By: Jessica Scire, Guest Blogger
It’s not the memories I have of my high school days that alarm me, it’s the negative feelings that consume me when I hear the words “high school.” My stomach twists and I feel a sense of sadness. Each and every day back then I was so aware, so focused on my outward appearance, how others perceived me, much, much more than how I perceived myself. Never satisfied with the way I looked physically, I tortured myself to be prettier, to be skinnier, to be cuter, to be everything I already was but could never see. If only I had the same confidence that I have now, I would have rocked those high school years. That is not to say I wouldn’t have regrets or any hard times, however, my attitude towards high school would be a much more positive one had I had the confidence that I deserved to have at the time.
Image from www.newlywedsurvival.com
I’m fairly confident that 50% of my graduating class wouldn’t recognize my name if they saw it, let alone my face if they saw me. I was always shy, quiet, and adamant about not causing any attention geared towards myself. I went about my business; happy to be camouflaged by the crowd of kids I so desperately wanted to look like. I always felt like I was different among what I thought to be a school of adolescents who I was sure had it all. They were funny, they were pretty, they were smart, they were not me.
I was never the prettiest girl, or the funniest, or the smartest, or the most dramatic. I never caused a scene, never fought, never got caught up in the soap opera that high school ultimately is. And that’s just it: I was average, I was kind, I was me. Being myself didn’t get me a label, it didn’t get me noticed, it didn’t get me into any top colleges. Being myself and not warping my personality to fit a certain criteria of a group didn’t get me any of those things, but it was me, and I am proud of who I am.
High School is never easy, even for the girl who has the long, blonde hair and every guy drooling behind her. Everyone is fighting his or her own battles. The phrase, “I wish I knew then what I know now” applies perfectly here. So what do I wish I knew then?
Well, high school Jessica: I wish you know how important your kindness is and always will be, how even though you don’t “fit in,” that doesn’t affect your value as a person at all, whatsoever. I wish you know that everyone feels just as awkward as you do, even if they don’t seem it. I wish you know that high school is supposed to feel like this, and it’s OK. I wish you know that you are so much stronger than you ever could imagine. I wish you know the importance of a fresh face as opposed to a caked on one to hide from the world. I wish you know that you are important and always will be. I wish you know the value of being yourself throughout those years and how grateful you will be one day that you always followed your heart, even if it doesn’t lead you where you think you should go, you will always end up where you’re supposed to be. I wish you know that there is more to the 6-foot jock who walks down the hall as if he owns it, he’s not just a jock. There’s more to him. He’s more than just a label and so are you.
So, I present to you, high school graduate of 2005, Jessica Scire: dog lover, ice cream eater, teacher, lover, writer, passionista (yes, I made that word up), and THAT GIRL.
Jessica Scire is a 26-year-old woman living in the Boston area. She teaches Pre-K in Boston, MA and is currently working towards her M.Ed. Jess is a co-leader of the I AM THAT GIRL: Boston Chapter. She loves spending time with her family and friends, reading, laughing, playing with her dog, going for walks, and eating ice cream.