To the Girls I Knew in High School (Who Are Now My Friends on Facebook)

high school Facebook - Boston MomsI graduated from high school in 1999. I’m turning 40 this summer. And even though I’ve been removed from the halls of Lincoln High School for 22 years, I don’t forget what high school felt like — and how I reacted and responded to those feelings.

For some, high school is the best time of their lives. For others, it’s the worst. And for me, it was a bit of both. I wasn’t exactly a mean girl (though some may disagree), but I wasn’t a particularly nice girl either. I was definitely full of self-doubt and insecurity but never had access to the vocabulary or understanding I needed to express that during my teenage years. I was always comparing myself to others, wishing to keep up, and feeling like I fell short most of the time. 

Me, in my senior portrait, circa 1999.

When Facebook first became a thing (after Myspace, of course), it was a great way to catch up with people and on people. It was a voyeuristic dream. It was like taking out a new technological ruler and finding another way to measure myself against the people I knew from my teenage years. Who was in a serious relationship? Who was married? Who had kids? Yikes! So young! Jobs? Careers? Divorces? Oh my! The new knowledge was endless and almost addictive. And I still felt like I was falling short.

I don’t exactly remember when it changed, but eventually I put the ruler away. Maybe it was after attending my 20th high school reunion. I spent most of that evening chatting with women I had not been friends with in high school. We hadn’t been enemies, we just weren’t friends. And I enjoyed myself. And I wondered why I hadn’t been friends with some of these women when I was in high school.

And now, when I look at Facebook and I see updates from these girls I knew in high school, I truly enjoy viewing their victories. I want to see pictures from their weddings. I love pictures of their kids (and their pets, too!). When they share a workout that they crushed, I get excited for them. When their home makeover is finished, I can’t wait to see before and after pictures. When they post selfies, I love their confidence. When they share their struggles, I feel for them. When they are angry about an injustice, I feel anger too. Some are married. Some are single. Some are moms. Some are not. Some are happy. Some are sad. Some are strong. Some are weak.

I relate to them all, in some way. I have empathy. I value their choices to share who they are with their friends, so freely and unabashedly. 

I spent a lot of those four years in high school pining over unrequited love, navigating the boundaries and intricacies of female friendships, and feeling generally uncomfortable in my skin most of the time. And now, as I stand on the precipice of my fourth decade on this planet, I realize that the girl I was in high school and the woman I am today are two completely different beings — but one could not exist without the other.

I look back at the girl I was, and I don’t miss her. I don’t feel bad for her, but I wish she could have had some of the knowledge and self-love I have today. I wish that for her because I know that is what allows me to show others love and compassion. That is why I so truly enjoy seeing the updates from women I was never close to in my teenage years. 

So, to all the girls I knew in high school who are now my friends on Facebook, keep sharing. Show me what you’ve got, what you’ve lost, what you’ve gained, and who you are. I am so sorry I didn’t get to know you in high school. I am so grateful I get to know you now. And I am here, on the other side of the screen, cheering for you every step of the way.

Sarah grew up in Rhode Island and now lives in West Bridgewater, making brief stops in Quincy, Fall River, and East Bridgewater, along the way. She made the leap from Rhode Island to Massachusetts way back in 1999 when she decided to pursue a teaching degree at Boston University. She chose her career in 1987, and is currently teaching High School English to 10th and 12th graders, fulfilling a six-year-old’s dream at the age of 22, a proclamation that often brings forth snickers from her students. She became a mother for the first time in 2016, to her daughter Cecilia, and doubled-down most recently in late 2018, with the birth of her second daughter, Adelaide. She currently lives with her husband, Jason, their dog, Nanook, their cat, Lanky, and six chickens. They share a home with her parents, who live above them, and also provide the most amazing childcare for Ceci and Addie. Sarah couldn’t live without her family, her insulin pump (shout out to other T1D mamas), and Starbucks Iced Chai Lattes. She could live without angry people, essay grading, and diaper-changing. She is looking forward to embarking on her maiden voyage into blogging with Boston Moms Blog and hopes you are too!