Recently, I came across my high school yearbooks. There I am, in all of my overachieving glory.
My parents were lucky. I was a good kid. The stuff that got me into trouble was not drugs or teen pregnancy … it was doing things like spending my Friday night tying all of the doors in the girl’s dorm shut with ropes made of panty hose so no one could get out the next morning. I lived in a dormitory during high school, which is another story for another day, and suffice it to say that those types of activities were frowned upon.
Other things that were frowned upon:
1. Secular activities
2. Unnatural-looking makeup (I didn’t know how to make the most of my appearance until well after high school)
4. General worldliness
Now, I don’t know how you feel when you think about your high school years, but my feelings can’t be felt at all due to the extreme level of cringe taking place. It wasn’t all bad, but there are a variety of reasons why I feel sick to my stomach every time I think about that time in my life. Again, another story for another day.
My Advice to Underclassmen states, “If you feel like screaming, don’t.” In the spring of 1998, the entire population of the girl’s dorm had to spend a Sunday afternoon sitting in the Chapel. I can’t remember the details, but I remember that someone had done something (it was not me) and the Girl’s Dean wanted to know who. She instructed us not to say a word while we were in there.
Not a word.
I was 18 years old, graduation was approaching, and it had been a long 4 years. I was tired of not being allowed to kiss my boyfriend or wear whatever I wanted. I was tired of hiding my good music in the ceiling of my dorm room. I was tired mostly because by this point, it was becoming very hard for me to find new ways to have fun without getting expelled.
Maybe it was that I had a feeling deep inside that there was a life for me outside of this that would involve lattes, wine, and secular activities … or maybe I was just sick of sitting on the hard pew bench … but regardless of the reason, I just couldn’t take it anymore and I TOTALLY SNAPPED.
I waited until our dean turned and left the room, and I screamed the absolute loudest scream of my life … second only to the medication-free birth of Asher in 2011.
I remember her talking to me in her office later, and I swear she was trying not to laugh. Dean Griffin, I put you through a lot and I’m sorry. But I never, ever did drugs, caught anything on fire, or had sex in your dormitory.
Most of us spend our days repressing what we really want to say or do, because we are wives and mothers or simply trying to be polite members of society. Self-restraint is a virtue, and I try to set a good example for my children by being polite and gracious, even when I don’t want to be. I’ve met people who read my blog and they seem surprised to find out that I am actually a very calm, kind, polite person.
That’s because if I went around doing and saying whatever the hell I wanted, I would be a miserable person because no one would ever want to be around me … and then I wouldn’t have anything to write about.
If I were in a yearbook now, which would presumably be comprised of mothers who are frantically trying to keep it together, my advice would read: “If you feel like screaming, YOU TOTALLY SHOULD. It’s going to eventually come out, one way or another.”