When I graduated from highschool, I eventually severed all ties with everyone there. Up until the last few months I have not really spoken to anyone from my class. The only bits of information I have gotten are from my mom. I have wondered about them, and sometimes I have searched for them on the internet or in the phone book. I search for pictures or bits of who they are without having to make actual contact. I get them to touch me, to give them a piece of themselves without me having to reciprocate.
I am not cold-hearted or sociopathic. I am not a stalker. I thought it was something of a social anxiety; just another bullet-point for the lunatic resume.
Not so. The revelation of what it was has caused a minor meltdown. It caused me to leave a job and to try to make more friends. It has stretched me to make myself important and know outside the walls of my home.
All crisis ' have a trigger, and mine was at facebook.com.
If you haven't heard of it, it is a website developed for social interaction. You can message, show videos, pictures. You can send virtual gifts and play games. It is like myspace.com but much easier to use.
I began searching for people in my grad class from school.
When I think back to highschool, it does not fill me with great feelings. It was a horrible time. I was very sick, cycling up and down several times a week. I hurt myself and often thought of killing myself. I knew there was something wrong and had tried to approach a counsellor at school but ended up getting turned away as there was not enough time to see me. My high cycles weirded people out, and the lows alienated me. I would stay up all night obsessing on what to wear, or bawling for reasons unknown to myself, other than I just wanted to die. I was very paranoid so I often thought that people we talking about me, and really just hated me.
I was so desparate to be liked but into my adulthood I believed that no one did. I knew no one would end up remembering me.
Our school tended to seat people alphabetically, so often if we had the same classes, this one guy and I were seated near each other. We even had the same intials, TC.
I think every girl in our class at one time or another was in love with TC. He had the greatest feathered mullet. (Remember this was the 80s....) His biggest asset with the ladies was his ability to just seem like he did not care. He didn't care about the girls, he didn't care about sports, he didn't care about school. He could be funny and nice one minute, and then cool and uninterested the next. The bad boy.
Facebook was fairly new, so when I looked online there was not many people to look in on, but TC was there. I wanted to see what he was up to but before you can look on someones profile, you have to add them as a friend. I do not know why I did, but I reached out and asked to be added to his list. "Hi [TC], this is Tiffany. You probably don't remember me, but I thought I would say hi."
I expected to not be added, or at the least to get a message back saying he did not remember me. Maybe after some coaxing I thought he may have a sliver of a memory or me.
That day I got a message back from him. "Of course I remember you..." he said. Of course he remembers me? Me?
He does not know it, but with that comment he gave me value, value I was seeking in highschool. Value that I actually had the whole time I was there, just didn't realize. I had been avoiding old friends not because of a detachement issue, but because I had felt so insignificant in highschool, that I did not think that I would even be remembered.
But I was remembered. By TC one of the most sought after guys in highschool, the guy who did not seem to care.
We sent several messages back and forth for several weeks, and what I learned about him changed how I think about myself presently in highschool.
TC lost a brother in the later years of highschool. Shortly after that his sister had a child that his mom, even though she was a single parent decided to keep in the family. So when TC was late for school, it was not because he didn't care, it was because his mom went to nursing school. She left early and TC stayed back to make sure his new baby sister could make it to daycare. The school staff still insisted on giving him detention, so no wonder he appeared distant. At 16 he had gone through a lifetime of pain, and like alot of us, was devastatingly misunderstood by the adults around him.
He wrote to me many kind things about me now and even more surprising to me, of when I was in highschool. This sent me into a small identity crisis.
I have been competing my whole adult life, with an image of myself as a teenager, that I find out does not exist. This image has influenced decisions I have made for jobs, clothes, and cars. I have tried for years to show myself that I could be good enough, but it turns out I was.
There was a weight taken off me, but then I did not know how to cope without it. The person who I thought I was did not exist. I have allowed myself to be abused by bosses and an exhusband because my disease convinced me I was not good enough.
It turns out I am more than good enough. People remember me and people like me. People like me enough that if I make them mad they will forgive me later. My husband isn't with me out of pity, and when my children are adults they will not turn out to be serial killers because I am a bad mom.
I quit my job and sought out something that I wanted. Turns out the people at the new job wanted me too, enough to create a space for me that does exist. I am joining clubs and trying new things. I am going to take up archery. I am done waiting to be good enough, because I found out I already am.
My husband tells me daily how smart, funny, and beautiful I am. Now I believe him, and now I believe that I deserve him.