My best memories of high school involved laughter after swim practices, creating layouts in the yearbook classroom, learning percussion pieces, and having great mentorship in excellent teachers.
However, my worst were positions that I or other well-intentioned people put myself in or what I think of as homecoming court. I had many wonderful memories from high school but for the most part, I didn't like my experience. It seems silly because I can account for beautiful friendships and great times, but people can be mean and the school system continually failed at monitoring bullying. I was honored to be nominated for homecoming court but the problem is that most of these events are a giant popularity contest. While I was well-liked in my peer groups, I wasn't a popular kid and instead of enjoying my experience of being nominated, I was just stressed out. I had to change my slogan several times to fit school policies and it ended up being something that I didn't really like but I went with anyways. I spent my paychecks getting posters made and my parents invested in t-shirts because that was a big thing back then. It was legitimately a full campaign. The girl who won wasn't even there on voting day but she had pretty flawless popularity. People had even witnessed her friends tearing down my posters, which was pretty mean. An opportunity that I had wanted to be a part of so badly was ruined by flawed expectations that I had. If I could go back, I would tell high school Kim to just enjoy everything and not worry so much. I disliked being on homecoming court so much that when I was nominated for two more different courts, I was dreading it.
People who were my friends voted for me and I dreaded being a part of those experiences. That's messed up. I felt like I had failed them and it was difficult being a part of programs where the popular kids always won, regardless if better qualified people were running.
The cake topper was our senior awards night. Brandon and I ended up getting the "most full of ourselves" award and I was mortified. He wasn't there so I walked up to the stage by myself to accept my award and put a big smile on my face. I wanted to disappear. When we were filling out our superlative charts leading up to that awards night, I had left that one blank because I thought it was pretty awful that they even made that a category.
The experiences, though stressful and that last one- horrific, taught me a lot about myself and others. It taught me to enjoy things and to simplify as much as possible. I spent so much time, money, and energy into homecoming. Instead, I should have focused on having fun. I didn't have fun, invested in a campaign that realistically wouldn't win against one of the most popular girls in school, and the experience left a really bad taste in my mouth.
It also taught me that in the simplest of terms sometimes people suck. Though I would never have been mean to any of those kids, they chose to be mean to me. All you can do is love them. Would it have made me feel better to get revenge or say something nasty? No. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Sometimes it's a battle but don't be on the judgmental side at the end of the fight.