Thursday, November 5, 2009

DCMM: The Past Vs. The Present

This weekend I am headed to my home state of Utah, where I haven't been in more than a decade, to see some old high school friends, most of whom I haven't seen for more than fifteen years. We're going to hang out, hot tub, watch silly movies, and talk, talk, talk.

I'm not sure what to expect. I'm excited, but also slightly terrified. All of these women still hang out together fairly regularly, except for me. I feel like I'm getting ready to walk through some sort of social anxiety-inducing temporal wormhole to my past.

I'm still the same person I was in high school, but—no. Check that. I am in few ways the same person I was in high school. That Jean, whom I will refer to as "Past Jean," is in some very real ways a different entity entirely.

Past Jean was almost cripplingly shy, except with her close friends. She managed to disguise it (mostly), and often covered it with being outspokenly different—an easy feat for a liberal, non-Mormon growing up in Utah. Present Jean is on some fantastic anxiety medication and sort of doesn't give a shit what anyone thinks of her. (But, oh lord, please don't be mean to me in the comments. Sniff.)

Past Jean hadn't found herself yet, but she was pretty sure she knew all the answers. Present Jean is well aware that she doesn't know a damn thing, but she has a pretty good sense of who she is.
Past Jean had beautiful, straight hair. Being pregnant with three kids somehow completely wrecked Present Jean's hair, leaving her with a semi-curly, wild mop. Past Jean was also thinner. Present Jean is extremely bitter about both of these things.

There were a lot of things that Past Jean wanted, didn't want, and expected from her future self. That future self, who—stay with me here—is Present Jean, has turned out to be almost entirely different from what Past Jean imagined.

See, Past Jean was very deep and was going to major in philosophy and think very important thoughts. Slightly Less Past Jean realized after a course in logic and one on major philosophers that perhaps she was not so deep and, in fact, was majorly shallow and needed to focus on something a little less muddled instead.

There were no children or husbands in Past Jean's imagination. They were not something she wanted at all. Present Jean thinks that Past Jean might have been reacting against Utah culture just a teensy bit when she made these sweeping proclamations. Of course, Present Jean is swimming in kids, but still only has one husband.

Past Jean believed that if it was too loud, you were too old. Present Jean is way too fucking old.

Past Jean would never have written about herself in the third person.

Past Jean wasn't completely sure she liked herself. Present Jean is well aware of her faults and flaws, but knows she's kind of an all right sort of person.

I know that my friends' past and presents will likely be extremely different as well. We have all been shaped by our experiences in the 18 years (holy crow, I'm ancient) since we graduated from high school. I just hope that our Present Selves get along as well as our Past Selves did.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post.

Present Jean blogs about her life in a way Past Jean could never have imagined at Stimeyland. She also maintains an autism events information site for Montgomery County at AutMont.

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