far too much writing, far too many photos

This being here doing the packing thing — it’s pretty weird.

First, there’s being back during my favorite time of year. This flat is at its best during autumn/winter, it’s felt like a strange irony to be here closing it down while it feels so pleasing. One could, I suppose, choose to look at it as (a) I get to experience the place at its finest once more before bolting, or one could look at it as (b) it makes it more difficult, more painful to bolt.

Or one could substitute ‘poignant’ for ‘difficult’ and ‘painful.’ Making it possible to accept both (a) and (b).

Much better. Why choose when you can vacillate between options?

So I’m sorting — boxing some items up, pitching others. (More boxing than pitching to this point, I admit, lapsing into a sudden abundance of sports verbs.) Today I came across my high school yearbooks, took some time to go through them.

I bought a yearbook for every year of high school — three in all. I have no idea how normal or aberrant that is, I just did it. ‘Cause I had a life in high school. After three grueling years of junior-high misery with few friends and zero self-esteem, I suddenly found myself with a genuine, substantial life, rife with activity and amigos. Could be I needed the yearbooks as proof of that. Three yearbooks full of notes from people who enjoyed having me around, who liked seeing my face day after day. (”You like me! You really like me!”) Maybe I needed tangible evidence of that shift. Maybe I just found it all so hard to believe that I needed pages and pages and pages of people expressing appreciation for my sadly insecure self.

So I gave me that. Not that all the notes were that kind of sterling character reference. There were form-letters (”You’re a great guy! Don’t ever change!” “It has been nice knowing you — good luck in the future.”). There were a handful of notes giving me a gentle talking-to — not a bad idea in light of some of the dramas I got myself involved in (”Try to see past the bad because there lies a great horizon of good.” “Don’t let everything have such an impact on you.”). But mostly there were expressions of friendly regard, from the blithe scribblings of acquaintances (”Have fun being a senior, it’s the best time of your school years but also the saddest.”) to expressions of real emotion, real appreciation from friends (”You are probably the warmest person I’ve ever known and I have truly treasured these last years.” “I will always be there [for you]. That’s a pretty difficult thing for a person to say, but when I’ve found a gem as wonderful and rare as you, it can be said truthfully.”).
[Note: the woman who wrote that last bit pretty much dropped out of contact immediately after graduating. Hmmm.]

And then there were the unclassifiable scribblings:
– “As the year comes to a close, go blow. This year has been hell — oh, well. This summer is National Party Time — I’ll see you at quite a few. Keep smiling, you fag. As always….”
– “It’s been a great year (choke!). School sure is a wonderful experience, as we all know. Well, it’s over and you’re going to a far better place (choke!). Your pain-pal….”

My high school years: turbulent, wacky, intense, brilliant, lost, hilarious, heartbreaking. Wrenching, comic, surreal. Hormone-sodden.

At a certain age, the biological imperative kicks in, beginning the prep. for reproduction. Granted, the ensuing clarification of our sexual polarities is deeper than the simple drive to reproduce, but ignore that for the moment. At a certain point, these physical mechanisms of ours begin acting on instructions buried deep within the system and the secretion of life-altering substances begins. What a sneaky move. Our bodies spring massive, unnerving surprises on us (menstruation, growth spurts, nocturnal emissions, acne) at the same time that we become wildly insecure about ourselves. A demoralizing combo.

Life would be so much simpler without the hormones, don’t you think? (Just say yes.) Strictly speaking, I don’t know that the pre-hormone me would have been described as happy, in the original sense of the word happy (i.e., happy) — but I at least wasn’t completely out of my fucking mind, you know? Once the hormonal era arrived, chaos progressively became the order of the day. Sanity, peace of mind, stability pretty much flew directly out the window.

But you don’t want to hear about that.

Hmmm — I notice I’ve strayed a bit from yearbook stuff. Probably all for the best.

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