Wednesday, June 15, 2011
My 20 year reunion this Saturday
A lot has changed since I walked out the doors for the final time at Dunwoody High School in June of 1991. I was a skinny kid with no confidence, aspirations or faith. I truly believed that my life would be cut dramatically short by cystic fibrosis and that I would never have a wife or kids. I really didn't believe I deserved any of those things anyway. I was a follower then. I would do anything my friends would do just so I wouldn't appear to be different. I wasn't the smartest kid in the class nor was I the funniest. I could not comb my hair straight to save my life and wore T-shirts from rock bands that I didn't even listen to in order to fit in.
High school is a tough place to be if you have no self-confidence and I didn't. I had a fear of public speaking then too because as I've said, I hated to stand out. I was bullied a lot in high school which I credit to my lack of confidence and the fact that I was skinny as a bean pole. I never lifted a single weight in high school and it showed in my bony physique. When it was time to sit with anyone in the cafeteria, I was always concerned that I would make them look bad by being in close proximity.
I was always embarrassed about my high school days as I considered it my "loser" years though I doubt I was looked upon that differently and it's just an example of my low self esteem back then getting to me.
Today, I'm not ashamed to admit that I had geeky qualities in high school. Those qualities make me who I am today. What other dad wears a Superman shirt with a red blanket tied behind it to make his kids scream "It's Superman?" I'm not ashamed to say that I studied quite frequently because I wanted to better myself and again those habits still help me today when preparing for speeches or charity events. I may look a bit bigger and have more self-confidence now but deep down I'm still the geek who didn't quite fit in during my high school days.
Does anyone really "fit in" when it comes to high school anyway?
This Saturday I'll be taking Andrea to my 20 year reunion. I'm a little nervous but more curious as to how everyone turned out. I look forward to seeing people I haven't seen in 20 years. There are several individuals who I have talked to on and off for the last two decades so it won't be as strange to see them.
I thought of playing jokes like wearing my Letterman's jacket (for tennis in case anyone cares which is about a step up from chess club when it comes to wearing a Letterman's jacket) or bringing an entourage with me. Alas I still prefer to be that high school kid who blends in with the crowd, but just like in high school, because of the things I deal with every day, I do tend to stand out.
But the difference is that I'm okay with that now. I actually have learned to not only accept that difference but to use it as an opportunity to raise awareness for my foundation so that a cure will some day be in the cards for cystic fibrosis.
I'll let you know how Saturday goes.