Saturday, February 9, 2008



"Lean with it, rock with it" blares over the radio station and my hope crashes to the floor, with a shattering outcry of...Fuuuucccck.

"What?! What's wrong?! Are you okay?!"

"Oh, yeah. Sorry mom, I missed the Cash Cow "Jam of the day" and I really needed to win a grand. Fuck."

Ok, you know you're in desperate need of money when you waste an hours worth of gas, driving out of the way, all day long, waiting for the song of the day to come on. My finger on the dial, ready to call in, I even practiced my scream of JOY. Complete jubilation. Eh, lost cause.

So I failed to win money, but what did I not fail at??? Oh, taking the ACT today.
Yes, I said ACT. I realize that I'm five years late. I should've done it when I was 18, but instead I said "fuck school, I'm too busy trying to be famous." and actually, I was. The ACT wasn't even a thought, there was no consideration, studying, planning, etc.

Until now that I'm taking classes in May, at a four year university. I had vowed, I would NEVER ever, go to school. Not because I didn't love school, the actual process of learning, but because it didn't seem to fit in my 18 year old version of a "life plan."

So today, 8 am- number 2 pencils in tow, a baggie of Teddy Grahms, and BAM. ALL of that high school insecurities I had managed to ward off (since I was 15, I began homeschooling at 15) came flooding back like a fucking tsunami.

Fidgiting fingers, hair smoothing, unnecessary throat clearing, feeling complete judgment when walking into a room of 20 teenagers who look like they want to jump you for your lunch money, and girls who are evaluating what type of eyeliner you use and if you're elligible for future boyfriend stealing, or gossip topics.

I did NOT miss this bullshit. I didn't miss the industrial toilet paper that hurts your ass, the teachers with scowling faces, fleece jackets and scrunchies. I didn't miss self doubt, even if its a constant, as you grow it's manageable. I didn't miss the bad lighting or the rules.

Though being an adult comes with a slew of responsibilty that I'm completely aware, I am still unqualified for, it also comes with a sense of self assurance.

An assurance that I think only comes when you've decided to come into your own, live in your skin- even if it's blotchy, blemished or uncomfortable.
An assurance that doesn't mind a room full of strangers but sees it as an opportunity to connect and observe personalities different from your own. An assurance that doesn't hunch or pray to go unseen, that doesn't immediately question what their wearing if it isn't the standard jeans and tee. An assurance that has a voice seperate from the school body as a whole, and a voice that they aren't afraid to use- even if it's different from everyone elses.

I throw my hands to sky with clenched fists when I miss the "song of the day" because, I don't want to be chased by the IRS in April when I'm struggling to pay taxes, but would I trade that to revert back and take on the crippling sense of insecurity, dependance and to contort myself to fit into the mold of adolescence??

What's the best quality you've gained since leaving school?


r.xo said...

Wow. Sometimes I feel like we are totally on the same page. I'm writing up a post right now (and have been for several lazy hours) about school and how bullshit it is.

I hear you. I hated high school, too. More power to you and your dreams!

Britt said...

I may have had to just google ACT because I'm in Canada and I've never heard of that in my life. But I got it now. And congrats! (also, I heart teddy grahms...even better dipped in chocolate pudding. You should try it.)

I am much more secure in who I am now than I was in high school. I used to think I was secure in myself then, but it wasn't til I'd been through a few breakups, a few moves and a lot of university before I became happy with who I was.

Kateastrophe said...

Um, I think the most valuable thing I've gained is a sense of style. I seriously should have been shot by the fashion police.

Also, is losing my hideous bangs considered a quality gained?

Nah, probably just fits into the "style" category.

Maxie said...

I can't even imagine trying to take the ACTs or SATs now... I have forgotten everything. You're much braver than I.

As for what has changed since high school, I think I have a much better control over my temper. Other than that, everything is pretty much the same. Kinda sad.

constant drama said...

I went to an all-girls high school. Goddamn if bitchiness wasnt a way of life.

Since highschool? Self confidence. For sure.

Morgan said...

Props to you. Way brave times going back to that scary scary (emotional) place.

I think I have gained more self confidence, never wonder about/care what it would be like to have been/be "popular" and can say "I dont give a fuck" and actually mean it... (but still have a soul haha)

Anonymous said...

My best quality since school.
I dunno.
I do agree with MAxie I'd hate to have take the ACT now, even though I killed it when I did take it.

Hope you did good on your test.
I also felt college was a waste of time, I think it was the right decision for me but maybe not for everyone.
Surely you will post your score, right?

