High School. Those two words can strike fear into most hearts the world over. Whether those years were good or bad, they happened, and they influenced who be became as adults. The reason I broach this uncomfortable subject is because this year will mark the 10 year anniversary of my graduation. I’m neither excited or repulsed by the idea. The glorious wonder of Facebook has kept me in touch with many of the people I would have otherwise never been able to track. It’s a bit creepy, kind of like stalking with permission. But I digress.
Anyone who knew me in high school, knew that I was absolutely 100% boy crazy. They called me a hopeless romantic. I crushed hard and often. But never, ever had a boyfriend during that time. That’s right. My first boyfriend wasn’t until I got to college, just after I turned 18. Amazing, isn’t it?
I wasn’t popular in school, but I was known. (My maiden name made sure that everyone remembered me. Shipwash. See, I knew I shouldn’t have told you.) I was yearbook and newspaper photographer, newspaper editor, baseball manager, and author’s ridge member. So let’s cover the basics, I liked to write, take pictures, and watch the boys play sports. Many of these coincided with each other. Just taking that camera with me guaranteed me free admission to any school event I wanted to attend. I loved it.
But writing was my passion. I wasn’t very good, although I thought I was. I wrote poetry. (Who didn’t in high school?) The teen angst immortalized in verse. I was hopelessly devoted to it. Whoever the victim….I mean boy, was that week got poem after poem penned in his honor. I kept a 3 ring binder with every single one of them tucked safely inside. The binder also contained love letters. Those were about as frequent as the poems. That binder was a catharsis for me. It was like a journal of my growth through those tumultuous teenage years. I never showed that book to anyone, except a few close friends who knew what the consequences were for betrayal. That binder was sacred and could have ruined my life. I thought about burning it, just tossing it into the flames and watching those romantic high school fantasies shrivel up into ashes.
But I still have it.
I open that sacred folio from time to time. Some of it actually inspired me to create new pieces of writing. I pick through the pile of angst ridden rubbish to find a treasured sentence or phrase that can ignite a whole new poem or story. It’s a gold mine.
Maybe one day I’ll be able to share that record with the world. But right now, it’s my little high school secret. So I just wanted to thank all of those boys who made it into the binder of a high school hopeless romantic. You’re all helping me become a better writer, and a better me.