Wednesday, March 11, 2009

3WW - Cajole - Recluse - Temper

When I was raising my girl's, as a single mom with ALS, I had to learn fast on my feet. Don't show them fear, don't make them do too much, continue life as if normal and deal with being stared at. I dealt with it all to the best of my ability for 13yrs. My oldest, Michelle, however has quite a temper and is very protective. If anyone stared or god forbid took a disable seat at the movies, she'd find a way to make everyone squirm. This started at about nine years old and continues at twenty five. I tried to explain why it happens and that it doesn't bother me but she never faltered. I saw it as curiosity and ignorance, but they were strangers. I did not look "disabled" back then, I was still somewhat attractive and I was young. Shoot, I'd stare too.

Fast forward 10yrs to happily married, looking disabled, more wrinkles and slowly becoming a recluse. I'm very happy in my world and cyberspace. So then why am I terrified to attend my 30yr high school reunion? My friends Lisa has tried to cajole me into going, yet understands. I have also re-connected with classmates on Facebook that maybe going. So what am I afraid of you ask, oh, you didn't ask, well I'll tell you anyway.

I was a cheerleader, a party girl and my senior year I made the yearbook as class flirt. Need I say more. These classmates are not, for the most part, strangers. If they all knew that I had ALS it would be easier, but most don't. Even if I wore a t-shirt that said "I'm not drunk I have ALS" many don't even know what ALS is. If they come by the table to say hi, walker tucked away, will they think I'm rude for not jumping up for a hug or just a drunken classmate too rude to mingle. People who know me now don't pity me so how will I deal with that flash across those faces. You know the look "is that Tammy? how sad."

Let's face facts, they all got older and we probably won't recognize each other anyway. I'm leaning towards going and enjoying my friends. I'll try and look fabulous and remember it's just curiosity. I could mingle wearing my cheerleader outfit holding a brewski. They won't ask what's wrong with me so I'll just act like I do this type of event regularly. If I go I'll go as me! If I don't go call me a big ole chicken!

24 comments:

Linda Jacobs said...

If you feel comfortable going, then go, otherwise, just avoid it!

I went to my tenth and had a good time but haven't been back since and my 40th was two years ago.

Well-written post!

tinker said...

Unless they have one of those mirrors in the attic, like Dorian Gray - none of us look the same 30 years later, lol. I say go if you want to - those that matter will understand, and those that don't, don't matter! (And judging from your photos here, you look great, btw :) xOx

Queen-Size funny bone said...

I think you are the perfect person to go back to see your classmates.
You are still a cheerleader for many, look at your passion for the cause. and who better to let them know that ALS exists. you would be doing a great service. a face with the disorder is what makes people aware. But only if you are comfortable. You big old flirt you! lol besides many will be fat, old, bald...

Queen-Size funny bone said...

oh yeah and I think a lot of people will be saying hey look at that tammy she 's been through a lot and man she has balls...

Angel said...

Sit with your friends who do know and can explain to others. I bet you'll have fun reconnecting.

Cheryl said...

I hope you go Tammy. You are still a very attractive and fun person to be around. I think you would look back with regret it you didn't go. You make so many people happy, you deserve some major fun, a nice stroll down memory lane. Most people will be so happy to see you, and I bet you will feel the love, all night. Plus, you'll have Dave by your side, right?
Take care my friend. You are a total warrior!
XXXXXXX

Fledgling Poet said...

Go with your gut...and can I just say that, whether you're in a room with your high school classmates or here at your blog, you inspire with your positive energy and strong spirit! Best of luck as you decide which choice is best for you.

Michelle said...

Hi Tammy!!
Oh my gosh... we were on the same wavelength today, but coming from totally different directions read my post...Day 70 - UCP San Diego as a kid I was taught "not to stare" at people with disabilities or who were different... but I honestly wasn't staring, I was looking. Children don't have judgmental hearts by nature, I was just curious. In many ways I felt bad and wanted to help, even as a young child.
I think your friends from High School will likely be curious and concerned, but they won't judge, and they will love you every bit as much as they did back 30 years ago!
I pray that you'll GO! :) And bring that wonderful hubby with ya! :)

Geraldine said...

