When Bob and I were in high school together, we were not dating. I had a boyfriend, and Bob was shy. I liked that about him. I could tell he was super smart and funny, but super shy. I of course mistook his shyness for me being unlikable. Which, because I have a need for everyone to like me, drove me nuts and made me try harder to get him. It wasn't easy, but he was no match for me. I win...I think.
I didn't really notice him until he came out of Totem Town (a juvenile detention center) for a crime he had committed. The boyfriend I had the entire time I was in high school, escaped from my grips, so Bob was my new target. I still remember the hall we were in when he came around the corner. I (corny as this sounds) took one look at him and thought, "there he is." I started calling him my husband, and writing Betsey DeGree on all of my folders. For all you single girls out there, that is EXACTLY how to make a man (boy) run. Not freaky at all.
So our senior year, we played cat and mouse. I chased, he ran. I was able to get his attention sometimes. And by attention, I mean that if he drank enough liquid courage, I was a sure-fire booty call. And then he wouldn't call me. It wasn't always like that. But because I would do anything to get people to like me, I was game.
Here is what this year got us. Voted "Biggest Partiers" of the class of 1989. I am pretty sure I was high in this photo.
By the time this picture was taken, I believe I was back together with my high school boyfriend. But I still had a major thing for Bob. Had he wanted, I would have stayed with him. I remember I was just so damn happy I got to sit on his lap for this picture.
I was pretty proud to be voted "Biggest Partier." Mostly because people had to vote for these titles. It was a big popularity contest. It meant people liked me enough to write down my name, and as you can see the common theme of my life, I live for that shit. I knew I wasn't good enough to get any of the other titles like "Best Smile" or "Most Likely to Succeed," so I was proud of it. But there was some validation for me that I had a role. And it was to drink, do drugs, and anything I wanted to do.
The girl in that picture was so sad, really. Her mother was dead, her dad had remarried and disowned her, and everyone else had a plan for after graduation, except her. My whole senior year was a lot of fun, but I was terrified and sad. I didn't have any hopes for myself. It makes sense that I drank and smoked weed daily. I didn't know what else to do.
For some of us, drugs and booze are what get us through the unbearable. There were many days back then where it hurt so much, I needed relief because I didn't know how else to cope. No one had taught me how. I am grateful I had something. I know that sounds stupid, but it is true. I am also grateful that I no longer need drugs and booze to cope.
If you would have told me that day, sitting on Bob's lap, holding those balloons, that one day we would be married with four kids, a few trips to rehab, a few deployments, PTSD and all of the other shit we have been through together, well, I would have totally believed you. I wouldn't have believed you if you told me that I would go to college, own a business (oh...and lose it) own a home, or that I was a worthy, good person. But if you told me that now, I would believe you.
Special thanks to Lori and Candi for texting me this picture. I cannot find my yearbook anywhere. Go figure.