Friday, August 8, 2008

Forget High School?

I have always wondered if the bullies we encounter in our adult life were the same people pushing others around in high school. When discussing this with my husband, we came up with an alternate scenario: people are trying to be who they wanted to be in high school, not who they actually were. In the science community this is not hard to imagine, as "nerds" turn into cut-throat scientists. If a person wanted to be popular in high school but wasn't, they will try their best to prove they can be.

I never thought I was popular in high school, but looking back I think most people knew who I was. I hung out with the popular kids from my class and I think I was invited to most parties. They made fun of me sometimes, but everybody was made fun of at some point. The teasing didn't upset me, but not being asked to dance did. If I could blame my high school disappointments to a single event, it would be a class mate's birthday party in 2nd grade. I was the first to be asked to dance, but I rejected half a dozen boys that asked me. I didn't want to be the first one on the floor, and ended up not dancing at all. I guess I got a label then and there, none of the boys in my class ever asked me again. I got a pity dance at my sweet 15's from one of the boys I knew from elementary school, but that was it. I only got to dance when I started meeting guys outside my high school, during my senior year. Maybe that is why I became obsessed with ballroom dancing in college...

I was always into dancing, I did some tap, jazz and Flamenco. I started learning ballroom dancing my junior year in college and took swing and lindy hop classes my semester off before graduate school. I got back into ballroom when I started graduate school, and was dancing half the evenings in a week. My goal was to know enough of the different dances that I would not be sitting out due to anything I could prevent. Unless I was extremely tiered or thirsty, I wanted to be on the dance floor. Quite an obsession, I even engaged my boyfriend at the time (now husband) into my hobby. I'm glad he enjoyed the dancing as much as I did! He learned the Viennese Waltz for our wedding dance, and I even got him to perform at a showcase when I was 3 months pregnant! I was dancing well into my eighth month of pregnancy, until I started getting out of breath and too big to partner-up. After our first son was born, we couldn't manage the dancing schedule anymore. Our evenings were dedicated to family-time, while our days were spent at the lab. We still manage to go dancing sometimes, and hopefully when the boys are older it will be easier to fit it in.

I had lots of "thinking" time when I was on bed rest during my second pregnancy. I started missing the dancing, as I wasn't allowed to do it even if I had the time. (I was missing the lab too, but I had an easier time rationalizing that one.) And it hit me for the first time that I was still trying to make up for all the dances at which I didn't dance in high school. Fifteen years later, married with kids, and I was still caught up in that high school drama. I can't change what happened then, but will I be able to forget it? What you experience early in life molds you into the person you become. I can see how my early years contributed to the person I am today, but I guess all that experience comes with baggage for me to lug around. Does high school make such a lasting impression on us that we cannot leave it behind? Do I need to dance until I'm 80 to make up for not dancing when I was 8? I think I learned my lesson, I should be able to leave the class behind. As Lee Ann Womack's song goes: And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance. I hope you dance....

No comments:

Post a Comment