This is a two-part post about high school as part of my Story of Me series. Check back for the second part next week.
When, I think about high school, I find that I have compartmentalized my experience into two distinct parts: theatre friends and Christian friends. I had two very distinct sets of friends in the social hierarchy of a high school that really was more like The Breakfast Club than I’d like to admit. (I would know, as in high school I also went through a major Molly Ringwald/Brat Pack/ 80s phase.) It’s actually quite a shame how segregated that high school was, but no fighting for change now.
This is about my life covered in paint, memorizing lines and learning lots about myself.
Arsenic and Old Lace, 2006
I have the fondest memories of theater productions and competition theater pieces. (If you don’t know, competition theater is a little like Glee and thankfully, a little not like Glee). Some of my greatest friends at the time were theater friends. Most of whom, I don’t really speak to all that often, if at all these days.
My life really did revolve around a schedule of fall play, spring musical and competitions. Those were the highlights of my life. It’s actually a bit sad to think my life at the time could be reduced to such small things, but at 15 that was my world. It was a good world full of crazy kids (some of whom I’m sure my parents thought were really crazy).
Honestly, one of the highlights on my high school existence was a pantomime of all things. I know, that sounds absolutely absurd now, but trust me it was fun. I’ll admit, it did get me and a group of classmates out of class to “practice” but that was the name of the game.
What did I really learn from my 4 years of painting sets, making props, memorizing lines and agonizing over auditions?
I might have gained some self-confidence, but I’m pretty sure most of that came much later. Mostly, I learned some things really are just for fun. Theater didn’t end up being my career and although, I love going to see plays, I haven’t even auditioned for one in ages. I learned to enjoy art and I do really think that’s been important for me. I started to learn about critical thinking, which is unfortunately a very underrated skill. I gained an appreciation for the people who do make it as actors because really I might have just a twinge (albeit not much) of jealousy. And maybe, something about working together/ not hurting the people you’re working with – a valuable life lesson.
I wouldn’t change anything about those years, even though some of the most awkward experiences of my life came out of them.
I feel like this post would be lacking if I didn’t mention that during this time and with this group of friends, I knew amazing people who were hilarious and fun and talented. But, I had a friend, who helped when things got really tough (and even at 16 my life had its rough patches) and made fun of me when things weren’t (and if they’re reading this are likely making fun of me right now). This friend, in hindsight, was wise beyond their years and I think at 16 everyone needs that.