I wanted to impart some final thoughts about my recent visit to my hometown, Poughkeepsie, New York, chiefly in reference to the fact that I just learned that next year will be the 30threunion of my class of 1990 at Arlington High School.
Overall, I don’t have many fond memories of my high school years in my hometown, save the exception of my senior year, which only came after I put myself through a radical change in my dress attire, my overall style, my hairdo, abruptly quitting the swim team, and then immediately joining basketball intramurals. Even in light of that, I still wanted to show my partner Chris where I spent my schooling between the ages of 14 to 18 because it was a formative part of my younger years.
Honestly, it’s hard to fathom that it’s been almost 30 years now since I last walked through the doors of Arlington High School. While my senior year was far different than all of my prior years of grammar school, notably because of that chameleon-like transformation and also because it’s when I started to pick up heavy drinking, the likelihood is that you won’t find me attending my 30threunion. Why that is, well, it’s more than you probably think.
Of course, first and foremost, is what I already said, that I really was a nobody in high school, at least in reference to others throughout most of those years. There isn’t a single person today that I have any regular contact with from high school. Sure, there are those I’m friended to on Facebook, but beyond that, I just have no deeper connection to anyone anymore from those days.
A second reason why I wouldn’t attend is that I did attend my 20th, only to stay for about an hour and feel the entire time just like I did throughout most of my grammar school years, that being invisible. I still saw those who were once considered “cool” hanging with each other, and those who fit more into the class I once did, the “geeks, nerds, etc.”, be off by themselves. I still tried to mingle and carry on conversation anyway, but I just couldn’t relate, which brings me to my 3rdreason.
Not being employed, dealing with health issues, and my only point of interest in my life is my writing and speaking in my recovery world from addiction, doesn’t make for much good conversation at functions like this. The first question anyone seems to ask at a reunion beyond where you might be living now is what you do for a living. Sometimes I think it’s all an ego show at events like this, where people want to feel better about themselves, especially if they have gone on to do things they perceive are great.
Last, but not least, is the notion that frankly, it’s just too painful to be back in my hometown period. I realized that pretty quickly during my recent trip there and opted to leave a day early because of it. It’s not that I have any unresolved traumas or anything of the sort there. It’s simply that the Poughkeepsie vicinity itself reminds me constantly of painful times. I think that if I was to ever return there again it would only be if my sister decides to go for one last visit herself, as I’d like to create some closure with her. Our last visit there together was to deal with my mother’s passing and truthfully, I was a total mess who acted out terribly in addiction during it, and made her life a living hell.
So yes, I probably won’t be attending my 30thhigh school reunion, nor heading back to Poughkeepsie, New York, any time soon. Yet, nevertheless, I’m still thankful that I had this recent trip there to share a little more of my past life with Chris, who really did appreciate and get to understand me much better because of it!
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson