Saturday, February 6, 2016

If I could do High School Over..

As a high school teacher I get to study my students and observe how they act. I admire how seemingly comfortable they are in their own skin. For the most part my students are confident. They seem to know their status on campus and can move pretty fluidly through the different groups. They can be super smart and the star basketball player. 

While I would never want to do high school over but if I could I would be braver, comfortable in my own skin and someone who put themselves out there.  

I had absolutely no confidence in high school. I had two gorgeous best friends. One of them I am still close with and she's still drop dead pretty. She is perfectly petite, looks ethically ambiguous, stunning eyes and a genuinely nice person.

I was curvy and I had a tummy. I was awkwardly taller than everyone;  a tom-boy from way back when. I didn't know what to do with my hair. I didn't know how to embrace who I was. 

Don't get me wrong I had a great time in high school. I had a tight knit group of friends. But when I think about why I only went to one day of tryouts for the volleyball team, or why I never joined the Black Student Union, or why I didn't have a date to Junior prom (I didn't go to Senior Prom [long story]) it pisses me off.  I could have had all those things and more. 

Basically, I needed some encouragement and support and I wasn't getting it at home. Nor did I have a mentor or a source of support. I had no idea how to get one or ask for one.  

For Martin Luther King Jr. holiday my Sorority started a letter writing campaign. We were tasked with writing a letter to a younger self and writing a letter to a young girl.  Writing the letter to myself was unexpectedly emotional. 

It said "I have a dream that you will be brave and confident. That you will not let self doubt and what others say plague you. That you are smart and beautiful. Yes you! That you are loved! Yes you! That when you follow your dreams and the path God had laid before you- no obstacle will stand in your way. It won't be easy don't give up."

I am really proud that I can say that I have embodied these principles. Maybe I am a stronger person because I wasn't in high school. However, my goal is to reach out and be that encouragement to someone. They shouldn't have to wait until they are in their 20s to finally be comfortable in their own skin.  


PS. For some reason we haven't had a high school reunion but I've been dying to go back and show people how cool and successful I am now. It will probably backfire but I love the idea. 

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