Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dear Mindi

In high school I had a YW leader introduce me to the show Felicity. Her name was Mindi, and she had all four seasons on DVD, so I would spend long Saturday afternoons at her apartment watching episode after episode. I love Felicity. I love her over-sized sweaters, her blue converse, her awkwardness, her borderline stalker behavior, her infamous season two haircut, her love of Sarah McLachlan, and her endless Ben/Noel debate. My favorite over-the-top-dramatic-but-incredibly-endearing aspect of Felicity is the tapes that Felicity sends to Sally. Sally was her high school French tutor, and Felicity has never been able to talk to anyone the way she talks to Sally. So instead of writing, she records cassette tapes and sends them in the mail. She always starts her tapes "Dear Sally."

In the middle of my Senior year of high school, Mindi moved to Tehachapi, California. After Mindi left, I was really tempted to start sending her tapes, but I felt silly blatantly recreating the world of Felicity. (Or maybe I didn't have a tape recorder.) So instead, I sent her a series of "Dear Mindi" letters. Maybe it's because I've been watching My So Called Life, or because I've been listening to my nostalgia-infused playlist on the way to work, or because I'm back living in the place I grew up, but I've recently been preoccupied with my high school days. At the risk of revealing how silly and emotional I was during high school, I'm going to share a Dear Mindi letter.

Imagine that your laptop is a clunky gray desktop, put on some Sarah McLachlan, eat a pizza pocket, get out your high school yearbooks, and enjoy this lovely blast from the past.

Dear Mindi,

Tomorrow I turn 18 and in 3 weeks I graduate and in 3 months I'll be a freshman in college. I can't imagine actually being done with high school. No more 6 period days where the classes are easy, but you still feel challenged. And all your teachers know your name, and know you're a good student. No more complete lack of responsibility, and no more Mt. View. No more seeing my friends every day and soon no more Vancouver. It's sad, and overwhelming. So many things are changing and life will never be the same. I'll move on and forget a lot of my high school days, and the sad days and the memories will blur into a blob of "high school" that will seem meaningless and so long ago. And I don't know how I feel about it all. I'm excited and I hate it and I'm nervous. But most of all, I hate this limbo phase where change is looming right ahead, and I know it's coming, so everything seems bittersweet. I feel carefree, but at the same time everything is tainted with the knowledge that I know it will be over soon.

It feels like all of high school I've been waiting to get out. I've been waiting to move on and be an adult and live. And now I'm almost there, and I want to go back and be kid. I don't want to go to college. It's like passing through doors that lock right behind you. You can't go back. Maybe I have control issues. I want to be able to choose. But time kind of takes the choice away. And I know college isn't really adulthood yet. But it feels like I'm giving a lot up. And I'll have to take on a lot of new things and independence. I really thought I would act differently to all this change. I thought I would be strong and indifferent and ready for what next year will bring. But I'm the opposite. I'm going a little haywire as it all becomes real.

My life has been consistent for the past 18 years. And now I feel that after this change, more change is just going to come, and I'll constantly be saying hello and goodbye to people and things I'm a part of. I need more consistency. Life really will never be the same, and it's all work and a challenge. It's like stairs leading up higher and higher and sometimes you reach landings and can rest, but ultimately you keep climbing and climbing. You never feel like you've made it, like you can just stop. But I guess stopping would be boring, and you wouldn't learn anything if you weren't going anywhere or doing anything. It just drains the energy out of me thinking about how uphill life is, and it's not going to change. But hopefully I'll change and be better at dealing with it.

All of these realizations are things I've known in the back of my mind. But until now they haven't really affected me, and I'm starting to realize that they are really true. It's so different to have knowledge floating around in your head than it is to really know it's true from experience. I feel like I have a lot of knowledge floating in my mind, but I don't know a lot of things. Does that make sense? So I could spew advice to myself about how to deal with certain things because I know that it will all turn out for the best in the end, but I really don't know that.

I think one of the hardest parts of leaving high school behind is the feeling that I haven't changed anything or done anything with the past four years. I don't feel really sad to say goodbye to friends, but it's almost sadder to know you don't really have anyone to say goodbye to. The past two years I've been floating in and out of groups of friends, which has been fun and a lot less drama. But in the end, I don't feel any strong connection . . . I feel easily forgettable. I just hope that all the people that I will remember will remember me too. I really hope they do. All of my best friends and the teachers that I have loved and the people I had long conversations with. I just want them to remember, so it doesn't feel like it never happened.

I'm being silly and sentimental, and I don't care. I'm too many emotions right now. I just want to fast forward to next year when BYU will be home, and this will feel like a long time ago. I can't imagine walking across the stage at graduation. And that feeling of everything being so final. What was it like for you? Were you as crazy as I am now? I need to feel sane about this.

In one hour and ten minutes I'm legally an adult.


1 comment:

Josephine said...

I don't think that is a silly email. It reminded me how weird those last few days of hs were. And how it is a big transition. I like that you said HS wouldn't mean anything later when it obviously does. I kind of felt the same way.