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Monday, May 29, 2017

The Death of A High School Reunion

Colored lights, paper lanterns, a dim high school gymnasium, 90’s boy bands lyrics are blasting from the speakers; this is how I envisioned my ten year high school reunion. There’s a long table of appetizers, mixed drinks, and desserts I shouldn’t eat but I do anyway. I am looking fabulous in a tight, fitted dress, my hair is smooth and luxurious. My old high school crushes are staring at me and secretly kicking themselves for not giving me a chance in high school. This very cliche image is what I had hoped for, for the better part of my twenties. I wanted that night of self made redemption. NO, I needed it. High school was rough and I battled so many inner demons I wanted this moment to shine in front of my enemies, my naysayers, and frenemies. Petty?  Heck yea it is. But you’re kidding yourself if you’re saying you didn’t want that moment of validation too. I wanted that night as much for myself as I did for everyone else who ever felt they didn’t get their due justice in high school. With that in mind, I decided to plan my high school’s 15 year reunion. The attempt would lead me back down the long locker lined hallways of Tallwood High School, down the band hall, deep into old memories of my puberty, and back to face a grim reality that very few people romanticized their high school experience as I had.

My campaign to host our 15 year reunion started with so much hope in January 2016. Fresh out of the worse depressive episode of my life, I needed desperately to have some purpose, something to strive for. The class of 2002’ had a very ill-fated 10 year reunion that I’m told consisted of beach volleyball, a grill, and a few people kicking it on a hot summer day. Not exactly the picture anyone envisions when they think of a high school reunion. I figured my years of experience sales experience could help me raise funds for the effort and I could use what little television contacts I had left to find a good venue, entertainment, and food.  I recruited the help of two former marching bands buddies, and we began a very stressful, failed attempt to bring the ‘Class of 2002’ together for a night of memories.

One of my band mates had the brilliant idea of throwing a ‘Second Chance Prom’. While some kids had glamourous, amazing, lush proms nights. I recall a very awkward lonely night with my then hated boyfriend. Turns out a lot of people had crappy prom nights, and we decided to give them the prom they always wanted. It would give us adults a reason to get dolled up, drink, party, maybe hook up with an old flame, and dance the night away. There would be no superficial need to be coupled, no showmanship just some adults who partying who once shared the same high school.

My bandmates suggested we sell t-shirts, and souvenirs to raise money for the effort. My type A personality went into overdrive calling the principal, scouting venues, coordinating a website, and logistics. The thought of bringing all my old classmates together breathed new energy into me. But, the hope for a ‘Class of 2002’ Tallwood High School Reunion wouldn’t live long. It died a slow, painful death and faded into an oblivion probably never to be heard from again. With it took a friendship I once held dear, a good chunk of my new found confidence, and the positive reflection I once had of my high school years.

The first stake in the high school reunion came from good old Facebook. The more I asked people about their desire to come to the high school reunion they all responded the same way, “Who needs a reunion when you have Facebook? I keep in contact with the people important to me, everyone else can go fuck themselves.” That was an actual quote from one of my high school classmates. So many people told me they didn’t want to relive those 4 years, the painful memories of bullies, bad boyfriends, mean girls, and bouts with their self-esteem. Facebook allows us the moment of validation and ego boosting with its pictures, filters, and cool status updates. Now you don’t need to lose 15 pounds to fit into a slim dress reunion night. A good post on Facebook followed by 100 likes from old classmates is enough nowadays. If you wanted to reach out to the hot cheerleader, or the love that got away, well that’s what DMs (direct messages) are for these days. You could see if karma finally served your high school bully with a simply search for their profile. Sometimes the best revenge now comes from a single relationship status, bad profile pic, or low friend count.

The second blow to the ill-fated Tallwood High School 2002 Reunion was due rising tension amongst the organizers. The old saying goes about having too many cooks in the kitchen is true. With no clear leader of the reunion and 3 strong personalities at the helm the reunion started losing hope, motivation, and desire to see it completed. Once those things are gone, it’s doesn’t take long for an event to fail. Before long the tension of fundraising, decision making, and planning got the best of all of us. I take some responsibility for this as well. I had super high expectations for the reunion so I put a lot of pressure on my bandmates to deliver and that drive left lasting cracks in our relationships. The Tallwood High School 2002 reunion died in less than a month.

The bedazzled night of glitz, glamour, and memories I had so desperately wanted for all my former classmates is just a dream now. The age of social media has made it so we no longer need to physically gather and reminiscent. I’m sorry I failed you Tallwood High. I really am. I wanted us to have that magical night together.

Anyways, thank you for the memories. High school for me wasn’t all bad, and I have some amazing memories with many of you; they made me who I am today.

Love You, Love God More

Lauren Hope

Lauren Hope
Owner, Good Girl Chronicles