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Not the only one changing

Omar, my old high school friend, the back of whose head I practically memorized from standing behind him in our opening marching band formation, that Omar…is now Mari! Or so I learned from another high school friend last night who ran into her at a bar.

I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t run into her myself. Between the gender change and my weight loss, we might not have even recognized each other! That would have been hilarious. – “Didn’t you used to be really fat?” – “Didn’t you used to be a guy?”

Though I never knew Omar was unhappy with his gender, it felt really good to hear about his switch, even if it makes pronoun usage particularly tricky. I certainly have experience with being unhappy with my external appearance, and I know what it’s like to undergo a dramatic physical change. Gender change is probably the only physical change that is more dramatic than a significant weight loss. Or at least tied with heavy plastic surgery. There’s nothing like a rhinoplasty to make someone look completely different (see, Jennifer Grey). I’m sure Mari would understand how weird it is to meet people you haven’t seen in awhile and see their jaws smack the floor in shock.

It makes me happy to know that I’m not the only one becoming more myself. It also reminds me that there is more than one way to do that. I feel much more in control of my life and self-empowered since I’ve started eating healthy and exercising. I can only imagine Mari’s gender change has made her feel equally good about herself.

It also makes me wonder what the heck the rest of my high-school classmates are up to. Good grief! I’m sure people have had kids, gotten divorced, and done tons of crazy shit by now. I think I probably should go to my 10 year reunion two years from now just to see what these people have been up to. Personally, I don’t think I’ve changed all that much, but maybe I just haven’t noticed since I hang out with myself all the time. Where ever I go, there I am!

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9 Comments

little miss ess • February 6, 2006 at 2:12 pm

You have to go. Really. I was miserable through much of high school. I was a bandie and hagged a group of closeted fags. We were total outsiders. At the ten-year, people had changed, definitely, and it may still be ever so slightly cliquey, but I’ll bet you’d have a blast.

I just went to my 20-year in June and most of my classmates were unrecognizable. The cliquiness was completely gone, and I had great conversations with people I would have never talked to in high school because of the pecking order.

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Beth • February 6, 2006 at 3:45 pm

Oh – please go. It will be such a trip. I can’t wait for mine this fall, it will be ten years, and between the two of us (we are/were a high school couple, even) we’ve lost 325 lbs. I can’t wait to see how everyone else has turned out. :-)

Beth

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Purl Princess • February 7, 2006 at 9:51 am

Hey this is my first time here – but wow have you done amazing. You’ve lost so much already! See you again soon.

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zara • February 7, 2006 at 4:00 pm

Funny anecdote and great parallels there!

“I feel much more in control of my life and self-empowered since I’ve started eating healthy and exercising. I can only imagine Mari’s gender change has made her feel equally good about herself.”

Love that part! :)

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HeatherW • February 7, 2006 at 11:33 pm

I hated high school with a fiery passion. When my 10 yr reunion came up, I did not go. Maybe if I lose a bunch of weight I’ll go to my 15 or 20,,,lol

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Kirsten • February 8, 2006 at 9:01 am

I recently met up with a bunch of old classmates after almost 8 years. I was seriously stressed beforehand, because in many ways I don’t feel I’ve done what I planned to, and I thought it would be awkward. But it wasn’t.

It’s true, though, that you notice changes more in other people than in yourself. When I think about it, a lot of my opinions have changed, or at least become less certain, since I was 18, but I still feel like the same person. Then again, I’m sure everyone else does too. I wouldn’t say anyone was unrecognisable though!

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steve • February 8, 2006 at 2:30 pm

Why bother going? What does it matter now? I am 22 years out of school and maintain contact with a handful of people. i just look ‘em up if I want to.

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steve • February 9, 2006 at 6:40 pm

Opps, sorry about posting the wrong link, especially after such a snarky comment!

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Mae • February 16, 2006 at 10:18 am

I have changed so much since high school… and yet, I feel the same. How is that possible?

Sometimes I think we aren’t even able to see the subtle, but dramatic, changes in ourselves. As you say, we hang out with ourselves all the time!

I skipped my 10 year reunion because my high school merged with another senior year, and I was at an out-of-district placement, so I don’t know any of the other people. Plus, one of my classmates from kindergarten was getting married that day, and several people I was “curious” about were going to her wedding. Sadly, she died last year, less than a year after her wedding.

Life is a fickle thing… go to the reunion!

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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