I’m headed to my 15th college reunion next weekend. If you’d asked me on the day I graduated if I would be attending my reunions, I would have said no way. If you’d asked me after my 5th reunion if I’d be coming back for the 10th, I would have said no. And yet, I’ve been to every single one of them. I don’t know what draws me back. Partly, there are friends I’ve lost touch with who attend and it’s always fun to see them. But that’s not all of it.
My 5th reunion, I took the family, Mr. Geeky and baby Geeky Boy. Geeky Boy was 3 months old. I’m not sure why I went, because I was feeling fat after having a kid, feeling like a failure after dropping out of grad school and generally not too happy with the direction my life was heading. I remember distinctly being upset about the clothes I had to wear, a baggy sweater over jeans two sizes bigger than anything I’d ever put on. I just did not feel myself. As it turned out, I was the only person with a kid besides one woman who got pregnant before she graduated. I felt pretty yucky the whole time. Oh, and I got into a huge, huge fight with my mom.
So you’d think after such a disasterous experience that I’d never return. But no, I went back for the tenth. This time, I came alone. I wore vinyl pants (cheaper than leather). By now, I had a 5 year old and a 1 year old. I had regained most of my figure, was in grad school and enjoying what I was doing. I was still unnerved by the fact that here I was, a *mom*, while most of my friends had either just had babies or were still single. Most of my “crowd” was there, unlike the last time, and we all skipped out of the official event early to go play bridge until 3 a.m. I won, but only because I remained sober. 🙂
Still, I consider reunions to be these sanctioned, official, rah-rah events and that was so not me in college. I did almost everything I could to be “alternative.” When I was a freshman, I was still trying to figure out what groups to belong to. I joined a sorority, but didn’t participate much. I didn’t really take to the “sisterhood” the way I thought I would. I was shocked when I was elected to be an officer. My fellow officers informed me that it was because they wanted an “alternative point of view” on the council. I spent a few years wearing nothing but black. Eventually, I blended into the creative writing and drama majors. We were an odd mix of people, and that’s what I liked. You couldn’t really categorize us.
There’s a draw, though, to go to these events, to stand up and say, here I am, accept me. I think I’m beyond that now. I’m not going in order to be accepted. I’m going to see people, to talk to them, to have fun. I think (I hope) I’ve gotten past the old insecurities.