Damn you Schoolfriends…

by Téa Smith
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I had a heart “procedure” on Monday, and as a result, am limited in my activites whilst I recover. In spite of the “imposed leave” (see previous post) I am on, I can’t even do housework because I feel too crook. Anyway, after visiting the Lisa Loeb Forum for the fourth time with no new posts, an email appeared in my Inbox from Schoolfriends announcing that there are new people registered at my school. So, in my boredom I wander over to schoolfriends.com.au (which I haven’t visited in a good 6 months or so).

To my surprise, there were actually two new names I recognised. I contacted one of them, and the other caused me major stress and made me question my whole existence. For obvious reasons I won’t name names, but I will call her “M”. Let me take you back…

M was the person at school you simultaneously hated and wanted to be. She was good looking, artistic, intelligent, funny, and popular. And to make matters worse, she got “Champion Girl” at our school athletics carnival. She was on the student council, she organised the ball. She was Head Girl. She dated the “cricketers” (which really is a stupid thing to look up to her for — after all they were just vacuum headed bogans anyway…but still), and, to top it off, she had money. She didn’t appear to need anything.

I, on the other hand, was the ‘gifted’ child that was never understood (That would imply, of course, that I am understood now, which isn’t the case!). Roald Dahl’s “Matilda”, may as well be my life story (except for the super powers bit…I haven’t quite mastered that yet). I came from a family best described as the “underclass”, whose primary objective was to sabotage any attempts of other family members to better themselves. From the day I turned 14, I was working most afternoons to pay my own school fees. I was good-looking enough, but only wore what I could afford. I was athletic and played sports, I was involved in the school radio station. I also had a smart mouth, which was the source of a lot of my problems at school… but still. I had my fair share of achievements in school, was always bright, and in hindsight it wasn’t so bad.

But M was that person that always made me feel fat, ugly, stupid and poor. I used to look at her life and wish that I had it that good. No matter how hard I worked to buy new clothes or to fit in, she always came out better. And I doubt she even realised it. I don’t think I ever saw her work for anything. Of course, she did, but in my teenage dreamland her life was better.

So, long story short, like anyone who didn’t fit in I always secretly hoped that I would end up more successful than everyone — I would breeze into my reunion and everybody would love me again. I would have a grand old pissing contest AND be a wonderful person and they’d all love me. However, after high school I didn’t really give it much more thought, and figured she’d just become a normal person with a normal job and I would keep plodding along until my hard work pays off.

Which brings me to my schoolfriends visit. I see M’s name — teasing me. Lulling me into a false, voyeuristic, one-upping moment where I think I have won. I click on her name. And damn, she’s successful. She spends half her life in the US and half her life here. She’s happily engaged to her boss, and, yet again, leads a nice life in the fashion business, as well as taking some of her valuable time to work with underprivileged children in a third world country in between travelling. Is this a joke?!

And suddenly, I am 15 again. I grumble to myself that this isn’t how its supposed to be — people like that are supposed to be unhappy, miserable and poor, and those who work hard are supposed to be a success. After all, that’s what Romy and Michelle told me! Janeane Garofalo’s character got rich from quick burning paper, didn’t she?! And the cheerleaders and jocks all ended up loser drunks! Thats how its supposed to be!

So now, here I sit, feeling completely and utterly inadequate, realising that my 10 year reunion is happening in 2 years and I have very little to show for it, except a bunch of qualifications and no stable career path. How boring is it to be a public servant? Not only that, but how much of a loser am I that I am not even a permanent nor important public servant? It doesn’t look very promising, does it? I am sure in ten years I will feel differently, but man, just once I would like to metaphorically trump M. Yeah, that’d be nice.

Hey there, I'm Téa

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