Most people probably don’t give their high school yearbooks much thought, especially 30 years after they graduated. But my senior yearbook will always haunt me. There’s a mystery within its pages that I’ll probably never solve and now, all these years later, the mystery takes on a whole new perspective into the ironic. The mystery? Well, in place of my senior picture and placed above my name is a picture of a man sporting a tuxedo and a very nice mustache. Was this merely a mistake? Who is the man? Is he even part of our class? Was this some vengeful act by someone in the yearbook club? Is it supposed to be funny or mean?
I’ve thought about that picture often over the years. I’ve blamed the “mistake” on a girl that was on the yearbook committee that I didn’t particularly like. I think the feeling was mutual. I remember the day we got our books and the first thing everyone does is look for their own picture. I couldn’t believe what I saw in place of mine. I was pissed off to say the least. I know mistakes happen in yearbooks all the time. I’ve seen plenty of them. But this guy wasn’t even, to mine or any of my friends knowledge, anyone who even attended our school. That makes it feel intentional and mean. So I’ve wondered for years who disliked me so much to swap my picture out for some strange man. It’s a mystery. Of course the girl claims to not have had any knowledge of it and she’s sticking to her story til death do us part I’m sure.
It occurred to me the other day that it’s actually pretty ironic that there’s a dude’s picture in my place in the yearbook now that I’m transitioning. Who knew? Now, if they had just changed the name under it too that would’ve been really helpful. I wasn’t a bad looking guy.
My class has a reunion every five years and I’ve gone to a couple of them. I was even on the committee that organized one of them. Since I live nearby I get roped into stuff like that a lot. I didn’t attend the last one and I don’t know that I’ll ever go to another. I stay in contact with the people that matter to me from that chapter of my life. I don’t enjoy the reunions at all and find them stressful and boring. Now that I’ve transitioned I feel like it would be way over the top stressful for me to go again. I just can’t see myself walking into my high school reunion as a man or trying to pretend like I’m still a woman. I guess this is some unresolved shame I’m holding onto, but I just can’t shake it and if I can’t imagine it I probably won’t do it. People know I changed my name but for some reason I’m really scared to let them actually meet Shawn now. I have no problem being myself around my real friends but these quasi acquaintances from the past? I just feel like all they’ll do is judge me. Isn’t that what reunions are all about anyway? Plus, I don’t want to be anyone’s science experiment friend. I can hear it now. “Hey, this is my transgendered friend, Shawn! Isn’t she cute as a guy? She used to be a girl and now she’s a boy. Cool, huh?”
No thank you!!