To say that high school was not one of the best “seasons” in my life would be an understatement. I think it seems worse to me now than it did then, but it seemed pretty sad most of the time then. I wasn’t attractive or intellectual or self-confident or fun enough to ever really feel like I had a niche. The greatest grace during that time was that I did have some wonderful friends, some who are my friends to this day. But overall, I don’t remember ever aspiring to being thin and beautiful or bright and fun, but I do remember the constant wish to just be invisible. I muddled through, and at this stage of my life realize that a good portion of that could just be chalked up to adolescent angst, but some of it was very real. Overweight girls in high school, at least in the early 70’s took a lot of taunting. One crystal clear moment for me was when a teacher who I respected said to just hold on, that some of us weren’t meant for high school, that life got so much better after graduation.
He was right, and I have an eye now to spot kids that are truly just not meant for high school, and I pray they can just hold on until they get into a bigger, more tolerant world.
I have been so moved and so inspired by the It Gets Better series of videos. Some very courageous folks and also very successful have held out a hand to pull a kid through, encouraging them to hold on- that life indeed does get better.
So, I just this weekend read this great quote from E.M. Forster, writtten over 100 years ago and I wanted to shout, “Amen!”
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and bies; school was the unhappiest time of my life, and the worst trick it played on me was to pretend that it was the world in miniature. For it hindered me from discovering how lovely and delightful the world can be, and how much of it is intelligible. From this platform of middle age, this throne of experience, this alter of wisdom, this scaffold of character, this beacon of hope, this threshold of decay, my last words to you are: "there's a better time coming."
Keep your eyes open- there are lots of kids out there- some overweight or gay or just awkward- who need a hand to make safe passage from adolescence to adult life where it does, indeed, get better.