It has been for two years, and you damn well know it. But I didn’t. I spent those years convincing myself that someday, some way, I’d drop out of a stupid place like TJ, come back to Chantilly where I belonged, and catch up on doing all the crap that middle-school me wanted to do.
Read two posts backwards in time and you’ll see how much I didn’t want to be here. Read past a few comics more and you’ll see what I wrote fifteen minutes after I found out I got in. Fifteen minutes after my overjoyed mother called across three time zones with the news, fifteen minutes after the half-proud, half-you-better-do-this-or-you’re-dead-meat stare of my father convinced me to put leaky blue ballpoint pen to paper and sign away the next four years of my life, right down the skoosh. Funny how when the brain decides something’s too overwhelming, it decides the proper response is to stream tears and mucus out of various orifices- this was fifteen minutes after all that as well.
My attitude didn’t improve day one. As my teachers gave their cheery introductions and preliminary assignments, I met their enthusiasm with pouts and evil eyes. I made it known I didn’t want to be there. Everyone knew me as that kid who was gonna drop out. I was proud of that. Must’ve thought I was so noble.
I was still a dumb, idealistic eighth-grader my freshman year, both in study skills (sorry, Dr. Larson) and attitude. All my prepubescent career fantasizing had manifested itself into an idealized vision of everything I was gonna do for the next four years of my life- work the lightboard for every single drama production, draw a new comic every week, write a new post every single day, all wrapped up into my own twisted little version of the quintessential American high school experience. I looked forward to that like the world waits for Half-Life 3. A master plan. The Plan.
And of course TJ wasn’t a part of the plan. Chantilly was. And so going to TJ was simply a mere obstacle en route to Plan glory. I’d simply wait a year, bide my time, and then come June- bam. I’m out. I’m gone. Run, freedom, run.
Then I started doing stuff. Got involved with the Japan Bowl- basically Quiz Bowl, centered around anything and everything Japan. That first year, my team placed seventh. Not bad, but not as good as we wanted. And as my teammates eagerly made plans for coming back next year and absolutely wrecking the competition (we made fifth, woohoo), my enthusiasm was dampened by the realization that another year of Japan Bowl meant another year of TJ. This wasn’t part of the Plan. What do?
Maybe that was why I stayed for my sophomore year, Japan Bowl. Or maybe it was because I was too much of a wuss to fill out the forms and actually drop; maybe I was just taking the path of least resistance, being too lazy to enact any real change in my dumb life. Maybe it was because the this-isn’t-Chantilly sting had worn off- as much as I didn’t want to, I was reluctantly having quite a fine time at TJ. Dropping out was still a possibility. Just – bleh – not that summer.
And then came the essay. Student Choice Writing was the formal title of the assignment. In an in-class free-write session that eventually turned into an in-class naptime session, I wrote about my anti-TJ attitudes coming in, my gradual road to acceptance, my state of unsureness as to the location at which I’d attend my next two years of high school. And through writing that, and taking the jumbled mess of teenage hormones and vague emotions and revising and revising until I was sure that yeah, the mess of words in Microsoft Word was what I really felt, I came to a couple of realizations:
- Hot damn, I was a dumb, idealistic eighth grader.
- Location was irrelevant. I could probably be doing exactly what I’m doing now at Chantilly and vice versa.
- The initiative I would need to take to carry out the Plan at TJ? It’s initiative my lazy ass woulda had to take at Chantilly anyway.
- The Plan? It wasn’t the Plan, it was merely a plan. To think that a 13-year-old had clairvoyant abilities. Revision ain’t bad.
- Screw it, I’m staying. All four years.
What the bleeping bleepity-bleep am I getting myself into?
This is my post-mortem. My formal goodbye to Over8d, a chronicle of a past outlook on life and of ambitions that never really disappeared- just changed. The site hasn’t left me yet- it’s rare, but I still am recognized as “the dude with the blog,” the guy who semi-humorously complained on the fancy default WordPress site instead of on Facebook, the guy who ripped TJ several new ones, sent ’em a link, and still got his ass in, the guy who drew Cyanide And Happiness ripoffs and fancied himself an artiste… I was proud of myself then. I still am.
I’m going into my junior year now, and to think that I damn well intended to drop out two years ago- y’know, it still doesn’t sound half bad. But this is still goodbye: cry me a river, but it’s been a long time coming- and you gotta admit, I was a dumb, idealistic eighth grader.
(Notice the complete lack of posts from Ilia. You suck, man. Hit me up sometime.)
(Thanks for giving a darn, Mr. Shah. You knew something I didn’t when you wrote that TJ rec. Say hi to the rest of B Pod.)
(Mrs. Sky, remember when I promised you brownies when I got that rejection letter? Sorry you never got them.)
Over and out.