Thursday, August 5, 2010

On Surviving a High School Reunion...

Possibly a person exists who can go to an HS reunion and not feel overwhelmed, but that person is not me.

I am just now recovering from the 35th reunion from a decade ago!

And only now, a mere couple of weeks away from the next (the 45th!), am I able to (fearfully) decide to attend.

Part of my decision to join in has to do with a revelation I had this morning.

I realized that I had spent my HS years as a ‘shadow person.’

What do I mean by that?

Simply that I slipped along in the background for all those years. I never attended a football game, missed all the basketball games, I never even made a track meet (and I ran with the team — can’t quite claim to have been a team member although I worked out with the track team every day…). I did go to the Senior Prom, but that had more to do with my date wanting to attend and not wanting to work too hard at it. My only claim to fame: perfect attendance…. and they misspelled my name on the little certificate….

But enough….

So, now that I have decided to attend, how do I manage even one evening without disappearing into a complex (cf, Carl Jung…) or otherwise traumatizing myself into a coma?

I believe the ‘plastic arts’ might help.

Maybe…. Worth a try anyway….

For the past decade or so I have written questionable poetry and become a player of slightly out of tune music. And these have done me good (since they were never designed for the world — I’m not an artist, but a psycho-dabbler: I do my art to (help) improve/ stabilize my psyche — that’s the idea anyway…).

But neither of these have the kinesthetic, visceral benefits that I believe I/ we need to combat the dreaded ‘High School Reunion’ — the Curse of the High School Reunion…. the tendency we (well, me, anyway…) have to drop back into that traumatized state I/ we ‘enjoyed’ as a 17 year old! Ugh!

I’m told by those wiser than myself that this is universal. It happens to me. It happens to you or so ‘they’ say. And if that’s true it means not just the rest of the shadow people, but also all you bright people — all you bright, cheery, happy, active… whatever… kids. You too drop into the pit with the rest of us. Or so I’m told.

I heard something somewhere about how the brightest light make the deepest/ darkest shadows.
And, I wonder, if bright, happy, etcetera people have black shadows, does that mean all of us shadow people have bright/ white shadows?

Well, no matter… back to the ‘plastic arts.’

I’ve found that squeezing clay (preferably plasticine — less messy) seems to help concretize (and release) stress and tension (and… well… fear).

I’m not talking art here. I’ll leave that to the pros (yea, I’m talking about you, Joan and you Eddie) or the competent amateurs (including my ex-neighbor, Nancy — and many others!). I’m talking about rolling out clay snakes and punching ugly UFO faces — the kind of things that makes us smile when we do it and that the rest of the world thinks is just clay snakes and ugly faces… well no matter, this isn’t for them. It’s for each of us to enjoy.

So I’ll be bringing 10 pounds of plasticine with me to the reunion. I’ll have it in a bag probably.
And if they (The Powers That Be) let me in the door, I’ll find a table, put up a sign that will say ‘TRAUMA CENTER’ or something akin to that and will have balls of clay available for any and all comers — at least until I run out.

And for all you light, bright, happy folks — well, you can just grab a ball and take it to your own table if you don’t want to be seen in the vicinity of me or any other ‘shadow person’ who might be nearby…. It’s just clay and it’s just there to help.

Oh, I might have a few colored pencils and papers if anyone would feel more comfortable scribbling out their High School Reunion Trauma (HSRT) rather than squeezing it into malleable bits….

Your choice.

Donations accepted….