I have a law school reunion coming up this October. I really want to go...seems like forever since I saw anyone from my class. It isn’t convenient timing for me, but I am going to try to make it work nonetheless. I can work remotely, I just need to go and I can’t really explain why.
I guess my law school time was so fraught. My life imploded around me even as I “succeeded” by worldly standards. I missed so much even though I was there and it was a part of my life.
I am not a good joiner. I prefer to stand back and watch, not really join. I see other reunions of other groups of people I have “belonged” to, but I rarely want to go or be included. Which is progress, I used to not want to go but it hurt my feelings that I wasn’t invited. Today, I am content with not being invited or going. Progress!
Law school was a coming of age time for me. Where the battle between me being an independent woman who ran her own life and that of a woman who sold herself way short raged. I showed up for battle every day all while drinking myself into an early grave. It was a lot. It was a very hard time and when I look back on it, I am shocked at how very much I missed. Friendships, connections, opportunities, I was “there” but I really wasn’t. I just kept showing up with some crazy weird version of myself that was really just a fragmented child who couldn’t stop drinking and was terrified all the time.
I guess that is why it feels so important to go back. To participate. To listen. To tell a few key people, how very much they saved my life. Gave it meaning and purpose. How their presence in my life was a guide rope as I walked and stumbled in the dark on my very privileged road. It may have been very privileged, but it was rocky and hard and I almost didn’t survive it.
I think I also want to tell them the truth. That I was a mess (I am sure that they already knew this) and that I was barely hanging on. I want to own that my lack of participation was because I was actively killing myself on a daily basis and that I am sorry that I wasn’t more capable of being there for them. I was not able to show up for class, them, friendship, commitment and the like. I do often wonder what my life would have been like had I got sober BEFORE law school started. I know for sure that I would not have shown up for an interview with the Florida Supreme Court drunk from the night before...
Regardless of how or what happens, I want to show up which is perhaps my most time trusted amends for past bad behavior. Show up now in my current form and see what I can add, instead of always taking. I can do that today.
I am making the commitment to go. To be there with these people who I saw every day but missed knowing, really. And to show up in my most authentic and current self and let them know me. Not sure why that terrifies me still but today I can walk through the fear and do it anyway.
Can you have a reunion if you were never really united in the past? Maybe for them it is a reunion, but for me it is more likely a union. A first time to be in a place where I can connect. I can show up. I can do what I say I am going to do. I can be present. I can be the me that has done a lot of work. I can relish in learning more about them, who they are, what happened in their lives. And I can laugh with them this time. I can sit in a circle of smart friends and I can feel like I belong there. I can go and be glad that I was invited. I can show up and see what I can bring to the table. I can re-union with the version of me that they remember and let that be ok. I can feel the attendant feelings of loss, grief, and regret. And I can do it anyway.
I think that all reunions are really just opportunities to revisit the people we used to be, those versions carried with the people we have left behind. They show us how we have changed and grown and not. Going back to places in time where we have tried to forget or held onto remembering. Either way, it is ok, you always and forever catch up with yourself.