Lately, I’ve been somewhat obsessive about scanning in old pics from high school and college. Some are longtime favorites, some I haven’t seen in years. It’s been like a bizarre 8-Track flashback — seeing faces of old friends, some I haven’t talked to since I graduated 15 years ago. And it’s amazing how quickly memories pour in, flooding my vision and my emotions.
Some of my favorites are from my going-away to college party. The Shag Party. A few days earlier, J and I had come across the movie Shag and became strangely enthralled. That night, I found “Stagger Lee” in my mom’s record collection — the song featured the big dance competition number. So of course, we needed to learn the dance and perform it at my going-away party. Because, really, what else would you do in that situation?
We tracked down the movie and to the amusement and horror of my boyfriend, made him watch us and the film until we got the dance as close as possible (including our own flourishes). We then forced our most glorious performance on the well-wishers. And it was glorious, we were brilliant. I wish I had it on tape somewhere but these pictures suffice.
However, the most interesting thing I’ve found in this whole exercise of memory lane meandering? It’s changing my perception of myself from then — no longer am I convinced that I was hideously ugly. (Which is something that I held as indisputable fact from junior high through, say, four years after college. That mental change in perception is something for which I’ll always thank PopGurl Amanda.)
In fact, I was kind of cute. I wish I could go back and tell myself that, and then hit high schools now and let awkward boys and girls of today know that the perceptions of themselves they have right now are not necessarily the right ones, and given some distance and perspective — the mirror they hold up is definitely more flattering and a whole lot more true.