The high school reunion is coming.
It’s in less than a month, and the entries for the biography booklet are due by today. So last night, in order to meet the deadline (and beat it, just), I psyched myself up to do something I truly love: fill out personal information forms.
Only this particular form started like this:
I had nothing to put in those blanks, so I left them blank. I went on, filling out the rest of the form (Education, Occupation, Favorite Movie/Music/Restaurant in high school), and then I clicked the “view results” button. And there, at the top of my page, right below my name and photo, was this:
Instead of tastefully removing the questions I’d chosen not to answer, the stupid online form had left them there. They might as well have put:
in the same insulting bold print. Those are exaggerations, yes, but that’s how it felt – all that attention called to my lack of husband and babies. (I’m going over to Beth’s tonight, and she will undoubtedly use this as another reason not to go to the reunion.)
When I got to the second part, the part that asks for a “Summary of accomplishments, dreams, travels since High School” in no more than 575 characters, I started trying to make myself sound accomplished:
After college, where I spent four years in a wonderful program doing the things I love most: reading and writing, I lived in Europe for two years. I am now fluent in French, and…
Then I deleted it. What a load of bull. College was great, but it’s almost as far away as high school now. My French was pretty damn good even before I went to Europe, and I was mugged a block from my apartment in Lyon. Then I spent a year in Wales, sitting on the couch in a townhouse that my then-fiancé’s parents owned, bored out of my mind. It wasn’t glamorous and extravagant; it was just… Life.
And the rest of my life, since then, has been just life as well. Under the banner of those blank Spouse and Children fields, how could I lie and say it’s all been so wonderful? Do I want these people to be jealous of me, or do I want them to understand me, really know what I’ve done and where I’ve been and where I might be going?
I tried again:
After college, I lived in Europe for two years, studying in France, then waiting tables in a tiny village in Wales. I married young, and divorced quickly. I lived in Seattle for a while. I lost a pregnancy. I’m back in San Diego now, and recently published my first magazine article.
Life isn’t always perfect, but it’s always exciting. I write about it daily at https://bakeryclosed.wordpress.com
And then I hit the “submit” button.
I wonder if anyone else was as honest in their bio. (I also wonder if anyone else even filled the damn thing out, and I’m starting to wonder if anyone else is going to the reunion at all.) It feels pretty ballsy to have written that, to have ‘fessed up to the reality of my life instead of trying to bedazzle it for my former classmates. Ballsy, and really, really good.
Anyway, if I want them to be jealous of me, I can just show off my legs.