My So-Called Life: If I Could Go Back

With the addition of Netflix into one’s household comes a whole lot of baggage.

Like, say, for instance, the fact that I’m re-watching the entire series of My So-Called Life and it’s bringing up a lot of tortured memories. Like how much I’m still in unrequited love with Jordan Catalano and secretly hoping we’ll run into each other in the boiler room. And how every time he leans up against a locker I still get all sorts of excited. And how I was even more awkward acting and looking in real life than Claire Danes or her character Angela ever tried to be.

So much plaid.

Then, there are, as pieces of fallen confetti, those random, amazing memories and firsts that can only high school can offer. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss those days – especially when I wake up to a stack of bills and grown-up problems, that seem to increase with complexity by the hour.

All of this has left me feeling nostalgic,and also wondering about things I would have done differently. You know, cus hindsight is 20/20 or some crap like that, right?

Well, I spose I can come up with a few. I’ll limit it just to high school – otherwise we’ll be here until 2012 when we all die. [Names may or may not be changed, just to make it more annoying for my friends who are going to dissect this.]

1. I would have actually raised my hand to answer questions in grade school as opposed to staring at the puke-stained carpet cus I was too shy to talk, while listening to Johnny s-s-spit out the answer already – which was always incorrect. I partially blame Johnny for my teeth-grinding habit.

2. I would have told Jack that I fell in love with him the very first day of 2nd grade when he picked me to be his wife during The Farmer in the Dell. Instead, we passive aggressively flirted with each other until we graduated – without ever admitting we had feelings – except it was no secret to anyone, but us.

3. I wouldn’t have let that creeptown Ben steal my first kiss, thus lumping me in with almost every girl in my school – including my best friend. How whack is THAT? Rite of passage, I guess.

4. I would have told that Susie [definitely a fake name – isn’t Susie always a fake name?] girl to back off, shut up, and mind her own business because she was nothing but a blond-haired, big-mouthed ball of meanness! And if she tried to spread one more rumor about me than I would yank her badly -box-bleached platinum hair out by the ever-loving roots.

5. I would have never been a cheerleader or rolled my eyes at my amazing parents.

6. I would have never driven to the mall that Friday night in a state of sheer devastation – against my mother’s wishes. She’s like the Nostradamus of mothers. Almost lost my life that night and my poor broken head will never be the same.

7. Ditto on #4 to about twelve other girls.

8. No, I still wouldn’t have gotten a class ring. I actually made the right choice the first time.

9. But I would have insisted on Senior picture redos at any cost.

10. I would have started plucking my eyebrows a lot sooner, tanning a lot later, and highlighting my hair a quarter to never.

So, my lovelies, would you have done anything differently?

Wondering where I went? I have returned to blogging over at my whole foods blog Celery and the City, where we live so clean it’s like your insides took a bath.

52 thoughts on “My So-Called Life: If I Could Go Back

  1. First – totally with you on the WordPress plug.

    Anyway! I would have gotten over the first boyfriend a good YEAR or so before it actually happened (isn’t that always the way?). He completely occupied the better part of my sophomore year when I could have been focused on other things.

    I was also thinking perhaps I wouldn’t have cheated on my second boyfriend (“cheat” in high school terms – I kissed another boy whilst at Science Camp) but, actually, I think I just wouldn’t have told him… (AHH! I’M A TERRIBLE PERSON!).

    • dude, i can totally relate to this. when i studied abroad, i ended up dating some stupid british guy that went on to ruin my life. ahem, but whatever. anyway, i definitely spent too much time with him when i should have been focused on having fun and traveling and all that crap. sigh.

  2. Never seen this show, but I truly need to rent the series because I’ve heard good things about it. LOVE Claire Danes!

    LOVE your #2! The Farmer In The Dell – HA!

    And listen, I DID get a class ring but ended up giving it to my ex (the bastard), because he liked it so much, but never got it back when we split. 🙁

    I think if I had to do one thing differently, it would have been to BEG my parents to transfer me out of catholic school into public sooner than the 8th grade.

    BTW, speaking of BLOGGER….I am so OVER it. It’s still not running. If I didn’t have over four years invested in my blog, I would seriously move over to WP. But, I still might. Thank you for loving me enough to comment, girl. I agree…their commenting system SUCKS an elephant!


    • you NEEEED to watch this. so angsty, and tortured, and obsessive and yet lovely. definitely a show we can all rou’elate to cus we were all there. it takes ya back for sure. you’d love it. and that jordan (jared leto) is SO HAWT!

      dude, do the switch. peeps will follow you (or at least i will) WP is SOOOOO much better!

  3. 1) I would have grown beyond 5’3″ before senior year (when I reached 6′), because I obviously had complete control over this. Being shorter than most of the girls for the first 3 years of high school certainly doesn’t help the social life.
    2) Different hair cut. Seriously. Waiting until 2003 to fix it was a bad idea. (I have my parents to thank for guiding me down the wrong path.) And no, you can’t see any pictures. New goal: getting my mom to remove my senior pictures from the family room wall at home. I’ll just threaten her that I’ll never bring a girl home until she does.
    3) Growing a pair and actually asking a girl out in high school, even though anyone that was even mildly attractive was either a giant self centered bitch or really dumb (or both). Such a terrible selection. I think maybe one girl would have been worthwhile, but she was caught up in terrible high school relationships with losers.
    4) Letter jacket? Poor choice.

