A friend from high school posted a series of snapshots from our teenage years to her flickr account.
At first it was funny how those things often are: Oh look at our clothes! My hair! The eyebrows!
Then I got to a set from a trip we took with the showchoir. (Yes, I was in a Glee-style showchoir. Only without the Top 40 hits and pregnancy.)
In all the pictures from that choir trip, I’m smiling. Clearly ignoring the raging acne in my T-zone. Even I can’t see any sadness behind my eyes.
But I know better. On that trip, which I had all but forgotten about, I was sad in a way you can only be when you’re 17 and have lost your first love.
My high school sweetheart was a dark-haired, dark-eyed boy who I dated on and off for four years. I’ve racked my brain, but I can’t remember why we broke up during the spring of our senior year just weeks before this choir trip and the senior prom. Whatever the reason, it was probably my fault. Let’s just say he was the steady to my flighty.
This breakup was different because, for the first time, he had started dating someone else. This Someone Else was in choir with me, and had a long-standing crush on the boy. So, for a time, victory was hers.
The school field trip involved two long bus rides and an extended weekend with a relatively small number of students. I couldn’t get away from the Someone Else and her dreamy new-love bliss. While the boy himself wasn’t in showchoir or on the trip, his new lady love made it impossible for me to forget his absence in my life and his presence in hers.
I’m telling this fairly innocuous teenage love story because everyone has their own version of the same events. We all have a thousand little – and not so little – hurts that may stem from a rough childhood, teenage heartbreak, bad decisions made. Most of the time those that fall into the smaller hurt category – like my feelings on a choir trip 12 years ago – are written off as insignificant and almost embarrassing.
Taken alone, they are insignificant and definitely embarrassing, but they are still etched on our soul and we bring them to the table every day. Add them all together, and they make us who we have become.
I went through my friend’s posted pictures and felt waves of emotion I didn’t know I had left. I was momentarily happy for the trip down memory lane, and happier still to click “close window.”