This is me, circa 1979. I was 15 years old and on a class trip to Canada. I vaguely remember this photo being taken. These were my friends at the time, but all that would soon change after we got back to the U.S. I blurred their faces to avoid trouble and so I didn’t have to look at them. This is my first serious post. No one can be happy all the time. Let’s start at the beginning……..
I have never liked Facebook. I don’t get the walls, friends, saying you can or cannot be my friend–the whole process. However, my number one reason for not liking Facebook is that I think it is a bit too personal for me. You have to give too many specifics it seems–your name, where you live, etc. Then the people start finding you. Quite frankly, there are some people from my past that I do not want to communicate with no matter how many years have gone by since I saw them last. Most of these people are from high school, which was a very hard time for me. I struggled to fit in with the other teenagers. I don’t want them finding me and then wanting to chat as if nothing had happened all those years ago. Therefore, I am not a member of Facebook. However, my mother did join. She is not really active on the site but she does look at pictures of her current and past friends, classmates, etc. She rarely writes to any of them. She also has gotten some updates on my old high school classmates. She was surprised at how some of them turned out and how some of them looked. So, she and I thought it would be fun if I used her login and password to look around and see how my fellow classmates were doing and, not that I’m proud of this–what they looked like almost 30 years later.
High school was not an easy time for me. I never felt like I fit in that well. I’m sure I’m not alone with these feelings. In later years, I would need to find myself and feel confident about the man I had become. In high school, I felt lost. Only a couple of close friends, feelings of isolation, feelings of being different. I got picked on a little. Thank god I had my brother around to protect me. I couldn’t wait to graduate and get out of there. I also think it didn’t help that in a small farming town, I didn’t like sports but instead was smart in school and loved to read books and play my trumpet in the band. Think “Friday Night Lights” from TV, but I wasn’t on the football team. In my mind, these feelings started after I returned from our Canadian school trip and the friends in the picture no longer wanted me in their group. I used to call this event “Chapter 1 in Loneliness” when I was in therapy a long time ago. I know they didn’t do it on purpose, but for some reason, they left me behind–they didn’t call to talk, they didn’t invite me to go with them to the movies, we didn’t hang out anymore. Did I do something, did I have something they wanted or didn’t have something they needed, was I too strange or was I too smart for them…..What was now different? Why didn’t they like me anymore? I remember sitting outside and watching them gather and leave on a Saturday night without me and feeling hurt. I would struggle to get over these feelings for most of my young adult life. There are lots of “ideas” on what had happened from various “experts” who I have talked to over the years about these feelings and strategies on how to get over them. God knows I have discussed it with clergy, discussed it with shrinks all over the country, read hundreds of self-help books and went to as many lectures. I thought I had gotten over my feelings from high school. I understood what had happened and I had filed it away and moved on to better things. I got it already. It was over!
Then the lid blew off the pot.
When I saw this picture on Facebook, the same feelings that started over 30 years ago came back hard and strong. Feelings of hate, loneliness, sadness, regret. I felt them pouring out of my chest at a million miles an hour. I wept for that little boy in the picture after those feelings resurfaced. His life was about to drastically change. He would be forever altered. He didn’t even realize what was about to happen.
He is not who I am now, not even close, but he is a part of me. He has always been there somewhere deep inside of me. He must have been hiding. I guess it was his time to be seen again and I now know that filing him away was not the right thing to do. It’s time to deal with him once again and the feelings that he brings. Life is a crazy game–you never know what it is going to hand out to you at any given second. So here is what I want to ask you: Do you think that we ever get over our issues, especially those that happened when we were young?