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Blast Los Angeles Bureau

I didn't go to my 10th-year high school reunion simply because I wasn't in town. Then again, I wasn't dying to go either. It would've been strictly a mood-driven activity for me; I'd go if I felt like it, and blow it off if I didn't. After watching "Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion" and "Grosse Point Blank," I felt that it was even unnecessary to attend, since between the two of those movies, the reunion experience was well-covered.

The main reason I wouldn't have wanted to go is my feeling that my teenage years were remarkably similar to living in Hell. In my mind, I was a big loser. My parents were strict enough so that I wasn't allowed to do many normal teenage activities like sleepovers, dating and partying.

I was relatively unattractive, having to wear thick glasses and enduring bad haircuts. I wasn't particularly motivated in school, and I attended a school where academics were mighty important. No boys "liked" me. You know, pure wallflower material. So I was not one of the pretty girls, I was not a brain, I was not an artist or a jock or a thespian. I was nothing. I fit nowhere. And everyone who's been to high school knows that if you don't fit anywhere, you may as well not exist, even if you are a walking, talking, functioning human being. The epithet I inspired was "weird" -- the real kiss of death.

I felt so crappy about everything that I tried to commit suicide when I was 15 by taking a lot of Tylenol. I woke up feeling groggy and was angry at first that it didn't take. Was I grateful that I survived? Hardly. Eventually, the realization of what I had nearly done scared me, and I left pills alone, although I continued to daydream about an early, tragic death, as though my only claim to recognition by my peers would be precipitated by being the victim of a hit-and-run, or drowning in the ocean.

It's not uncommon for teenage girls to feel a lack of confidence and a sense of helplessness, especially when their peers are mean and cruel. The meanest people of all are teenage girls, and there's nothing they like better than preying on those weaker, i.e. less pretty, than they are.

Am I bitter? Yes and no. I wish that I had the guts to kick a couple of asses. I know senseless violence is wrong, but man, it would be satisfying to get back at some people who made me extra-depressed. On the other hand, I don't dwell on how miserable I was because things have improved dramatically since I got out of high school.

So what have I done since graduation? I have a B.A. I'm going to grad school. I traveled to Europe by myself. I've fallen in love. People have fallen in love with me. I've been published. I have a fun job. I have good friends. I may not be even remotely wealthy or famous and I am definitely not married with children, although I'm currently in a great relationship with someone who thinks I'm perfect. And I have a cat. I may not have realized all my dreams just yet, but my life is a far cry from the unhappy and mundane one that I envisioned in my youth. I wouldn't do anything differently.

But I only regret that I didn't actively seek help, for I see now that I needed more than my own resources. At the same time, pulling myself out of the abyss is a great feat in itself. I am proud, finally, of who I am.