    I was already a smartass that stood up to people and (amazingly) never got my ass kicked. A trend that continues to this day…

    High school was filled with such misguided notions of what was cool and popular, that looking back it was kind of sad. I would wonder how they’re all failing at life these days, but thanks to facebook, I probably know more than I would ever want to.

    • brandon-

      1. i’ve missed u!

      2. all the coolest, smartest people are losers now that i went to school with – thanks to fb i know that!

      3. letter jacket – bahahhahaha. um, there are some guys who seriously still have the same haircut as high school. wtf

      4. yea, you haven’t gotten beat up cus you’re like me, you can put someone in their place with a smile and half the time they don’t even realize you’re doing it. that’s why.

  4. This is so funny-tragic! I so get where you are coming from. Even though I’ve never seen that program. I have an ADD affliction when it comes to television, just can’t seem to sit down and watch it.

    But you’re right about class rings, they’re a total waste of money. And standing up to bullying classmates too. Mean people suck now and they sucked back then too.

    Regarding wordpress, I do admit that it’s easy for a non-genius like me to get things happening rather quickly. But beyond the basics, I don’t see the advantages. But that’s probably why I’m a non-genius. At least with Blogger on my old blog, adding plugins was easy. So I could bypass the comment ridiculousness with an alternate comment management tool.

    How are those wedding plans coming along?? wishing you well!

    • do you have wordpress now??? adding plugins is the easiest thing in the world! you just go to plugins, then click add new, then search for the one you want. and if you download from a random site, then you basically just upload the zipped file in the same area. if you have any questions, please ask. wordpress is my jam!

      you gotta watch My So Called Life. it takes everyone back. pretty sure there isn’t a soul who couldn’t relate to those awkward, obsessive teen years.

      wedding plans? what?? haha

  5. I probably would have changed a lot.
    Fortunately I remember very little beyond what I did 5 minutes ago.
    Which is probably a good thing.
    Three cheers for repression!

  6. If there was one thing I would change was to appreciate my own body. It was so hard where more than half my peers were skinny waif-like figures and I came in with curves. So it’s hard being surrounded by girls who were size zeroes and associating myself with them instead of embracing myself and my body. At the time I remember that a few girls made a rumor that went along the lines of “I was carrying so and so’s baby and that’s why my boobs were so huge”. When in reality I’m part white and I was blessed with big boobs. I just wish I was wise enough to tell those skinny waif girls to suck my left nut and beat the crap out of them instead of trying to conform to them and convincing myself that I was a size zero when in reality I was a healthy size six.


    Angela is THE single most HAIR-TOUCHINGEST chick I’ve ever SEEN. . .

    meh, doing it differently wouldn’t put me where I am today, so even though there might be some things I’d like to change, I wouldn’t for fear of getting lost in some weird space-time continuum or something and ending up as a fat bald man without a family. . .

  8. i also hate commenting on blogger blogs. . .

    i’ve been revisiting high school in my mind lately, as it’s been 10 years since i graduated so it seems like a good time to get nostalgic. . . certainly some things i would do differently, for sure. . . some things that are potentially entirely to personal to write here, i’m afraid. . . but I don’t regret getting a class ring. I even still wear mine on occasion ;P

    • dude, right? me too, ten years this year…. except i went to a small private school so i don’t have to endure reunions.

      really with the class ring??? you’re def the only one who’s said it was worth it. hah.

  9. I would have been more of a slut. Maybe not in high school, but definitely in college and beyond.

    My So Called Life was awesome, but I have to say, my heart belongs to Freaks & Geeks.

  10. I would have kept to myself more instead of making folks laugh and getting into trouble for it at lunch. My principal hated me. Oh yes, and I’d have been far more mature, tried for that “Always in a mortuary” look, but when I kept to myself, she didn’t like that either. Blah.
    My heart belongs to Beavis.
    Blogger seems to have pretty backgrounds but I hate their comment thingy too.

    • yea, my girls and i would ALWAYS get in trouble for laughin in class and we’d get our notes read out loud. then we got wise and made up a code, which we still write in to this day! hah

  11. I, too, succumbed to watching My So-Called Life. Luckily, I was able to stop after one season.

    If I could change the past, I’d have not worn so much plaid trying to look like Angela. Seriously, plaid is so unflattering. And I’m totally with you on the eyebrows. Mine were caterpillars.

  12. “Ditto on #4 to about twelve other girls.”

    I am going to have to agree on this, not just for high school but grade school as well. Being bullied was not fun and I wish I had the guts back then to give them all a piece of my mind!

  13. I don’t know that there is too much I would change.. I look back and realize I am who I am because of the Shit-tastick experience I had in high school.