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

hahaha Oh I assure you all, that if the score is by ANY MEANS in the double digits...I will post it. lol. We're at least hoping for double digits, holy moly...I have to say, I started just making patterns in dots on the math test.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

OH- AND this is completely off topic but if any of you read my post "GAH a word for the ovulating" I write a faux letter to marc jacobs, about his clothing being to expensive BUT I jsut finished watching a documentary about him...and LORD, do i wish he werent gay, I LOVE HIM AND his overly priced clothing. LOVE. He definitely puts in the work to charge.

ExposedNYC said...

One of my favorite things about getting out of high school is that every crowd has its own place. you don't have to worry as much about being popular, but you get to define success on your own terms.

Pretty people can be models and celebrities, nerds can be millionaires, family people can settle down and raise children and all of these people can be respected for following their hearts.

I do actually miss the sense of structure, though, having an end date and a final goal in sight. I was one of those freaks who actually loved high school while I was there. :)

Chele said...

hmm..actually what I learned is that I should have never have left school. I should have graduated.
ah well.
I miss high school.
What have I gained? not sure really, as I wish I was back in those carefree days waiting to become 20 and go through my 20´s again.

Ashley said...

Since high school I would say I am not a completely different person but a lot about me has changed.

I HATED HATED high school!!! College so far has been one of the best experiences. I am a whole lot more confident than I was a few years ago, I can say I don't care what people think about what I say/look/feel and actually mean it. I am a lot more accepting these days, of people/ideas/things, etc.

I prefer life now over the high school times any day.

Kudos to you for going back and taking the ACT! Have fun starting classes! :-)

Ella Gregory said...

I'm always so interested in American High Schools, just because it is nothing like that in the UK
and i always wished it was a bit more like clueless or something when I was at school

Anonymous said...

Hell yeah for going and taking the test - that's awesome.

I think I've learned how to be a better friend since high school, and also, I think I've learned to care less about what other people think and just live like I want to live.

marisa rose said...

High school, *shudder*. I've learned fitting in is not the key to happiness.

Katherine said...

In one of my posts, I said "high school is dead. No need to resurrect it." And I meant it...there's no way I'd go back to feeling like nothing when now I've got confidence and a sense of identity separate from that of my parents. I've spent years trying to figure myself out since high school, and I wouldn't trade my new less-than-complete understanding for anything.

Kayleigh said...

Ick....I winced just reading this post due to the flood of HSM (no, not high school musical, but rather high school memories) that came back all at once.

You are brave to go back and take that ACT. And I laughed so hard when you talked about the teenagers judging you, looking like they're ready to jump you and such. To be honest I still get kind of fidgety around packs of teens to this day, for those very reasons. Very disconcerting. I'm crossing my fingers for you, I'm sure you did great!

The Dutchess of Kickball said...

I learned how to just not care. I used to care what everyone thought, now my life is ruled by my opinions and my opinions only.

Anonymous said...

I didn't hate high school, but there were definitely things I would change if I were to do it all over again.

What I've learned is to be more secure with who I am and what I value. There were times when I cared more about reputation and social status than what my real self-image was.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on taking the ACT. That takes a lot of guts!

High School....well it was a loong time ago for me, but I'd say self confidence is what I have gained. I went to an all-girls CAtholic school and was not popular (oh the hair and braces! yikes!), but had a good group of friends and played sports. It was ok, but I would never want to go back. Too much drama.

Sparkling Red said...

The best thing I've learned since I finished school has been the ability to confront people and to stand up for myself. I would never, not for ten million dollars, go back to a place/time when I wasn't able to do that.

Vanessa said...

You can't pay me enough money to go back to high school. While there I was entrenched in an eating disorder, never fit in, was the object of many jokes and ended up graduating early just to try and get away from it all. It sucked!

While I am much more secure in who I am at this point in my life, it only takes paging through an old yearbook to bring the feelings of that time rushing back. Kudos to you for following your dreams from such a young age.

Kate (pereka) said...

The best thing about getting out of high school was gaining a whole lot of confidence, both academic and personal. Suck it, high school!


LoveHateSensation said...

I cant even say Ive developed a great quality since leaving school because I still have 2 more years in college to deal with.

But since HS... i'd have to say, realness. In HS people are usually afraid to say what they really feel because they may hurt someones feelings, but the older you get, it turns into who cares.

School sucks, but hey we need it. you'll be ok.

PrincessPolly said...

I have gained so much more confidence since leaving school. In fact, I have gained so much more confidence since leaving university too. I think education stifled me.

Brunhilda said...

