Life’s A Beach Party


Thank you C. Ringsted. You captured my fear of ostracization perfectly.

Thank you C. Ringsted. You captured my fear of ostracization perfectly.

So a while back I wrote a blog about my three legitimate fears. Recently, however, I discovered a new one.

I’m a big letter writer. I correspond with several pen pals and make an effort to write home occasionally. My attempts to be good at remembering to send birthday cards have been somewhat less than a success, but in general I like to send and receive mail.

Unsurprisingly, considering my recent travels and the start of classes, I had fallen behind on my letter writing and decided to make an effort to write to everyone that I had been neglecting lately. Sometimes when I write I discover truths that I hadn’t noticed before. It is something about the process of putting pen to paper and forcing ideas into word-forms that occasionally surprises me with an epiphany.

I was writing a letter to my Mom and I was describing the end of my first week of classes. The seminar that I have on Fridays is a class dedicated to opening up a dialogue between the students and the faculty, staff, and resources of the school. Everyone in the Fall 2013 class (a new class is admitted each semester instead of each year) attends no matter what program they are in: production, writing, animation, interactive arts or the Starkies.

I stuck around after the seminar hoping to chitchat and to get to know a few people from the other programs. Chitchat is not something that comes to me naturally, but I try to make the effort. There was a reasonably large group of my classmates around, gathered into small groups. There didn’t seem to be any comfortable openings to any of them. For a while I sat by myself nearby. I managed a few passing conversations and decided that I had done my due diligence and could go home, so I left. If I felt anything at the time it might have been a weary frustration at leaving so early, but I was not stricken with any strong feelings.

Later, while writing my letter I described this observation of groups beginning to form within the class and the fact that I hadn’t been a part of any of them. I found myself crying. I found that I couldn’t stop. In the back of my mind I was suddenly replaying my life at every school from junior high to high school to undergrad. You would think that a thirty year old grown woman would be done with worrying about whether or not she will get to be one of the “cool kids”, but you would be wrong. I was, anyway.

A beach party had been scheduled for later on that same day. I had been planning to attend, but after finding myself a blubbering snot-monster after worrying about whether or not I “fit in” I wasn’t sure I wanted to go anymore. What if I went and found out it was true? No. That was silly. I must attend so that I can prove it was false.

Never has a beach party been approached with such fear and trepidation.

In the end I did attend the beach party and I was not forcibly ostracized from the herd to forage for myself amid a barren wasteland. Neither was I elected queen and tossed in the air on a blanket while everyone sang “for she’s a jolly good fellow”, but I’m ok with that.

I wish I could say that by attending I was completely reassured that I had nothing to worry about, but it wouldn’t be true: I’m still afraid of reliving my past and I probably always will be. It’s not a comfortable way to live, but I think it might be good for me to remember that I need to keep growing up. I’m not the same person I was in junior high or high school or undergrad because I worked at becoming a better person and I need to keep working at it even now.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on September 2, 2013.

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