Emotional ramifications of going back to high school.

So my high school reunion was last weekend. There were lovely balloon arrangements, pizza and beer. I felt like shit.

Me on the left.

I know I wasnt supposed to. I lost a grip of weight, created a beautiful family and started a business. I am the person who is supposed to be stoked to go back and show everyone what Im up to, right? I wasnt.

High school was not fun for me. I had fun in high school, but mostly in spite of it. I went to the kind of large school where if you wanted to be on the dance squad, you needed to have years of dance experience. Team sports for me were out of the question with my lack of athletic ability. I stuck to the journalism room and had fun with my friends outside of school activities. This was a time in my life where feeling invisible began to get pretty intense. But that is a feeling I brought with me, as I remember feeling the same way in my preschool ballet class (where I gave up my ballerina dreams because I was too fat, at four). I was overweight, no ones homecoming candidate and the type of chick that other kids could sit next to all year in class and not remember in the hallways. This was how I experienced high school. Im sure this isnt everyones perception of me during that time. But perception is reality and those demons ruled my reality.

There are worse things. Much worse things to suffer than feeling invisible. But as my weight climbed in high school I continued to feel gigantic andsimultaneouslyas though I was fading away. And while I had my share ofencounters with your run of the mill high school ass holes (who didnt) this had little to do with others and everything to do with how I felt about myself.

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Even in the midst of theoccasionalutterly rude and degrading behavior directed you, this matters so much less if you dont agree with what is being said. But I agreed. And I soaked up every insult as well as every time I was simply overlooked. In fact I still have to introduce myself to people Ive known most of my life- partially due to the physical change and partially due to my selfprescribedinvisible disorder. I remember one of my friends really cool boyfriend saying something about me to her, I dont even remember what it was, just that I was shocked he knew who I was. I was at this guys house with her all the time, but I just didnt think any one noticed me.

While I had quite a low point in college with regards to self worth and subsequent poor decision making, I was much more involved in college. While I didnt feel beautiful I did feel smart. I was involved and engaged.

High school; not so much.

So when I went back and was surrounded by the same people who were there with me through my invisibility I felt exactly the same. Again, nothing to do with how anyone behaved just me going back to that place in me.

It was awful. I havent felt like that in so long. And not only was it harrowing just to feel that way again, I then beat myself up for feeling that way. Damn it, Erin. Youve come so far. You arent that person anymore. Also not helpful.

Im writing about this because Ive arrived at the other side and I know Im not alone here. When you change, especially dramatic life changes, and then find yourself in the same environment or circumstances as the old you, its so easy to have those feelings come flooding back. Be it an old relationship, job or reunion. But heres the cool part that I realized after my 24 hour funk

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You get to decide everyday who you are. You may change. You may backslide. You may make leaping bounds forward. And sometimes you may just fall right into the dumps. But everyday you have the same opportunity to bandaid those hurts if you need to and start anew.

And this weekend of crap also re-iterates what Ive been screaming over here forever those feelings about your weight, are just feelings. And they are feelings that will stay with you until you get your head right- not your body. I have been a size 20. I walked back into high school a size 6. The feelings were the same. Because wherever you go- there you are. They say as soon as you think youve learned a lesson God tests it. (Insert the universe, mother earth, collectiveconsciousness, whatever you believe in). Perhaps this was my opportunity both remember what that was like and bounce the hell back. Because this is who I am now.

This last weekend I felt like high school Erin. I had nearly forgotten how lonesome that felt, to decide to be insignificant. But I got my ass back in the gym (the place I go torejuvenate), called on my alter-ego and got right back to me. Today. The me Ive evolved into. And because everything that had brought me down was in my head, so was everything that brought me out.

Its never really about anyone else.

So in case you ever forget how far youve come, you can always snap right back. You are strong, beautiful and powerful beyond measure. Use that power to lift yourself up and never kick yourself because you are down.

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