Socially, I was raised to get along with everyone. That's just how it was. Although I didn't hang with other crowds, it didn't prevent me from mingling with them, talking to them or going places with them. I often crossed into different cliques so long as it didn't mean trashing my true friends.
One day in high school, a classmate told me how phony I am. She said "It's impossible to be friends with everyone, so since you're friends with everyone, you must be fake." Nice. Truly the words of a snobbish, clueless high school (ummm) young lady. But I was genuine and really just wanted to be able to talk to anyone. I'm still that way today and people that know me as an adult really get it. People at the gym refer to me as the welcoming committee because I'm the first person to greet a new person to class. Why? Because being new somewhere is uncomfortable and I like making people feel like their presence makes a positive difference.
When I graduated, I didn't look back. I maintained a few high school friendships in college then kept in touch with nobody. Zilch. Moving to California gave me the perfect excuse for not having a clue as to any of the gossip surrounding my classmates. When I received an invitation to my 10-year reunion, I had absolutely no intention of spending money for a trip back to Iowa for it.
A few months back when I received an invitation to my 20-year reunion, I felt like tossing it into the trash. The difference, however, is that I'm now back in Iowa and have run into a few of my classmates. You know what? They grew up. They matured. We all did (for the most part). I've been in contact with some of them either through preschool or the gym and I've enjoyed talking to them. They convinced me that going to the reunion wouldn't be such a bad thing.
Well, this past weekend was the reunion. Yes, I went. No, it wasn't horrible. Yes, I loved seeing some of my old friends. Particularly Meg, someone I called one of my closest friends in high school. Who, by the way, aged beautifully - as you can tell by the photo. You may notice that I blurred out our name tags. My concern was my sanity, not my identity. The name tags displayed our FRESHMAN picture next to our name. Ick.
As Meg and I walked around, we caught a glimpse of a bunch of the "in" crowd gathering for a group picture. Meg elegantly raised her glass to me and said "Here's to being on the fringe."
Yup, Meg. Here's to surviving the fringe. Cheers.