Since January, I've been up to my eyeballs in work and children and the grad school That Hasn't Kicked Me Out Yet. The first two categories have been busy, but fairly manageable. The third. Well. My classes this semester are intense and enlightening and have caused me to rethink basically every aspect of my life thus far. I mean, I'm not running off to join a commune. I'm I'm not denouncing my faith, nutella, or cardigans, even. But the subject matter this term has caused me to be contemplative and introspective and really...angry. With myself, with injustice and unfairness and ignorance and hate. I'm quite thankful for the push to carefully consider why I believe the way I do in regards to society and race and marginalized people groups. What that means, however, is the large majority of my brain space has been commandeered to Think Deeply. So after bedtimes and meals and lights out for little people, I fall into bed and am completely out before the opening theme to White Collar has ended.
Tonight, however, due to a myriad boring and slightly frustrating circumstances, I found myself at home rather than in class, and in need of music to clean the laundry room by(JEALOUS, right?) I finally settled on a google music playlist entitled "90s sing alongs". Boom. I cooked dinner, laundried, and tucked in children to the soothing sounds of Brandy, Skee Lo, and TLC. And Lisa Loeb. Oh , Lisa. Thanks for the glasses. Really. They are still so groovy. Anyhow, right before the last child was dried off, though, a song memory slammed into me so hard that I nearly fell over. Well, not quite. Hyperbole. But still, yowza.
Do you remember that one? I do. Hold that thought, though, and I'll tell you why it haunted me tonight.
Here's the thing. While you and your friends were probably living it up in high school, enjoying the Best Years of Your Life, I was sitting at home. Reading. Watching Matlock. Hanging out with friends. Wishing that I had credit card so I could order one of these from Saturday afternoon infomercials:
But really, my high school years were totes boring. A move at the end of my 8th grade year found me entering high school with 1196 strangers(I knew 4 people.) I hated it. I hated them. Every last one. I went from semi-outgoing to socially awkward, and completely intimidated by all of these high school creatures who seemed to know so much more about fashion and makeup and navigating social scenes and even Honors History than I did. To be fair, a majority of my classmates were just fine. At age 14, however, I was not interesting in being fair, and I just hated most everyone.
Don't cry for me, though. Eventually I found my circle of people, and while most people who I graduated with might just remember me as "the girl who didn't talk", a few close friends made those years tolerable.
So thus far, it was: Girl hates high school. Girl finds confidantes, and they navigate the shark infested waters of Kickapoo High School together.Bo-ring. And then! Enter: Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen.
I don't remember when I started watching Saved By the Bell. When it first debuted on NBC on Saturday mornings I suppose...1989ish. For 22 minutes each Saturday morning, I lived vicariously through Zack and Kelly and Slater and Jessie and Lisa and Screech. Theirs was a real high school experience, in my mind. It should have been mine. I watched every episode. Multiple times. Re-runs. The summer edition. the tapered jeans and fantastically hairsprayed locks. The caffeine pills. The giant mobile telephone larger than a toddler. The dances and detentions and dear old Bayside High and even Mr. Belding. It was a dream. It was cheesy, sure. But I used it as a guide to what I was missing out on in my real life experience.
Which leads me to the song. Fans, and even just casual consumers of the show will remember that Zack and Kelly were Mr. and Ms. High School. Perfect for each other. True love, and all that jazz. And then, in a tragic plot twist, Kelly meets an Older Man and decides to break up with Zack. They dance to Michael Bolton's song as their final act as a couple. I wanted to throw something at the TV that episode. What the heck, Peter Engel? HOW DARE YOU. Eventually, though, I tucked away that sadness and disappointment, and got on with my life. I graduated, liked college, dated boys, got married, and turned into a fairly normal human. The breakup was left to lie dormant for years, until tonight. I was just minding my own business, herding a 7 year old out of the shower and all of the sudden I was thrust back into a time in which I worried that Zack and Kelly would be torn apart forever.
Now that I have gotten this far, I really wish that I had thought about having a point for this stroll down memory lane, besides letting you see what a lame-o kid I was in high school. With a questionable TV watching habit. But maybe, that is the point to the story. High school was dumb. I wasn't super popular. I survived. There are totally worse things. I work in a high school now, which is more Irony that Alanis Morisette can handle, I would wager. But really, I love it. High school students are complex and mystical creatures, and mostly pretty fun. Maybe my experiences help me seek out those kids who maybe don't quite have it figured out either, and let them know they will be okay, too.
So yeah. That's all I've got. My 90s playlist is still going, 3 hours later. R. Kelly believes he can fly. And Jimmy Fallon loves us all. Peace.