I hope you did well on the ACT! And forget high school kids; obviously they're not worth worrying about. I think the best thing I've gained since high school is perspective. I no longer think everything that happens to me is life and death and I think I'm a nicer, less self-involved person because of it.

Plus now I have bigger boobs.

JUST ME said...

Realizing that life is hardly as serious every high school kids make it out to be...

JUST ME said...

that lost comment I made didn't make a lot of sense...did I mention I'm slightly delirious with the flu?

Jules said...

The best quality I have now is the ability to not judge people as much as I did as a teenager. I used to be in the cool group and always had many friends in many other groups but had the crazy notion that I was way nicer and more lovely because of the people I hung with. I now realise what utter shit that was and how everyone is cool in there own sense!!

Alexis said...

Hmm...qualities gained...

- Independence, although I've been independent since birth I've been able to confidently do more little things (like go see a movie or grab something to eat) on my own without worrying about what it looks like.

- That sense of self that says, "Well, what does 24 (my age in two weeks) mean anyway? It's not something that confines me, it doesn't mean it's too late for me to run after dreams and it doesn't make me a spinster." Because that's totally what the 18 year old version of me is thinking looking at me...she'll catch up so it's ok.

- I'm totally better at doing my make-up and stuff now, like the style thing is past the experimental stage and I know what I like better.

I'm sure you rocked the ACT as you will rock anything else you do. ;)

brandy said...

Sigh. There's so much here that I could relate to. I was going to say the best quality I've gained since leaving highschool is to stop caring about what others think, but then I realized, I still DO care. So I have to scratch that one off my list. Number two on my list- I've definitely become a better friend. And I think mixing a drink that doesn't curl my toes and cause permanent liver damage is up there too.

Anonymous said...

Having been to one high school reunion, I can say the best thing I have lost? High School.

Wowza are there a lot of people that are still living their lives exactly as they did when they were in school.

It was amazingly liberating to walk in there poured into a hot dress and look down my nose at those stupid ass jocks that thought they were hot shit. :)

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

lovehatesensation- just learing up, that i'm not CURRENTLY in

christine said...

since high school...i've learned NOT to care so much about boys! i feel like i wasted so much time worrying about boys, who i was dating, my stupid little "serious relationships", and trying to impress all the stupid people at my high school.
congrats on finishing the ACTs! man, i hate those tests...just took a grad school entrance exam and it turned my brain to mush!

Unknown said...

Best quality I've gain since leaving school? Being comfortable with who I am. Sure I have flaws, many in fact. But I am me and I wouldn't want to be anybody else.

I think I would break into hives if I walked back into a classroom. I still have the late for class, where is my locker, OMFG I'm naked dreams from time to time.

Anonymous said...

how funny... youre starting school in may.
im finally going back to college in may/june too. Im moving back to LA from Seattle (after a 2 year hiatus) and going to Santa Monica College and UCLA.

kokostiletto said...

good for you!
the thing that i have learned is learning not to care what other people think - i wish that more ppl would learn this skill!

Anonymous said...

Confidence. Definitely, confidence.

readsalot said...

I agree with britt, I am more secure than I was in high school. I am also more aware of others. I used to be so insecure in high school that I was afraid to talk to people, sometimes even my own friends, for fear that they would think, "Why is this girl talking to us?" So I kept to my few friends and theater and now when people ask if I remember so and so, I realize that I have no IDEA who most of the people I went to school with or even had class with were.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Flashback. I do not miss that day. Hope you did well.

Best quality I've gained?

Not caring what others think about me.

Becky at lifeoutoffocus said...

wow definitely DONT miss not being comfortable in my own skin. i hated being told where to go..what time to be there..what to wear. sucked!

nicole antoinette said...

Oh the ACT... I actually did much better on that than on the SAT and it pretty much helped get me into NYU, so.. I guess I think of it rather fondly?

I think it's pretty fucking admirable that you went back and took it, especially considering all the "ugh" that came with it.

The best quality I've gained since leaving high school is learning not to take myself so seriously. It really has made all of the difference.

d said...

OMFG, I cannot believe you had to take that test NOW! I do not envy you, my dear. That said, now that I'm not in high school the two things I love about my grown up life is my very own apartment and my paycheck (mostly because I was so broke in high school and college).

Princess Pointful said...

I think the most important skill I've gained is comfort in being alone.

BB said...

High school? Gah, hated it. I was the geek who got picked on :P But saying that, I gained tons of self-confidence after I left and now NOBODY messes with me and gets away with it. I used to be really shy but now I'm not and I'll freely speak up about an issue whenever I feel the need to.

So yeah. Confidence it is!