Thursday 5 July 2012

The Complex Society That Is High School...

...and why it's not as bad as you might think.

   It's something I've been pondering lately, since I started these dancercise DVDs. I work out for 30 to 50 minutes in my living room every day to these DVDs and I find myself drifting back in my mind to high school P.E. lessons. I always took part, even if I felt ill - I was a good student like that. I didn't enjoy them, though, and neither was I good at it; I hated both the physical activity and getting changed quite equally.
   But as I work out, voluntarily, on a morning, strutting this way and leaping that, I find myself wondering just why P.E. was so hard.
   Other girls. That's why. And I'm sure it's similar for guys, or probably, at least. And it's not limited to just physical education. It's high school in general.

   I used to hate it when my parents acted like I was being silly when I came home with school problems. Don't get me wrong, they were there for me, and they helped the best they could, but I really didn't appreciate their occasional attitude. I was often picked on, as were all of my friends, but I never got into physical fights. I was challenged to one on my very third day of high school, actually, by a stupid little girl who found 50p on the floor. She went around asking whose it was - likely confirming if she could keep it - and when I checked my dinner money and found I had 50p less, I figured it was likely mine. Oh, well, she didn't like that, and told me to meet her outside the school that night to fight it out. I ran home terrified that day, but that was the only time ever such a thing happened.
   But I digress. I hated how my parents saw my problems, and I hated it when they spoke the infamous parental line of "you'll understand when you're older". How patronising. I was 12, I knew everything there was to know about life! I knew that bullies were deadly, that maths was impossible, and to be different meant you were just asking to be picked on.
Primary school - shame most of my teachers were evil!

   I suppose to some degree, all of that is true, but when you're in high school, it can seem like life is completely against you, that no one understands you, and that you're just walking in a hopeless circle of misery, fear and expectation. And exams. I don't miss them.
   I may have only left school four years ago, but it's amazing how far my mind has progressed. Bullies? Pshh. Children who get angry when they don't get what they want. There's no need to cower before them, or stand up to them. Just ignore them. It seems like unhelpful advice but it certainly worked for me. Their words mean nothing. They are just words, that's it. To let yourself get hurt by them is just silly. If they had some kind of proof to back up the names and taunts then you might have some grounds to get concerned, but it's highly unlikely that "ugly" or "stupid" can be proven by people like that.
   My friend and I were always picked on, but I stopped reacting to names and taunts and more or less ignored them. They weren't important. After my third year, the bullies would nod courteously, aknowledge my presence, but otherwise leave me alone because I wasn't a fun target, despite how I dressed and behaved. My friend, on the other hand, who was far less conspicuous than I, would react, and was picked on right up to the very last day of high school.

   It's mostly fear we seem to go through, fear of not being accepted, or fear of being picked on, or just fear of being noticed. At 15, you either want to blend in perfectly and go by unnoticed, or shout ANARCHY and do as you please. I was a mixture of the two. I wore black, had heavy black eyeliner, listened to death metal, got piercings and tunnels in my ears - but I didn't want to be picked on, and I always hoped to go by unnoticed. It never did me many favours in the beginning, and yet I managed to get away with it.

Beginning Of High School - so glad to have lost that fringe.

   I suppose I've just been thinking how important the little things seemed back then, how being bullied was the worst thing in the world, and homework was the worst thing to have to do, and deadlines and exams were the biggest worries a student had. Everything was so trivial then, and things other people worried about, like crushes, feeling like no one will ever love you, or being picked on for being fat, it's all just as trivial, and ridiculous.
   Perhaps it's something in the air in those places, some kind of aggressive pheromone that strikes fear into anyone who smells it, and causes them walk on egg shells for five years through fear of being noticed, thinking for themselves or realising that there is light at the end of the tunnel. A dark, long tunnel it may be, but light there is. Most people are the same, copies of one another, and it's hard to stand out in the right way, and to be yourself. I wonder sometimes - only sometimes - when I look at ordinary people if they're really what they seem, if they're happy, or if they've been moulded that way by the society and environment they grew up in.

   So, my silly little high-school-goers, the next time you want to break down in tears because your 2 week crush isn't interested, you haven't learned the difference between love and infatuation, someone calls you a name and you worry just so much what people think of you, take a moment and slap yourself in the face. High school is like that for everyone except a lucky few. Home schooling is rarely the answer - social interaction is a big and necessary part of school. It's even on your time table - it's called "break time".
   The world is not hating on you, nothing is against you, you're just only noticing the bad stuff because of your age. Focus on your work. You will fall in love, you will find a job, you will be happy, and the bullying will stop. Just trudge through these measly few years of high school, try to find the best in it, and when it's all done and dusted, you'll have found who you are, and you'll have formed some priorities, and may have some semblance of a possible career ahead of you.

   Sorry for the long and incoherent post. I'm not great at getting my point across in any kind of understandable way. If I'd said all of this to your face I'd probably have gone off on a tangent about school dinners or teachers I didn't like.


  1. I totally look back at my high school years with rose colored glasses. I remember chatting with my best friend and saying "Eh, it wasn't too bad!" when in reality when I read back over my old journals I remember being teased, fights with my parents, all sorts of drama.

    I don't miss it AT ALL.

    1. No, me neither. I look back and I, too, see all the good points - it really wasn't that bad, it's just that when you're young little things seem so much bigger. Once you get older you learn to deal with those things, your priorities change, and things you never had to think about before become important - like money and careers - while silly things like bullies and fitting in just seems so trivial.

      If I were to go back to school now, I like to think everything would be different, but the more I think about it the more I think the atmosphere schools have would revert me back into the silly little girl I once was.

      I, too, don't miss it at all. Despite all the problems in my life right now, life is still good ^^


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