A couple years ago, this guy added me on Facebook. We have lots of mutual friends, so I figure I must know him, but I've looked over all his pictures and info and still can't place him. I'm not a Facebook, snob, though, and I accepted the request. After all, having "too many" people on my friends list really doesn't adversely affect me. The newsfeed only shows me the ones whose pages I visit frequently anyway. If I don't care what Danny Douchebag from third grade is doing, I just won't visit his page. No rejection necessary. I do, of course, avoid adding people with whom I have absolutely no connection, but mostly that's because I don't want people I KNOW calling or IMing me, let alone people I don't.
I'm off on a tangent. Let's go back to that guy I don't remember.
The other day I found a journal from high school. I started reading through it, with all of the appropriate cringes and giggles one might expect as one browses through the unfiltered ramblings of one's former self, and who did I find mentioned repeatedly? That's right. Forgettable Facebook Friend. Now, it's not like I'm looking back on something I wrote twenty years ago. I was seventeen when I wrote this particular journal. That's... um... hold on, calculating... that's only eight years ago! Eight years and I have COMPLETELY forgotten a guy with whom I was so closely acquainted that he made it into my journal multiple times!!! How is that possible?
This isn't the first time this has happened, mind you. In college, a friend informed me we had a mutual acquaintance. When the name didn't sound familiar at all, I found this person on facebook, did a rather in-depth stalking job, and found that I had no memory of ever having met her. But here's the kicker: There were pictures of us together! "I'm sorry, what? I must have misheard you," you say. Nope. You heard me right. There is photo evidence of our friendship, and if I saw her on the street, I would not recognize her.
This probably makes me sound like some sort of egotistical witch-with-a-B (as I might have said in high school), but that's really not the case. Or at least I don't think it is. If anything, judging by my journals, I was entirely too focused on everyone BUT myself. Man oh man, did I ever whine about how many friends screwed me over once they'd gotten all they wanted out of me. Parts of my journal are like a Dashboard Confessional album on a loop. And yet, after all those traumas, I barely remember any of it. It all seemed so important at the time. It all seemed like it would last forever. Teenagers are like Tinkerbell. They can only really feel one thing at a time. And for most, that one thing is usually negative. It's just part of the deal, I guess.
But the funny part is that it seriously doesn't matter. We aren't ready to hear that at the time, when parents and counselors and old people in department stores try to tell us, but it's true. It's only been eight years since I wrote in that journal, and I've forgotten things I would've sworn were either the best or worst things that would ever happen to me in my entire life. I was wrong. The worst thing so far happened my freshman year of college, and the best came a year after I got my first degree. I expect the superlative rankings of these things will change. I'll remember them a little better than the events of high school, but the details will get fuzzy and the feelings less tangible. That's life, thank God.
I keep reading about all these kids killing themselves over taunting and bullying from peers. Can you imagine if being a teenager was going to last forever? If that were the case, I doubt many of us would get out alive. But it doesn't last forever. When you look back, it's a strange, awkward blip on the radar. It just feels inescapable at the time. I wish someone would tell these kids, "No, seriously, I had the biggest thing for this one guy for four years, and I can't even remember his name." The pain is real, the kids are mean, and yeah, some of them live their whole lives and never get what they deserve for making someone else's life a living hell, but it's well worth waiting it out.