Saturday, January 17, 2009

Contemplating the "Add"

I teach high school. I see high school drama daily. There's a reason we call it "high school drama." It's hormone-driven, brought on by the lack of wisdom of youth, and typically totally unnecessary. Sitting there reading this I bet you can easily recall bits of your own high school drama. Often I think that drama is some of the stuff we most regret, but back then could we really stop it from happening?

"I'm so sick of drama!" It's an anthem painfully screamed by many to no avail. Heck, I still scream it (with a bit less melodrama of a 15 year old) at work and at home from time to time. Being sick of drama doesn't make it go away. Being aware of the drama doesn't make it go away. Drama is drama is drama.

So I'm on Facebook, been on there for a year or so. Like most of the newcomers to Facebook, I didn't discover it until I was out of school. When I first joined, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of friend requests I made and received. It was great! Every time I turned on my computer more people wanted to catch up with me! I had a lot of friends and acquaintances in high school, but I also knew drama (and often it was "band drama" which I am now convinced is some of the worst high school drama out there). I also had quite a few friends in college, and I was able to find them all and catch up on Facebook. Ah, the joy of the internet -- allowing us to "catch up" without even speaking! If only I'd found this sooner!

Truth is that I've always been looking forward in my life. I hit a point in high school where all I wanted was to leave and be at Harding. I was so focused on Harding and my goals that I lost some friends along the way. I was miserably depressed (totally undiagnosed until college) and needed a fresh start. In college I was focused on the joy of being at Harding... for a while. Then I adopted the "eyes on the prize" attitude and craved my own classroom. I don't know that I lost college friends from that per say, but I did weed out the ones who weren't helping me be the person I wanted to be (in that last year or so).

So now I'm a teacher. I'm done with being a high school-er. I'm through with Harding. Where is my prize? It's Heaven. I'm ok waiting a while for that one -- making my mark on this earth and trying to bring more souls with me when I go. That's the big difference I guess: I'm trying to bring people with me to my final prize.

OK, I'm digressing from my title of my post. So recently I've put in friend requests to a couple of people that I counted as either best friends or ex-boyfriends from high school, and (I'm sort of ashamed to say) they didn't add me. You can tell, you know? It goes from saying "friend requested" by their name to "add as friend". They ignored my request. Not one to give up easily, I requested their add again, this time with a kind note. DENIED! What?! How could you not want to be my friend! Ding Ding Ding! There it is. Did you see it? High school drama -- snuck right back in and claimed my mind. Suddenly I'm stuck sitting here feeling like one of my students: rejected and like the world's against me. Sigh.

I started reflecting. See in my "eyes on the prize" journey from teen years to now, I lost touch with people. I'm very much an "out of sight, out of mind" person. If you leave, if you move, I lose touch. You can't count on me to be the one to pick up the phone. Now, if you pick it up, I'm much more likely to keep in touch and return calls. It takes effort though, and I hate the phone. If I'd kept up better with email addresses, or we'd had Facebook after high school, I think it would have been so much more different. I wouldn't have hurt feeling by not keeping up like I should have.

College friends all pretty much add me. Not enough time has gone by for them to realize that I'm horrid at keeping up. Thank you Facebook for helping me reconnect with them before it was too late to catch up.

After reflecting (and agonizing a bit), I talked to my sister (who must have a hidden "How to be the Best Big Sister and Give the Best Advice" manual around somewhere), and I thought about it, and I came to one big conclusion: who cares?? Easy, eh? No excuses really. So I didn't keep up; you didn't either. I refuse to be defined by my past, and if someone who was my friend can't give me the chance to see that I've changed, so be it. Really it all comes down to the fact that we're all human. We all make mistakes, and we're all worth knowing. So we lost touch; use this time to get back in touch. Don't hold grudges. What's the point? I think I have learned to forgive so easily because I have been forgiven much (by God and those who love me).

So it comes down to this really. Do we let high school drama come back up in our adult lives, or do we just get over it, re-connect, and move on? I choose the latter. I have no time for drama. I have no patience with drama unless it's true high school drama. After all I'm a high school teacher. One of the reasons to be one is to help my students through that drama, so one day they can say "I don't care if you didn't add me. Quit being petty." I miss those I can't catch up with, don't get me wrong, but I won't shed any tears over it. I can't because I'm sick of drama. :)

Authors' Disclaimer: Should you find me on said Facebook, I will honor your friend request as long as I know who you are (since my momma taught me not to talk to strangers) and you are not one of my students (as the district asks us not to add you).