    One thing I would definitely do is tell off the teachers who tried to get me kicked out of every student organization I was apart of because they saw me at a bar over the summer (It was before 9 o clock sooooo ya know, I could be in there) before my senior year.

    It was a huge fiasco.

    and now that I say that, I have like 50 millions things all relating to teachers that I would do/say.

  14. It’s getting redundant how alike we are but…WE ARE SO ALIKE.

    I would also have plucked my eyebrows a lot sooner.

    I would have told that popular boy in 7th grade who I loved and who liked me back but then decided he didn’t because I wasn’t cool enough that he could go FUCK himself.

    I would NEVER allowed peer pressure to give me an eating disorder.

    And I would have really, really enjoyed my mom’s cooking. Cuz hot damn, it’s hard to do on your own.

  15. Hey I’m on blogger but I use DISQUS because their comment system is lame. I don’t know if that is enough to get you to come over but please don’t come over because you think I’m cool. I’m not and I don’t really care for those cool cliques.
    #2 is the best – “So we met playing Farmer in the Dell.”

  16. Junior & High School were really weird for me… I had many friends but I was always ducking away from these three bullies who tried to make my life hell in between classes… that was until I joined the cheerleading squad and they had my back, but not soon after was I expelled for beating the crap out the bully who kept pulling my hair and trying to steal my jacket with a principal who made it his determination to run me in the ground because my father made fun of him when he was HIS teacher and got a scholarship to harvard and had a lot friends despite his “class clown-like-dispostion” and stood up against assholes who hated black people! Between trying not to get beat up and avoiding the grudge Mr. principal had against me… I don’t want to revisit it! I miss my cheer squad and my friend though.. I was crowned the preppy slut!

  17. 1) Ditto on the class ring. Those things are ridonkulous.
    2) I would have been much more promiscuous with the ladies.
    3) I did enough drugs and drinking to kill an elephant almost every day of high school. Yet I still became a professor – so I guess I’d leave that be.
    4) I should have punched that bastard James right in the throat.
    5) “So, if you have Blogger and I still associate with you then you must be off the charts cool or something” Trying… to… hold back… the tears. My twinsie… is… the best… evahhh!

    • someone a few comments ago said she would have been a bigger slut. sounds like if we went back in time, you two would have gotten a long quite well.

      james’ are always bastards.

  18. It really surprises me how much I’ve grown up since 8th grade. I remember the drama back then. There were these 2 girls in my class, the popular ones, so full of themselves, always trying to get the boys’ attention. And I remember one of them saying that in her opinion modesty is NOT a quality, it’s not something she admires. This particular girl was so conceited, and thought she had a great sense of style. I actually thought she did as well, but at 15, what did i know.
    We’re Facebook buddies now, and you have no idea how glad I am that OMG, she has no sense of style at all! It gives me some kind of sadistic pleasure to see her wearing outfits that just don’t work!
    If I could do something differently I would tell her what I thought “It sometimes amazes me you have absolutely no idea how ordinary you really are.”
    I also wish I hadn’t obsessed as much about being super tall, super skinny and with small boobs.

  19. 1. I would have been nicer to my mom and actually accepted responsibility for getting caught doing the shit I actually did instead of trying to talk my way out of being grounded. It never worked, anyway.

    2. I would have been nicer to some people. Especially that one time freshman year I said that mean thing to fit in about the girl I didn’t really know who was standing right behind me. Why are we such bitches at that age? You know, the age from when we leave elementary school to some time during/after college?

    3. I wouldn’t have put up with some of the bullshit I put up with. And I wouldn’t have handed out as much as I did.

    4. I would not have driven home. That one night. Or that one morning. Of course, those times meant I stopped drinking so much and drove my friends all the time so they wouldn’t drive drunk either. In high school. But I stopped for realz after college. Sweartogod.

    Wow. I made myself look really awesome, huh. Yikes. Live and learn? I wouldn’t have been friends with me back then either? Can we still be friends now?

  20. There are so many things I wish I had done differently in high-school, plucking my eyebrows being one of them. And kudos to us for not buying into that class ring gimmick. What a waste of money! I wore my mom’s old class ring instead.

  21. My So-Called Life?!…………. Ok, it was quite good yeah. I watched it but I also watched ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’ more. And don’t tell me you didn’t want to see some kind of cross over between the 2 at some point during their original airing. Otherwise what is human language for? Let alone racing pigeons.

    If I went back, I’d try and get my mum and dad together at the school dance so that my family wasn’t wiped out by me going back in the first place. Hang on, there’s something wrong there. I know…, I’d change my grades and my girlfriends grades too so I could learn about not causing a thermonuclear war later on. Hmmmm? No…., ah, got it…..I’d go back and take my best friend out to the big city for the day and somehow smash up his dad’s Ferrari……….aww f*?K! That’s not sh*tting right either.

    I suppose I would go back and watch less TV so that in the future I’d be able to answer any simple question like yours proposed in a more reasonable manner.

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