Monday, November 8, 2010

Then and Now: Octo's Turn!

Describing myself in high school. Oh boy. Heeeeere goes.


Well, in high school, I was in the marching band, the drama club, the chorus, and the show choir, and I took AP classes. I mean, I assume you can draw your own conclusions about my social status from that.

Ninth grade semi-formal.

Really, though, although I was most definitely not made in the traditional "popular girl" mode, I was a happy kid, and I had a lot of friends. My high school was not a mean place, and overall, I enjoyed my time there. I was pretty independent and confident, and I liked to spend a fair amount of time alone, reading, thinking, and writing in my diary.

While I loved my small, rural hometown and was happy growing up there, I was also certain that I was destined to go on to bigger and better things. As I got older, I fancied myself a bit of a bohemian soul, and I wrote a lot of mortifying poetry about my spirit being on fire and needing to feed my passion and so on. I believed that both the musical RENT and the book On the Road completely and accurately described me. To be clear: I was a rural, comfortably middle-class high schooler who spent most of her free time doing homework and going to the bowling alley and the 24-hour Denny's with the other kids in the cast of the school musical. RENT and On the Road in no way described me.

At the prom with future-Bridesmaid Clara

Anyway, while I loved and respected my parents, I was also pretty sure that they were kinda small-town, and that while the cozy, secure family life they'd built for us was nice, it was also really really REALLY boring, and could not possibly compare to the crazy, splashy, dance-like-nobody's-watching life I was going to have as a starving novelist in the East Village or whatever.

High school graduation and OMG my brother is a BABY! Now he is a big gangly giant!

Relationship-wise? Oh, I was in a weird one throughout most of high school. I spent a lot, a lot of time with a guy that I referred to as my "best friend" or, sometimes, vomit, "soul mate." We didn't have a physical relationship and weren't technically dating, but.....I dunno, it was just an unhealthy, odd situation. Even though we weren't physically involved with each other, we definitely were emotionally, and it was one of those intense teenage situations: "you're the only one who truly understands my SOUL," "we're going to be a part of each other's lives forever," blah blah. There was also a lot of dishonesty, mind games, manipulativeness...the works. My parents hated him, my friends hated him, my sister hated him. And they could not tell me anything. My response at the time was always, always, something along the lines of, "you just don't understand us/him!" Sigh.


So, I went off to college and left my non-boyfriend behind. If you recall, Bridesmaid Clara and I went to elementary, middle, and high school together, and then we went to the same college. After about a month there, she told me, "I met this guy, and I think you're perfect for each other. You have to let me introduce you." So I met him.

Octopi, dating about three months, and CRAZY hungover.

He was so nice to me, all the time. He was straightforward, and kind, and funny, and generous. There was no drama, just having a lot of fun together. And, well, you pretty much know the rest of THAT story.

Eight years later. (Corey Ann Photography.)

Moral of the story: always let your lifelong best friend set you up on blind dates. (Corey Ann Photography.)

In some ways, I am still very much like my sixteen-year-old self. I still consider myself an independent, confident, happy person. I still like a solid amount of alone time, where I can read, think, and write. In some ways, I was actually not wrong about the big, exciting life I was sure was in store for me. I've had some pretty awesome adventures, both by myself and with Mr. Octo. I went abroad twice, once to Ireland and once on Semester at Sea. After college, Mr. Octo and I moved from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas, and from Las Vegas to (now) Boston, and traveled almost all over the country in the meantime. I feel like I have had more than my share of fun, exciting, and special experiences in the eight and a half years since I peaced out of high school.

On the other hand, it makes me laugh to think back on how much I scoffed at my parents' lifestyle for being dull and routine, because at this point in my life, my biggest wish in the world is to follow exactly in their footsteps. These days, I am just craving the "boring" stuff in life: a stable job, financial security, a house of my own to decorate and take care of. At sixteen, I was pretty sure that passion and dreams were all a person really needed to get by in life. Now? Uh, no. What I actually need is a 401k and good health insurance, you know what I'm saying?

Mostly, I look back at my high school years with a mixture of fondness and embarrassed eye-rolling. A lot of embarrassed eye-rolling. In fact, I was kind of vain in this post and did not include any of the MANY really, really, really tragic photos of me from high school. (Did I mention that I went through a prolonged awkward stage in which I didn't know much of anything about stylish clothes or how to dress my body type?) Anyway.

My life, and my path to marriage, has been very different than what I imagined when I was younger. It has also been exciting and fun. Kind of fabulous, really.

Has your life turned out differently than you imagined when you were in high school?

No comments:

Post a Comment