August 1990: Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait, igniting the first Gulf War; Madonna is world touring with her blond ambition; and one overachieving but under-socialized black man is acting out at his 10-year high school reunion in Indianapolis.
In this case, acting out means: donning a crazy, MTV-awards-show-inspired outfit (I dubbed it rock and roll formal) and letting the North Central High School Class of 1980 know that the “black geek you assumed was a fag” is happy, healthy, hunky and still here, direct from Hollywood, dressed like a freakin’ rock star fairy or something. And he’s a great dancer, too! Take that!
White tuxedo shirt. White jeans. Bolo tie. Tiger-stripped cummerbund. Leopard print boots.
What was I thinking? lol … I wasn’t. I was feeling. Feeling all that resonating energy from high school still bottled up inside me, in need of uncorking.
Afterward, I felt let down. What had I really accomplished, save proving to myself, once again, I can create a challenge, then meet it?
Whereas I didn’t go to the prom or other social functions in school because I was socially retarded and alone, I went to my reunion, still alone but now comfortable with myself (enough to go rock and roll formal, mind you!)
“I can now see beauty in myself, where I couldn’t see it in high school.”
When the evening was over, I returned to my childhood home, still occupied by my mother. Mom and I chatted about the reunion, then she noticed the unused film in my camera.
On the floor of the den, I began posing for my mom, making her laugh hysterically. Typical behavior for us, me making my mom laugh. I love making my mom laugh.
When I first saw the results of my impromptu photo shoot, I could barely look at them. To me, the photos were awkward and simply more evidence that I wasn’t one of the beautiful people, the ones living the good life, as seen on TV and in the movies.
Cut to me twenty years later, coming across those same photos and falling in love with the young man posing to make his mom laugh, looking so young and fresh. I guess that means I can now see beauty in myself, where I couldn’t see it in high school, then couldn’t see it ten years later, at my 10-year high school reunion.
At age 48, I love those post-reunion pics. Randy @ 28. Still young, still glowing, still me. That impromptu photo shoot turned out to be the best part of reunion weekend, the bonding with my mother, the laughter, the images of myself I can now appreciate.
My 30-year high school reunion happened earlier this year. Didn’t go. I was 2,000 miles away. I’m taking it as a good sign that I no longer need to act out at my high school reunion.