My high school reunion

(Disclaimer: Written in a tipsy haze)

SSC'99 High School Reunion

It was my 10-year high school reunion tonight. Movies and TV shows have been made about this rite of passage. But from my 9-piece high school barkada, only 4 of us went. I kept trying to convince the rest to come – after all, this only happens once, how can you miss it? – but the instant I walked through those doors, I realized why some people wanted to sit this one out.

“This is a big blow to our self-esteem,” I told my friend as we stood there by the entrance, gazes upon us.

Everyone looked exactly as they did 10 years ago – I remembered them all, all their faces, though several had changed their nicknames into something cooler. Some had gained weight, while others looked spectacularly thin. Normally, I am comfortable with my own self-image – I have a good job that I also happen to love, I’ve done good for myself, and I don’t think I’m particularly hideous-looking. But what struck me as I stood awkwardly at those doors was the fact that none of those mattered.

The problem was nobody had aged, in my eyes – there was the nice girl, the mean girl, the popular girl, the quiet girl, etc – and they would always remain that to me, no matter how many leaves they’ve turned since I saw them last. That meant that they must have the same 10-year old perceptions of me. Who was I 10 years ago? I was the nerd, the perennial geek who got sent to speech competitions instead of attending school camping trips. I helped found the Film Club that made the 10-year old graduation video they showed tonight – I was also part of the the debate team, the creative writers guild, the church choir, and the math team (though I only competed once, and lost). In the graduation video, there was a shot of me – bad hair, glasses, goofy smile. That’s still me, isn’t it?

SSC'99 High School Reunion

For four years, I was part of the honors section – which meant I never really got to know anyone, because we were blocked off from the rest of civilization. So when they did roll call tonight, they called out our section (“4-O” – honors) and I stood up and whooped enthusiastically – only to realize I was cheering alone. (The rest of 4-O were there, mind you,  just sitting down and minding their own business, as nerds tend to do.)

“Tara – quizbee na lang tayo (Let’s just have a quizbee)”, joked one of my classmates. “It’s not like we were ever in.”

Once the beer and rum coke started pouring in, I felt much better. I noticed people would ask me either one of two things: “What are you doing now?” and “Are you married?” To the first question, I said I made games – and their eyes would glaze over and they would nod politely. Nobody asked what type of games I made or what my exact job was, and any achievements I may have had (first female game developer in the country? Producer/designer for the best indie developer in South East Asia?) didn’t matter here – it’s high school! For all intents and purposes, I was 16 again, geeky and awkward. (To the second question, I politely said I was single, and they nodded politely back.)

SSC'99 High School Reunion

Don’t get me wrong – I had a great time. It was nice to see everyone again, to exchange hugs and photos as if the world hadn’t changed in a decade. We laughed over teachers and memories and each other. But it was a completely different universe from the everyday one that I live in. Most people were married now, or living abroad, or looking and dressing fabulous. Meanwhile, I was still a geek – a successful geek, but still a minority of minorities. And as I watched the video we made 10 years ago, I realized that my geeky friends and I would always stay on the fringe – never in the cool crowd, but quietly living our lives unnoticed. Maybe that’s actually enough. I am thankful every day that I have the life and friends that I do – and while affirmation would have been nice, I think I can live without it.

EDIT: Pictures posted (taken by Mariel Ling). Also, I forgot I was part of the church choir, so I put that in. (I am so going to hell :D)

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18 thoughts on “My high school reunion

  1. Minaru says:

    You’re one of the coolest people I’ve met. Don’t let whatever they say get to you. If I were your batchmate I’d bug you about your job, and envy you.

    Haha naks honors! I wasn’t into any group. I was in the group of people who had no groups. Sorta. I was smart sure, but nothing great.

    Btw, section ko yun nung 4th year ako. ^_^

    Based from what I read, you haven’t changed. You’re a smart woman who is doing what she loves and I think in this day and age that’s hard to do.

    Affirmation? YOU GOT IT! *GALING NI MAM!!!*

  2. I felt a lot of similar emotions when one of my high school classmates got married in February last year. He was a friend of the Student Council, so that meant our batch SC was reunited: the four of us, back together. I was council secretary of my batch, and my SC was probably the geekiest in the history of the school.

