|Me (far right) with my fellow honor grad gals|
In high school I had it made. I was always on the honor roll, I was president and/or vice-president of clubs for over-achievers, I was awesome at theater, I had a high school harem of boys that followed me around, I unquestionably always fit in a size 2 or smaller and I was voted most likely to become famous. Well, if cable access is famous, then call me Barbara Walters. Not to toot my own high-school horn, but high school me totally kicks almost twenty-seven-year-old me's ass.
I was just looking back at my old photos from the speech tournaments I used to compete in in high school. Yes, I competed in those nerdy speech competitions, but before you judge, I was damn good at them. I remember when all I had to do to feel satisfied in life was to practice a few hours a day on a weird cutting from some random play so that I could take home first place and add a new shiny plastic trophy or gold medal to my collection of validity trinkets. It was all so simple. I knew I had talent, I discovered a pretty fool-proof formula for winning, winning made me not hate myself, and bam! Perpetual content.
Looking back on it now I understand why being a theater major didn't seem like such a stupid idea. I thought that I could keep on winning like I had done before, and as long as I was winning, I would be happy. Oh how simple it all was. Unfortunately it took me almost four years to accept the reality that the formula for success in acting beyond high school speech tournaments was slightly more complex and filled with self-serving, no-talent assholes. Not that self-serving, no-talent assholes don't have what it takes to become successful actors, but it makes the cast parties simply unbearable.
So now I'm working on trying to be some sort of information disseminator. I prefer that to the term 'journalist' because I'm not trying to win any martyr competitions here. I think that journalism, as a noun, is a righteous and necessary thing to do, but that doesn't exclude those who practice journalism from being self-serving, undeservedly egotistical, hyaenas. But they tend to like to have intellectual conversations that don't involve talking about Constantin Stanislavsky or Samuel Beckett, which I appreciate.
I still find myself yearning for that simplicity though. As much as my bleeding-heart, liberal (some might throw hipster or hippie in there as well) soul would like to think that everything can be broken down into a neat little science, the truth is, everything takes a certain brand of finesse to be successful. And hell, the necessary brand might change each day, you never know. They don't really teach you that in high school. The lucky ones pick it up intuitively and learn to play along early, the ones that are slower to the punch (I'm raising my hand right now) get left behind.
I think after about eight and a half years, my sails are finally starting to catch some wind. In fact, I know a lot of people who will laugh at how hard I'm being on myself in this post. I am aware that I have some accomplishments under my belt worth being proud of, but the idea of having to go back to the old high school group to rub shoulders and settle up on success still sounds terrifying. Even though there are no trophies to be won (wait...will there be trophies? Shit! I better confirm that) I know that I will still be longing to be compared, to be measured, and to have someone just tell me straight up if I'm as badass now as I thought I was in high school. Is that sick? I'm going to need one hell-of-an outfit...