Sunday, October 25, 2009

Keeping It Virtual

I received via Facebook, an invitation to the 30th anniversary celebration of my 8th grade reunion from St. Louis Elementary School in November.  Since reconnecting with some of my classmates from my elementary and high school on FB, I’ve sincerely enjoyed our virtual game of playing “catch-up,” with little interest in extending our exchanges into the “real” world and before FB, I hadn’t been in touch with these folks since high school.  In a weird way, it’s as if my social life, and being comfortable in my own skin did not begin until I step foot onto Hampton’s campus.

To say I had a difficult time at St. Louis and later in high school at Archbishop Prendergast would be an understatement. I’ve detailed some of the indignities in earlier posts, and before the happy homecoming on Facebook, I’d thought I’d put most of it behind me, but it’s become obvious that I have not. 

I’ve been pondering my issues with my classmates from elementary and high school for months and on one hand, I think I’ve been holding onto my childhood hurts a little too much, but on the other hand, I’m astounded that by the looks of their Facebook pages, I’m still the only person of color they know.  How can that be?  By now, I know that living a diverse and inclusive life does not happen by happenstance.  You've got to cultivate and seek new experiences and new people. I know it’s not fair for me to pass judgment simply by what’s posted on their FB pages, and maybe if I accept the invitation and check out the reunion, I’d learn that now as we have gotten older, we have more things in common than we did during our time at St. Louis.  Maybe I wouldn’t mind, again, being the only Black person in the room.  Maybe I should let go of my little fantasy where a few of my old classmates take the time to acknowledge how crappy it must have been for me and apologize for any past offenses.  Maybe I should stop projecting my idea of an ideal world onto them and simply be grateful to celebrate the fact that we’re still here and able to watch our children grow and thrive.

I just don’t think I can and I know this says a lot more about me than it does about them, because I’m sure they haven’t obsessed over 30 year old grievances they way I have recently.

1 comment:

Terri St. Leger Shea said...

Well, Lisa darling, allow me to be the first to acknowledge that it must have been crappy for you to be the only child of color in our lily white school. You certainly didn't appear to me to be uncomfortable in any way. As I recall you were an intelligent, confident, outspoken, friendly and opinionated (yes even then) child. We all have our childhood wounds....and sometimes the false air of bravado with which we mask our insecurities is very convincing to those around you. Who knew then that you felt this way? No one, I am sure. To me, you were just another kid. I mean I knew you were black, but it wasn't the first or most important adjective I would use to define you. We were all just children. Of course, you spent more time thinking about the race difference than probably any of the rest of us did. That being said, I am sorry if I was ever insensitive to your plight; and if I personally ever offended you in any way, please forgive me.

I hope you can put all of this to rest. You are a smart, sensitive woman, a vigilant and loving mother, with a successful career and a loving husband.

Stop your ruminating and get on with your bad self...

I've enjoyed your blog and found myself nodding in agreement many times, especially in the area of child-rearing dilemmas. I am sure we would have had some lively discussions at the reunion, had you attended. Well, there's always next time.

Btw, Walk Two Moons is my favorite Sharon Creech novel.

Terri St. Leger Shea