A world of its own behind a facade
I am writing something different this time around. I had an eye-opening experience a couple of weeks ago (May 2011) when I flew home to Vancouver Island.
I went home to see my girlfriend, a beautiful woman who I have known for 27 years. We spent the two weeks together in her fifth-wheel at a beautiful place called Fort Victoria. She was staying there as she was also re-training to become a EMR in Victoria at the Justice Institute.
While I was there I met some others with whom I have not had the privilege of speaking with in a few years.
However, this time around I did, and it was on a different level than before. We are all adults, in our 40’s and have children; high school is far behind us but the effects of that life still affect some.
What I learned through conversation was surprising. Let me explain what I mean.
High school is a world of its own, it has its own hierarchy and its hallways are filled with people not being themselves but trying to fit into some sort of a mould. Many have preconceived ideas of who the other person is and who they think people expect them to be.
My friends told me that who they came across to be or who they were labelled as over 20 years ago were not who they were at all or even wanted to be, but that they were just trying to fit in while others were simply trying to dodge the bully radar.
What John told me really surprised me. He partied like most of us did; he had friends and other people around him like many of us. He and I would hang out together every morning, and sometimes skip out and make our way to Nanaimo or cruise on down to one of the beaches; we also partied together once in a while. I thought he was a secure person and a social butterfly. However, he told me that he was not like that at all, but instead, insecure and not very social as he never felt like he fit in, as a matter of fact, he told me that he spent a lot of time alone. His words surprised me and confused me-and then made me think of the alternate universe known as high school.
He was not the only one.
My girlfriend also told me that there were times when she was bullied and felt out of place. How did I not see this back then? We were very close, and yet I had no idea; she, like many people kept it to herself. No one ever said anything negative about her to me. Mind you, that would have been stupid of anyone to do, as I never put up with anyone bullying another student or anyone else for that matter.
I heard similar stories from many of my friends recently. So the question I pose to you all is this. “What do we really know of the people who walked inside the walls of the alternate universe known as high school?”
The world within the walls of any school, in any country around this planet is not reality; however it does affect each and every person in either a positive or more commonly in a negative way. The people we thought we knew, we don’t really know at all, do we?
So many children in high school are insecure, whether they admit it or not, they perhaps come across as strong and confident, but deep inside they are scared and/or insecure.
Schools are filled with people trying to be grown up or to just grow up, filled with people who can’t wait to get out from behind the façade of the universe which dwells behind those walls.
Many people after leaving, still deal with wounding’s of those years, for many years thereafter. Some do overcome it; some carry it for the rest of their lives. And some who were on top of the hierarchy still think or try to live in the real world like the big shot they were in school, but it does not work and so they then become depressed as the one from the lower rung is now the big shot in the real world.
There is another person who perhaps still needs to face the demons of the high school years gone by, to face those days and realise that he/she is a good person, a smart and beautiful individual, that person can be found by looking… in the mirror!
One last bit of information to think about. I did a quick facebook poll. 21 friends answered my question “Were you the person in High School that people thought you were?” Fourteen said no, four said that they don’t know what they thought, two said yes, one said that she did not go to high school and no one answered somewhat. So this goes to show that the majority of the students in school are not who people think they are. Now putting that together with those with whom I spoke, we can conclude that many students are looked at in the manner to be who others label them to be. This is never a good thing, as everyone ought to be allowed to be the person they see themselves to be and who they want to be. The labelling of any student by anyone (Whether peers, parents or teachers) has to stop.
After all, it was the famous Irish poet, writer and playwright, Oscar Wilde who said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
©Thomas H Czech, 2011