Only you can decide if this is a function you want to attend. Go with your gut instinct Tammy. Not often that will steer you wrong.

Anyone who can spend time with you and call you a friend/classmate is a lucky person, remember that!

Hugs, G

Annie said...

Pretty is as pretty does, Tammy. And no question about it. You are still the class flirt. Recluse? NO! Don and I need to make a roadtrip plan.

MeMaw said...

I think you should go if you want to.

Myself, I don't tend to enjoy those sort of things. I went with my husband to his 20th and as might be expected, everyone had changed and it was difficult to reconize anyone.

I'm sure if you go, you will look lovely and if you tend to enjoy those sort of social situations, you will have a nice time.

Blessings!

anthonynorth said...

With cfs I tend to have this problem in reverse. I don't look as if there's anything wrong with me, so when I'm faced with restrictions to what I can do, I'm classed as a spoilsport, awkward, lazy, you name it.
It used to bother me, but now I just get on with what I can.
You can go, so go. Have fun!

Tabor said...

It really is not that important whether you attend or not. The importance of the event is totally up to you. Don't see it as a test. Go if you want or not. You maintain contact with classmates via cyberspace and in some ways that is even more intimate, as you know.

Yolanda said...

Tammy you are beautiful inside and out and always an inspiraton to me.

rebecca said...

You know Tammy, the thing is that after 30 years, no of us are what we used to be! None of us! And many will carry disabilities themselves that may not be visible to the eye. And, you know what? We're no longer young and immature and fully understand that life sometimes deals one a heavy hand. I think you will find many compassionate and understanding friends who, they themselves, are struggling with their own personal physical or emotional issues.

But, see how you feel. Go by your gut. That will never fail you.

Nice seeing you again, dear heart.

((hugs))
Rebecca

Tumblewords: said...

Seems like one of those if I go...if I don't. Things never work out the way we expect them to, anyway. One thing is true, 30 years leaves no one unchanged. Good luck - have fun if you go!

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Hey girlfriend! When I went to my 30 year HS reunion, I didn't recognize ANYBODY until I read their nametag! Everybody has changed in one way or another. Nobody has escaped unscathed--beside, you are still the best cheerleader, just ask any of us!

TC said...

I say don't force it. No, seriously, don't force it.

You're an amazing woman, and what they think doesn't matter. That said, it's not always so easy to let go of those thoughts. So if it bothers you, knowing that you're not the same person you were back then (chances are none of them are the same person they were at 18 either), don't go.

Stay in, watch a movie and enjoy some popcorn with the people who love who you are NOW.

ThomG said...

Ten-year reunions we all bragged and tried to look important. Twenty, we were well on our way to family and double chins. I'm looking forward to my 30, since everyone (should have) figured out that life kicks you in the testicles daily and that there are no classes, no cliques. Just people. Well written.

Mary Timme said...

This is my 50th year class reunion. I'm not planning on going. For one thing the school no longer exists! For another, I don't have anything to prove. I did well in high school, but went on to other things. Nope, just not interested in going. I feel terrible when I go down to that altitude, I don't care about that part of my life -- good grief it was 50 years ago! -- and I worked hard to become a big city girl as opposed to a small town girl from the sticks. Nope, not going. I don't consider myself a chicken. It is my choice.

Becca said...

Tammy, if you don't feel comfortable going, then don't put yourself through it. Those people are no longer part of your life, and there's no need to impress them. We are way beyond high school and its petty dramas. You have so many other good and true friends, who understand where you are now in your life and love you for all the strength you show each day.

Don't put any pressure on yourself either way!

(There, that's my two cents and more!)

emmapeelDallas said...

Follow your gut on this, girlfriend. There is no doubt in my mind that you have good instincts, and either way, you'll do just fine.

SandyCarlson said...

I could never do reunions because I see the people I want to see. That's enough for me. Still, if old friends or classmates are worth seeing, they will take the time to see YOU.

kj said...

is dave doing with you tammy? because all you have to do is let your obvious love for eachother spill forth in its quiet way and you'll be the envy of the reunion.

you are vibrantly alive and kicking girl. i;d say that's still flirting your way through...

:)