I was recently asked if there was a time or a place where I felt happy and I had to think about it for a bit. The first ideas that blossomed in my mind were from high school. I went to a small all-girls Catholic school and I had always had fond memories of it. When I started to consider what about it made it safe for me, I realized the truly profound impact going there had in my life.
Part of what made it safe is that it was small and by the time you finished your 4 years, you knew everyone pretty well. (That intimate knowledge of people could be why people fell out of friendships in the end but I don’t hold that as a bad thing. We evolve and our needs change.) Many of the teachers always encouraged us to question things and to explore and be curious. Being naturally curious, this freedom was very helpful for me. When I was creative, I was supported. Teachers and other students encouraged me to use my talents.
I spent a lot of time in my high school; not only the mandatory school time but also tons of after school time. I was on the yearbook staff, the literary committee, the drama club and choir (to name the ones I remember most). I really don’t know how I got all my school work done or how I was in all the advanced classes either. Somehow I managed.
One year for the annual talent show, I wrote a one act play and performed it with a bunch of my friends. It was a success in my definition; people lauded it and I felt great for having written something so many people enjoyed.
Often when I think about a time that I want to replicate in my adult life, I think of those four years. I had time, despite what it seems like in my description here, to be creative and to use my talents. After that time, it all went down hill. I used my writing less and less creatively. I didn’t feel supported for my decisions or opinions. It was a good time for me and I am happy to have had it; particularly because I know how many other teenagers had such a horrible time in their high schools.