Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On Education

In the last few years, I've caught up with some people from my past- a few people I went to school with, a few people I lost touch with-
For the most part it has been nice. I had a terrible ten year high school reunion. No one I was close with showed up and I felt as if I was in a sea of vultures with no life preserve. I went into chatty survival mode, it was awful.
But now I have another significant reunion coming up and I am really looking forward to this one.
For one thing, they don't scare me any more and my own trauma is a part of my past I'm not that angry about any more. I spent a lot of time bitching about the bullies and writing about them and working out all that pain and angst. I mean, it really caught me off guard running into a schoolmate by accident at Cicero's about eight years ago. I was still so pissed off... she just brought it to the surface.
But then I have been thinking how much I have changed and how really, I should give those girls a chance. I decided to wipe the slate clean, and deal with them like I was meeting them for the first time, because in some ways, I am. I never really knew them back then- at least the ones I disliked.
I had a wonderful dinner with a former classmate in New York, a wonderful set of emails from a girl who was quite mean to me way back when and an exchange that ended up being quite cathartic.
And I think I have forgiveness in my heart for them- don't get me wrong, I still think some of their behavior was reprehesible and I doubt I will be shy telling them so but I forgive those lost little girls who were acting out.
I also think I have been quite lucky in many ways. As I was having dinner with my old classmate, she talked a lot about the pressure to be the best in school, to have the most A's and the highest scores and how competitive she was in certain classes because some other girl was excelling right next to her.
She wasn't mean about it- she just felt the internal pressure.
I thought back and realized my only competition was myself. I really did not care if I got an A in Algebra or if the girl next me was getting one. I only cared about getting the best grade I could get in the classes I gave a damn about. Which were mostly English and French and Drama.
I had no issues with knowing I could excel in whatever I wanted. I chose to excel here. I was only let down by myself. I was so self contained and secure in my intelligence, I knew very early that it was only me holding me back.
Sometimes I would forget there were others. If I hadn't been competing for a role on stage, I doubt I would have been competing at all. I like to win, I admit but I want everyone who deserves to be there to just be there. And there was no point in making a competition where there was one.
I'm actually significantly grateful for all that angst- it's given me great depth in my writing. I don't think the key is to pit kids against one another. I really feel like the better way is to unlock their potential.
As I ponder this, I know I will have more on it later...

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