says:

    What a great attitude to take towards this milestone. My ten year reunion is next year and I’m thinking that I’m probably not going to go. The people that I want to stay in contact with, I have. The people I want to know about but don’t want to talk to- I have through stalkbook, and the rest? Meh. I don’t really care to find out. I mean, I wish them well but I had a huge grad class so we weren’t one of those high schools were everyone was friends with everyone.

    As for you my dear, I hope you have a wonderful time and show everyone how awesome you still are. Have fun at the reunion!!

  19. Maxie says:

    I don’t plan on going to any sort of reunions until I I’m so rich that I can wear a dress made out of money to that thing. LOL

    (actually I always see all of the people I graduated with, so it seems kind of pointless…but I’m sure I’ll go b/c I like to party no matter the reason)

  20. jesslovesnyc says:

    I missed my 5 yr reunion last year, but am definitely heading to my 10th!

    I love seeing how people turned out, and what they’re doing now, especially compared to who they were…although I have to say I had a great time at my 2nd high school (boarding school, the one I graduated at), so I’m looking forward to it. :)

    I hope I look back in another 4 years’ time and feel the confidence that you do now!!

  21. thegoodnamesaretaken says:

    I skipped out on my five year but maybe I’ll reconsider for my ten. Until then, facebook definitely keeps me up to date on most people :)

  22. sandy says:

    Woo, go you! Yay for being all brave in the city :) Heh

  23. Angela says:

    I think you’ll have fun, so I’m glad you’ve decided to go! It’ll be such a trip to see how everyone else has changed, too. It’s only been three years since I graduated, and I know that I’ve changed a BUNCH in that amount of time.

  24. jenniferalaine says:

    I spent my middle school years in rural Indiana, and it freaks me out to see people post Facebook pictures of their kids. And they’re 20, 21… It’s a strange, isolated life rural residents lead…

  25. EP says:

    Reading this makes me realize we could have been the SAME person in high school. Like, to a tee. Scary.

    My 10 year reunion isn’t for another few years, but I feel the same way about it. And while I will openly admit that high school wasn’t the best time of my life, I am interested to see where everyone ended up. And to (hopefully) feel good about what I’ve done with my life.

    I’m interested to hear what it’s like!

  26. redstaplernation says:

    I’m on for the 10-year reunion in 2009, and I already don’t plan on going. Like you said, high school wasn’t ALL bad… but my only friends in my class that I like, I’m still in touch with. Everyone else was a different year.

    It would be interesting to see some of them fat/drunk/divorced/bad Botoxed though, ’cause a lot of people were mean to me in high school.

  27. ~Angela~ says:

    You go, Jess. You go! Way to be brave in the city!

  28. Rachel says:

    I’m actually looking forward to my reunion. I think it’s because everyone didn’t think I would amount to much (or hoped I wouldn’t)….I was a little weird. I also have people that didn’t talk to me much in HS telling me they are fans of my blog….it’s a little weird.

  29. busstopsleeper says:

    I want to look back to now from 10 years in the future and see how dramactically my life has changed or will it be my perspective that has changed, either way beware of bartender I believe she was the girl you had the problem with in the 11th grade

  30. ANG* says:

    awwww what a great post! i still have two years but i’m looking VERY forward to it. actually, i’ll probably end up planning the damn thing. have so much fun. flaunt your shit gurrrrl ;)

  31. Mandy says:

    My ten year is this year too. A group of people were trying to plan a reunion but no one was really interested. High school was fun, but now is better. I would fall into the working, single, and content category too. Have fun at your reunion.