Writer’s Block: Blast from the Past?

writers-blockby Corinne Wnek

Over the past three months, I have been inundated with ‘save the date’ mail requesting my presence at another class reunion. I’ve lost track of which reunion is for which class or what school. Then, follow up phone calls and emails start to roll in, just to make sure I received the ‘save the date’ information. But it doesn’t matter because I never go to these things.

Present day life is hard enough without going back into the past. Middle-agers can’t identify anymore with whom they were at 17 or 21 and most don’t really want to. Some of us may even be physically unrecognizable today which is very good news for the ‘Hello, My Name Is…..’ label industry. Looks aside, it’s all about how lingering school experiences helped to shape the way we feel about ourselves today.

For some, reminders of adolescent life are painful. Memories of not fitting in with a particular social group can still haunt us 40 years after the fact. Flashbacks about not making the team but being offered the scorekeepers job instead, can reinforce our negative feelings of not being good enough. And we won’t even venture into the land of broken friendships among BFF’s where we first learned about trust and its evil twin, betrayal.

Reunions have their purpose, of course. They help raise money for a school and can even rekindle old friendships. But most, I suspect, are like those long-winded Christmas letters we sometimes get from someone we haven’t seen in years. For some reason, the sender feels compelled to sum up the year for us in painful detail. It’s always so wonderful and lovely, but usually only half true. I’m left wishing that I were a better liar.

Part of my dislike for reunions is based on fear. Fear that I still might not measure up to the ‘IT’ girl who sat across from me in Math class. She seemed to float, not walk, down the hallways, had great hair and was a brainiac. At fifteen, she had her act together. But, despite decades of my having a successful and genuinely happy life, fear of meeting perfect Lisa again send me right back to the tenth grade.

If I’m going to take a stroll down memory lane, it better be somewhere I really want to re-visit.

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