I’m closing on my twenty year high school reunion.
Where the hell did twenty years go?!?
One of the gals I went to high school with created a Facebook group, I’ve watched the threads posted, the comments and the pictures… Let’s face it, without the pictures I don’t remember more than a third of the people I went to high school with.
I don’t miss it, I don’t look back at high school and think, those were the best years. High school sucked plain and simple, sucked more than any teen movie portrays. The popular crowd ignored those not among them, bullied some, laughed openly at others… I wasn’t bullied in high school, but I was bullied in junior high (different school district); this set a hard life lesson that not everyone is going to like you and you can’t be everyone’s friend. At twelve and thirteen years old, that’s a rough lesson to learn. It’s probably why, by the time I hit high school and a new school district I no longer cared about the popular crowd and I couldn’t understand why anyone on “the outs” wanted to be like them.
What I do miss about high school, besides not paying bills and not having to be an adult yet… oh and the idiotic dreaming about how amazing being an adult would be, ugh weren’t we all blind! Do I actually miss anything? Well, I still think the music was better in the 90s. Fashion, well that depends on who you look at. Some of it makes me laugh. I would say an accurate depiction of how my generation dressed in high school would be one of two teen movies: Can’t Hardly Wait or She’s All That.
Thinking back before high school, during the years of 7th and 8th grade when I was bullied; I read just about every book I could get my hands on. My poor mother was making constant trips for me to the public library and I could spend hours lost in the isles. Remember this was long before the digital e-readers (kindles and nooks), there was no social media and no internet…thank god. I also discovered a love for drawing. At that age I did not know what good art supplies were or the difference. I just swiped my father’s pencils and any blank or even lined paper I could get my hands on.
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
Recently I changed my facebook profile picture; my more militaristic guy friends have taken to enjoying calling me a hipster. Which a slouchy beanie and flannel does not make you a hipster anymore than a law degree makes you President of the United States. I’ve worn flannels since high school, this one in particular happens to be over five years old (and Under Armor brand) an the beanie, well I have a very extensive collection of knit beanies in constant search of the perfect one.
So my friend Bee and I had a brief conversation about this, laughing; I commented how if I as a hipster it started in high school, or just before, but I was just more or less one of the art kids. Bee commented back how she would love to have seen some of my high school work. Bee has seen a few pieces I recently started working on. I feel very out of practice, but like anything, the more you sketch, the better things feel. I still have my college portfolio…before I ran off and joined the Army out of a broken heart… and a few pieces, sketch books, from high school. I know exactly where they are and without thinking I started pulling them out and sending her pictures of some of the different pieces that stirred old feelings.
Art washes away from the soul the dust of every day life.
Art is never finished. Only abandoned. -Leonardo Da Vinci
Some of the pieces were just doodles, some were pieces that had been turned in as art assignments. Pages upon pages loose in a folder or tucked into books. I use to not go anywhere without a sketch book and a couple pencils.
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. -Pablo Picasso
Sometimes, I wonder, if by joining the Army my young self, felt that I had to put away my past and all things associated with it, like my art. A year after joining the Army, I got married, suddenly and much shock to my parents. Inside, I know that somewhere I felt I was expected to grow up more, to change…sadly I did just this. There are very few sketches from the years I was married, almost none and even less from the few years post divorce. Post divorce is probably when I should have been sketching more than anything… *sigh* …instead I turned into a workaholic. I spent years this way, too many years. In fact, the past two years have felt like waking up from a coma…a walking breathing coma.
This past summer, after my lifting injury (slip disk in my neck) I started sketching again. I bought two new sketch books, one large and one small one. I need, want, to get back into the habit of carrying the smaller one with me again….like I use to do once upon a time. I still have all my old pencils, smudge sticks, paint brushes and other random things one collects, a cheap large tool box holds most the randoms and then late summer I dropped some cash for a new desk. Some days it seems to be a catch all for clothes during the week. But last weekend it served the purpose as a make-shift sewing table. The simple fact I am slowing bring back the artist inside me makes me feel more complete.