i learned the truth at 17 (hah, jokes on you, I did not!)

It’s my 10 year high school reunion.

All the “kids” are gathered into their old cliques. I join the “lunch room table” nearest the buffet with all the girls that were only friends because we all ate lunch with this one mutual friend of ours. It split up after we graduated, but of course we’re back together now. Today.

When we were in high school, I was playing with a buckeye I’d brought from Iowa. This boy asked me if it was a pomegranate.  It was very much not.  But goddamn, he was pretty. He was one of the “Smith” boys, ranging in age from senior to freshman. Perfect matryoshka dolls, only differing by height.  All equally pretty.

Until I met up with him today.  Balding, toned body gone dad bod soft.  What happened to him, I wonder, and try not to show it on my face.

I, truth be told, look better than I did at 17.

I wasn’t pretty enough for that boy in high school.  I envied the prom queens.

Why do some of us age quick and fast, and others slow and steady?  I don’t know.  All I know is I wasn’t grateful for being the dorky, flat chested girl– but I am for being the woman that ages gracefully.

Someone just yesterday, which is why this is on my mind, said (and I’m misquoting, apologies) that maybe the nasty pretty people’s mind caught up to their physical bodies. I responded that was a rather poetic thought, but probably untrue.  Truthfully, I think it’s just nature’s balance.

My curves came later in life.  I kept my same weight, same (approximate) facial features.  I looked very much like I did in high school.  I couldn’t say the same of everyone there, though.

I’m glad I look good now, when I can make some use of it!

To the beauty queens,

I’m sorry I envied you. I know now that there are downsides to being that beautiful, that young. Then when you’re old enough to properly appreciate it, those looks have faded. It’s a cruel joke, if you think about it. But your body is no less, simply because it is different.  You are beautiful- and fuck that toned, chiseled 17 year body and face. Yeah, it was great. But it wasn’t everything. You are everything.

To the ones who stayed at home, inventing lovers on the phone,

Be grateful for your graceful aging. For your looks to have patiently waited, until your mind caught up to it. At 36, approaching 37, my mind is far more beautiful than it was at 16, 17. And the men, women, etc around me have more beautiful minds, too. They’re worth attracting with my body and face.

To the pretty high school boys,

God, I just can’t forget how Pretty Boy didn’t know what a pomegranate looked like! But it wasn’t your fault.  You just didn’t know.  And it’s better this way.  I highly doubt you’d appreciate the person I am now.  I did not get any less weird.

It might be for the best, of course. Back then, I was told all I had was my mind.  While others, I’m sure, were told all they had were their bodies. So we worked on different things.  We should probably work on both, but that’s not how we are in high school.  We don’t think about these things.

I don’t know why I’m thinking about this, this morning.

Pretty Boy? I hope you’re doing well.

Because damned if I’m not!

Credit:  This post was inspired by Janis Ian’ At Seventeen

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