What your high school yearbook says about you

The Brett Kavanaugh hearing got me thinking about my own yearbook page, and all the cringe worthy “besetting sins’ or “forever remembering” details I’d so cleverly disguised to avoid the yearbook club censoring my free speech (or possibly they were attempting a level of decency and decorum that high school age students aren’t capable of, with their underdeveloped, immature brains, and inability to accurately assess consequences Just sayin’.)

I went back and looked at my yearbook “senior page” (which is essentially a recap of stupid memories we swore we’d never forget, but I have now forgotten the meaning of most). And I am guessing I wouldn’t make a great show of answering senator committee questions, because I’d have to say, “to be honest, sir/ma’am. I can’t remember” … and not because I was drunk the whole time, but because the moments were THAT forgettable.

But in between the silly innuendos and the very black and white POV on life that most young people lead with, these pages are reflections of who we are and who we’ll continue to become as individuals.

At my school, as part of our senior pages, students selected famous quotes in an attempt to more eloquently reflect their true selves. Our philosophy or purview on life, our priorities, our interests, our temperament. Some were meaningful, some were silly, some were inside jokes no one else was going to understand or connect with.

I just re-read my quotes. These words mattered so much to me that I included them in perpetuity. Which I’ll share here.

“Tired of all the platinum frustration.” – Carly Simon

This is me bristling against the restrictions society placed on me as a woman in the 90s. Be blonde. Be Thin. Be Attractive. Be sweet. Be quiet. Be Girly (whatever that meant!?). It was frustrating then, now it’s 100% unacceptable. I’m so thrilled things are changing, and the gender spectrum is more fluid today.

“Something’s like crossed over in me, and I can’t go back. I mean, I just couldn’t live.” – Thelma & Louise.

This is the 90’s version of #staywoke.

Thelma and Louise roared into theaters in 1992. When I first saw it, I just naively assumed it was a fun buddy/road trip movie, but didn’t think much about why I loved it. I just absolutely loved everything about the movie. Then the politics and implications around it exploded all over the news media. The story – celebrating women doing what they want – made many people nervous. It showed ALL OF US that women can be the heroes. That women can be strong, and fierce, and funny, and vulnerable. It was a reminder that “well-behaved women rarely make history”. It seemed to put men on notice. And it drove home a powerful point … it might be better to drive off a cliff than to sacrifice your integrity and your beliefs and your god given right as a human to live the way you want to live (i.e. outside the gender/culture/traditional norms).

“Changing your ways, more than any man can do.  Open your heart, show him the anger and pain so you’ll heal. Maybe he’s looking for his womanly side.” – Peter Gabriel

This quote was considered controversial back then, if you can imagine. I remember having to lobby to keep it in. And it’s taken us 25 years to collectively do this. To get mad. To show our anger and pain to the world.

And now begins the healing.

“I gotta do something about where I’m going.” – U2
I knew early, if things were gonna be different for me as a woman, I had to be in charge of my own destiny. I couldn’t let anyone take that power from me.

This is still at the core of who I am, and how I support clients that I coach.

No one is going to hand you your chances. You have to work tirelessly for them, AND have the vision to see when it’s being offered up, AND THEN have the guts to grab it.

Re-reading these quotes, with the 20/20 vision hindsight affords, I understand that out true selves are already in place at this young age, but with more experience (age?) we are able to make better choices about how to leverage that essence. For better or for worse.

And, for all the cringe worthy quotes/memories…well… I’ll save that for when I’m being questioned by the senate committee, thank you very much.

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