The “Dead Zone” I saw tonight about school shootings (a rerun) got me thinking a lot about my own position in the whole public high school nonsense. I was in the same graduating class as the Columbine kids, but was lucky enough to have dropped out that year (two days into my senior year, in fact), so I was spared the nationwide aftermath.
I can only imagine where I would have fit in that. I don’t know that I would have been on the school’s top 10 list of “suspects”, but I might have been close. My rage was more internally directed, which had its own host of problems, and though I was an outcast my entire childhood, in high school the taunts and torture and deliberate alienation was spared me, probably because I was successful at becoming invisible. As damaging as my methods were- and still are- to my personality, my character, my life, my psyche, things could have been worse, I know.
I also know that if I was a few years younger, things would have been a lot different. Ditto if I hadn’t had the social class thing to blame it on, even if that wasn’t fully formed in my mind at the time. Ditto if I hadn’t dropped out. Ditto if I hadn’t internalized and internally directed all my rage and hatred and anxieties and depression and feelings of being inadequate and empty and different and trapped.
Several years ago, I think it was on or around May 17, 2001. 2001 because I’m estimating my age and situation and May 17 because it was the Sons Of Norway‘s Syttende Mai celebration. I know that because that was the day that non-regular members of the lodge came. A couple I met that night and never saw again, one or both of them worked with high school kids somehow, teacher or counsellor, I don’t remember, and I told them about my experiences in high school which eventually led to my dropping out. I told them an idea I’d had of talking to high school kids, sharing my story, telling them it does get better. And it wouldn’t be some random “adult” telling them- I was closer to their age, yet old enough to have experienced for a few years anyway the “real world”.
In any case, they supported my idea and we planned to actually do something like that through the kids they worked with. It never happened, and the idea went away, but now it has resurfaced for the first time since and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s happened at a time when I’ve been thinking a lot about high school and what happens after it and things like that. Largely due to, likely, lately watching John Hughes movies.