Thursday, July 25, 2013
Turn the lights off, carry me home
I went back to my old high school the other night to give a talk about my 'career'. I was asked to do it a while ago and I said yes but as the date got closer I got some bad vibes and more and more thought that it was a bad idea. I was nervous, couldn't write my talk properly and had a feeling of dull dread every time I thought about the approaching evening. My high school experience was generally good, I had a handful of beautiful, fun friends and everything was generally fine but it just wasn't the place for me. There I was average, treated as average, encouraged to be average. It's like when Marge Simpson in the Simpsons tried to run her Pretzel Wagon and it wasn't going so well, and she says to Bart and Lisa "Aim low. Aim so low no-one will even care if you succeed". That's what I felt was encouraged while I was at high school. In my opinion it's in keeping with the Australian mentality in regards to 'Tall Poppies' - like, don't get too ahead of yourself. Don't have dreams because you just might just achieve them you know.
I can't even describe how strange it was to go back to my old school. I hadn't been back since my last day there almost 5 years ago, and so much has changed since that day. Getting out of that school and going to VCA was the best thing that ever happened to me, and I can't help but think how much earlier I could have come to know myself as I do now if I had of been in a similar environment to VCA where dreams are celebrated and people help and encourage you to achieve them. I guess a lot of creative people in high school felt hemmed-in or that their dreams were being quashed - I sure ain't the only one to feel that. But that was the reason I was feeling weird about going back, even though I am sufficiently happy with where I am in life at the moment so I had a good amount of "I told you so" to help me.
Anyway the talk was fine. I was as awkward as expected, made some jokes and was the only presenter, of course, to have made a powerpoint presentation and written out a long speech thing. I spent the whole day writing the presentation because I was so nervous, but I needn't have as I was looking out to a vast sea of uninterested, blank faces. They didn't get it. I could literally have got up on the table and danced to MIA's 'Bad Girls' and not get a reaction. I did get to introduce myself as an artist though, which was as much satisfaction as I expected from the experience really. Bleh. It's over. There was one girl though, who's Mother asked me a question. The young girl had a dark beanie on and a shy but smart half-smile on her face. If I reached her and not a single other soul, then I guess it was worth it.
When I left I vowed never, ever to go back again, unless they're like dedicating an assembly to me or something or you know unveiling a statue of me (HA) - so I had to take a selfie in the bathroom. I remember looking at myself in those very same bathroom mirrors at least 5+ times a day when I was 15, laughing high-pitched and hysterically with my friends, talking on our banned mobile phones, getting dressed into a mortifying and incredibly culturally insensitive costume insisted upon me by an art teacher making us do a Bollywood dancing performance at assembly, climbing over cubicles and more laughing, applying make-up to go to the shopping centre after school - it honestly seems like an absolute eternity ago. It could not be farther away.
Not one part of me ever missed high school. Not ever for a single second did I or do I wish I was back there, but I do get nostalgic for the carelessness of it all. It was so 'nothing' and I was so young and sometimes I think my nostalgia for these times is more me wishing I could re-live it with myself now - knowing what I do now, and being who I am now.
Since going back to high school the other night I've also found myself incredibly fond of listening to Blink 182, Good Charlotte and Greenday. Particularly heart-wrenching right now is Blink 182's like most popular song 'All The Small Things' which did serve as a soundtrack to some of my life in those early teen years. I find the lyrics genuinely profound and really reminiscent of youth and that particular brand of carelessness where you actually care about everything, but the everything you care about isn't really anything. I wish I knew then that the everything was nothing, and I would have concerned myself with more important things, asked more important questions, been interested in more important things. Being a teen is about being sad and not knowing why and missing something you don't know what it is. That was exactly my experience but what I didn't remember is that the night will go on, my little windmill. Ha. I hope you got that lyric reference. Anyway..