    Even though our life circumstances have changed as adults, when we were together, my classmates and I all reverted to old dynamics and feelings. I asked one of them about it, and he said it felt weird, but also oddly appropriate. We grew up that way, and it was the way we’d always be to each other.

  3. renan says:

    nobody even asked what kind of games you wrote? wow talk about a tough crowd.

    you should’ve said “pimp” or part-time Columbian drug lord. that ought to really perk them up. :))

  4. People appreciate the fact that we’re game developers only if they play video games as well. I’m sure none of the non-geeks back in high school is gonna give a shit about what I do either. That’s why we geeks have our own little reunions. But I hardly ever go din XD

  5. meantoddy says:

    Well, I think game developers are COOL. And lots of BOYS like girls who know what they like. Hehehehe. Luv you loons! You’re not in the fringe in MY department. 😉

    Naku medyo tivo-ish na tuloy itong post ko. ^_^;

  6. moongirl says:

    Minaru: Hey, 4-O! Awesome. And thanks. You are also helluva smart – I hope nobody gives you crap about that, ever 🙂

    Dante: I suppose nobody ever grows up from high school, hahaha.

    Renan: I like the “I invented Post-It” joke from Romy and Michelle’s HS Reunion, but I don’t think I could’ve pulled it off, either. Thanks for passing by! 🙂

    Caroline: Indeed. We game geeks stick together like glue.

    Mean: Boys? Where?

    Ange: Aww, thank you 🙂

  7. Renz says:

    Your entry made me nostalgic about high school and I’m not even your classmate/batchmate. Awwww 😦

    I miss high school.

  8. Lara says:

    LUNAAAAAAA! Don’t ask me how of your blog haha.

    “But what struck me as I stood awkwardly at those doors was the fact that none of those mattered.” — so true, so true.

    Everybody has changed, but oddly we’re all still the same, for better or for worse.

    Being the on-the-fringe, outsider person I myself was, I was actually afraid to even walk to the door. I was clinging to Didy AND Herny hahahaha. But when we got in and were contemplating where to sit, I decided to sit near the center of the room. I guess that’s the part of me that has changed.

    I SO wanted to give you a big hug last Saturday. Even though we’re not barkada, and we never really talked for the most part of high school. And for some reason naiiyak ako ngayon, thinking about it.

    • Renz says:

      That’s still 4 years from now. 😐 You’re making me older when Renz is supposed to be 18 forever 😐 hahahahaha

  9. moongirl says:

    Lara: What on earth! Your comment went to my spam folder 😦 Thank goodness I caught it.

    And I know the feeling – I have the utmost respect and fondness for you, even if the last time I saw you was at your 18th birthday (OMG). I think it’s because we grew up together, you and me and KL. What do you say we keep in touch from now on? 🙂

  10. Lara says:

    yeah OMG nga! and yes, i think that’s it. 🙂

    as to your question, yes let’s. 🙂 beginning with: hey, i’m getting married! hehe. read my sparsely populated wordpress blog about it. ooh and i have another blog (at blogspot), which probably only kl and shiva read, and which i am sharing share with you: in_transit.blogspot.com. 🙂 link to kl’s stuff over there, too.

    and when we see each other again, give.me.a.hug!

  11. Renz says:

    In lieu of Lara’s comment that she’s getting married. I’m going to shout unto you Ms. Paraluman ******** *** Cruz. PRESSURE! PRESSURE! PRESSURE! 😀

  12. moongirl says:

    Lara: Wait wait! Where’s your WordPress blog? And CONGRAAAAATS! 😀 Oh wow! We’ve grown up! (Have we?) I wish you happy endings, dear. And yes, I’ll hug you!

    Renz: Shut up.

  13. Haha so far my sister jokes about my nerdiness. Haha, next to my friends, I feel like an idiot. XD.

    yay same section tayo…sorta.

    And thanks for saying am smart ^_^

  14. i subscribe to your blog now. this is cool!! This was so much fun to read. wish i was there for the reunion. it would have been to fun to see everyone. can you believe its been 10 years since we all graduated. not sure if you remember me….. i was in the maybelle, yups, kate and reena group.

    keep writing and ill keep reading 🙂

    take care

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