Yearbooks (and other sources of embarrassment)

I’m embarrassed a good chunk of the time. I embarrass myself on social media sites and out in the world on a regular basis. But not too long ago, I decided to empower myself by owning that embarrassment. Kind of a “You can’t fire me, I quit!” mentality.

For example, I recently started sharing the following story: When I was up to bat during a softball game, I swung for the ball. Instead of hitting the ball, I spun in a full circle and broke wind. Loudly. I want to tell you this happened when I was a child playing T-ball, but it actually happened when I was about 28.

May you think of that story every time you encounter me from now until the end of time. You’re welcome (and so am I).

There’s an embarrassment that is pretty universal, at least amongst North Americans. And it’s the embarrassment that comes with yearbooks. I’m not talking about the grainy photos of us at our most awkwardly pubescent selves, either. I’m talking about the written word.

In grade six (that’s “sixth grade” to you Americans), a bunch of parent volunteers decided to put together a yearbook for us. It was adorable. We filled out surveys with answers that would later make us cringe and scrawled our twelve-year-old signatures with messages to our peers that would also later make us cringe.

My chosen quote for my grade six year came from Pretty Woman: a movie my parents wouldn’t let me see because I was obviously too young. But I watched it anyway when my older siblings got ahold of a recorded VHS copy. Like Julia Roberts, I told everyone in my grade six class to “Stay cool.” And they did, my darling readers. Every last one of them.

When I was in grade nine, I had just endured the worst year of my public school existence. I was angsty, depressed, and emotionally exhausted. By the time yearbooks rolled out, I couldn’t pretend I was sad about the end of junior high. I couldn’t pretend to be perky and tell everyone to ‘stay cool.’ Instead, for every yearbook I signed, I included nonsensical Dave Matthews Band lyrics above my signature. Like, really really weird ones. It was 1995 and I was clearly crying for help.

Ethan Embry at his finest as Preston Meyers from Can’t Hardly Wait. I can still hear Melissa Joan Hart asking everyone to sign her yearbook. © 1998 – Columbia Pictures, Inc.

In grade 12 (that’s “senior year” to you Americans), we got to pick a quote to accompany our cap and gown photos for the yearbook. Unfortunately, yearbooks were delayed and all graduated students were invited to come back to the school the following fall to pick them up. At that point, I was attending university in a different country, and I never received my yearbook. I don’t remember what I wrote on that form I submitted to the yearbook committee at the beginning of my grade twelve year. And I shall probably never know what I chose as a quote to immortalize my high school career.

I mean, if I had to guess, I’d say I quoted a Radiohead or a Blur song and then added the initials of my small pack of friends, all of whom I loved. BUT WE WILL NEVER KNOW, WILL WE?

Please feel free to share your own yearbook stories. Let’s all embarrass ourselves together, shall we?


2 thoughts on “Yearbooks (and other sources of embarrassment)

  1. Oh Netty, fortunately for you, I do possess said grade 12 yearbook. Would you like me to reveal your quote? Or would you rather it fade into the past, unknown?

    Liked by 1 person

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