HSR, High School Reunion, Holy Shit Really.

HSR

Ah, fuck.

When a Facebook invite to my five-year high school reunion popped up on my phone, my reaction was not one of excitement but one of mortification. Oh god, the memories. Oh god, TENACIOUS 10.

Like a girl’s menstruation cycle on its second day, the remembrance of struggling with inadequacy and anonymity, of unspoken crushes, of constant preoccupation about my future came flooding back. Then, this horrible thought: shit, nothing about me had changed.

After graduating high school, I made a mental checklist of where I’d want to be when the five-year mark happened. Doesn’t everyone? I had this idea that if I completed this checklist, I’d have officially redeemed myself, shown immense improvement from what I was in the past.

What would lead to said redemption? Five star ratings in the following categories:

  • Career – I’m gonna be successful 
  • Social life/relationships – I’m gonna have a significant other, otherwise known as bae
  • Health – I’m gonna have ZERO cellulite
  • Knowledge – I’m gonna be smarter than all of these motherfuckers . . . Hmm, what? No one thinks that? Just me then, I guess.

Rating myself now, I’d give myself Eh stars in each category.

Cue introspection. As I went over this checklist, and as I thought about it more (ugh, thinking is dangerous), I fell into yet another endless pit of looped 50-minute insecure thoughts that mostly revolved around what I hated about myself as a high school student. I was quiet — a specimen whose name might inspire slight recognition from my classmates. I was terrified of being forgotten and in fact, I wrote my college essay about my desire not to dissipate into a black hole, not to become a somebody in the yearbook. I was also closed off, and again, that was mostly my doing. Sure, I had a core group of friends (which sadly had grown apart over the years), but after graduation, I remembered regretting not getting to know certain people who seemed pretty damn cool from afar. Also, I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do in life, and felt almost guilty that I was planning on majoring in English, the most common major for the indecisive . . .

Okay, see that? That’s all negative thinking. Now, I imagine if I had enough money for a therapist, I’d be given this advice: Stop thinking that way. If all these thoughts were yours, you should be able to stop them.

That’s what I’ve done over the years. These I-should-have, why-didn’t-I, pity-me thoughts have no place in my life. And any self-mocking on my part is just that — self-deprecation (sort of). I enjoyed college immensely, made lasting friends, and paved a way to my dream career. I mean, every day I look into my mirror and I know that I’m doing what I love as my job. I’m living in Brooklyn. I’m finally hunting putting myself out there. I’m starting a great MFA program and look forward to being published one day. I’M A FUCKING INDEPENDENT WOMAN. (All of this, I should note, is scrawled on my mirror in blood.) Why should high school matter so much? I’m not defined by who I was, but by who I am and will be. [To be honest, my bad memories are superficial; I could have had it worse, but didn’t. Example: I was never bullied (not like in my younger years). Or, thankfully, I wasn’t aware of being bullied.]

I made great memories at CHS. I loved working on the newspaper. I loved my friends. I looked forward to orchestra class and chemistry class taught by Bertenshaw, who could have also been a philosophy teacher instead. I still remember my junior year AP Language Comp class with Ms. Yamamoto. In this class we wrote Occasional Papers, or personal narratives, that really allowed us to develop our writing voices. We were Admiral’s Soldiers. When we received our college acceptances, we made our own posters and hung it up all around Ms. Yamamoto’s office. There was magic in that class, and I will always cherish this time.

Now that I’ve typed all of this out, I’m actually excited about my high school reunion. It’s an opportunity to catch up with people (read: go into stealth mode). Some are engaged, some are married (kids?!). Others have awesome jobs. Yeah, I know this because of Facebook. I’m excited to see how people have changed. Will the bitches still be bitches? Has anyone come out? Did anyone get a sex change? These are, after all, important questions.

If everything goes to hell at this reunion, then at least I’ll be inspired to write a blog post or a dark short story in which the characters will strongly resemble my high school classmates.

If things go even more south than that, then at least I’ll have margaritas burritos to knock back, because our classy reunion will take place at Aunt Chilada’s.

 

I’m glad to report that I do not wear pink anymore.

Ha, what a NERD. Who spends time in the library lik wat iz reeding?

A different kind of princess

The world of Disney is unveiling a princess who might just be able to kick other princesses’ royal behinds.

Disney Pixar released yet another extended theatrical trailer for “Brave” yesterday. The movie will join the likes of “Toy Story,” “Up” and “Wall-E.”

Princess Merida, the protagonist of the feature film, lives in the rustic Highlands of Scotland, which is shadowed in mystery and run by tradition. Her father, King Fergus, rules the land. Princess Merida has unruly red hair that could rival the bushiness of book version Hermione Granger’s hair, a rough Scottish brogue and triplet brothers who are more than willing to participate in her fun and games.

Based on the trailer, there’s a tradition that says the princess must marry a Scottish lord. Yet Princess Merida is strong and independent and would rather “stay single and let [her] hair flow in the wind as [she rides] through the land, flying arrows into the sunset,” according to her father.

Ultimately, her staunch resistance to the court’s norms causes disappointment with her parents and talk from the kingdom’s people. Princess Merida wants her fate to change and seeks a witch who can do that for her. But this is where her plans go wrong, and she must prove her courage in righting them.

Brave diverges from the typical Disney kingdom-set feature films because of the protagonist’s free-spirited, fiery and independent and the presence of a motherly figure in the film.

Often in Disney movies with a royal theme, the (step)mother of the princess is either horribly cruel or neglectfully absent.

Look at the examples: Snow White’s mother tries to kill her with a poisoned apple. Cinderella’s stepmother treats her like a slave and prizes her dumb and dumber daughters. Sleeping Beauty’s Aurora grows up in a cottage, away from her mother for her own protection. As evident from the trailer, Merida’s mother, Queen Elinor (voiced by Emma Thompson), tries to secure the best future for her headstrong daughter.

Well, Princess Merida makes it hard for the Queen to plan her future.

The suitors that Princess Merida must choose from are painfully unappealing. One scene has them displaying their ‘skills’ in archery. The next scene shows Princess Merida beating all three and the incredulous reaction of the crowd. That’s right, Katniss. You might have a rival in Princess Merida.

Most of the Disney princess need to be saved – from their broken homes, other nasty suitors and assassination attempts from vain and vicious queens. If it weren’t for Prince Charming, Cinderella would still be slaving for her stepmother. Without Aladdin, Princess Jasmine would have had to marry the lecherous Jafar. If Sleeping Beauty didn’t get that kiss, she’d still be in La-La land.

Princess Merida, the heroine in "Brave."

To make up for the ‘trials and tribulations’ that these princesses have to go through and also to appease the audience, moviemakers often allow the princesses to have happy endings: uncharacteristically good looking, and sensitive husbands who claim they will protect their princesses for life.

Well, this is the day and age where the U.S. Census in 2007 says the number of divorced or widowed people in America is 36 million. Men who attempt to charm women with such lies would probably earn a scoff rather than a swoon.

I’m not trying to say that romance is not a good thing, but if a kid watches one of these Disney movies religiously, he or she might have some highly unrealistic expectations for his or her own future romances. Princess Merida shows that marriage is not the first thing on her list – and that’s perfectly fine.

The adventure in the feature film also sets it apart. Arrows, horseriding, swordfighting are all expected to be part of the plot. In one scene of the trailer, Princess Merida jumps into the air, trying to escape the grasp of some terrifying creature with claws that seriously need to be clipped. But then the screen fades away, holding the audience in suspense.

“Brave” won’t be released until June 22, but for the time being, the parents will be glad to know that there’s a new female role model for their daughters at the end of the wait.