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08:06:2006 Entry: "Ann : The Age Milestone/My Need for Disapproval"

The Age Milestone/My Need for Disapproval

The other day I watched a documentary on Janis Joplin simply titled "Janis." I have thought forever that Janis always looked older than her years and I assumed it was probably the fast lifestyle that inevitably did her in that also prematurely aged her. Except now. After I saw this movie, she looked so young, like a child. How did my perspective change so quickly? Am I getting that old? Have I reached some sort of age milestone where all the rockstars from your youth now look like they could be your children?

The most disturbing part of the movie was when she was doing an interview with Dick Cavett, and she was saying how she was going to go back to her home town of Port Arthur, Texas for her 10th high school reunion. Like all creative artists, Janis was shunned in high school. So what was confusing to me is why she would want to go back? Perhaps it was this glimpse into her personality which made me see someone not haggered (sp?) by drugs, but someone extremely naive. Maybe this is why I now see her as such a little girl (I don't mean this in a bad way, but I don't know any other way to phrase it) as opposed to a mature woman who upon receiving a high school reunion notification in the mail, laughs and tosses it in the trash. I assume she went "home" to see the popular in crowd and to say to them "look at me, see, I made it big, I'm more famous than you'll ever be. Wish you hadn't treated me like shit and laughed me out of town now?" I can respect that flipping off the establishment attitude, yet at the same time I think by the time you're 27 or 28 you're sort of beyond that, and would prefer to take the high road and ignore the reunion entirely...the ultimate flip-off. The unpopular kid turned famous showing up at his high school to show off is sort of a fantasy of the recently graduated 19-year old. By the time you're in your late 20s, let alone have the fame of Janis's stature, why would you want to bother? I think it goes beyond flipping off...I think she must have craved approval horribly, and approval by thousands of fans a night didn't matter...she needed the approval of her hometown and former classmates. I find that really sad.

I'm so glad that even though I was technically living in the same town I went to high school in by the time I got my 10th reunion notice, I technically wasn't there anymore. Stan and I were on a reconnaissance mission to Madison, where I got accepted to graduate school, the very same weekend as the reunion. Not that I would've gone anyway. By the time I graduated from high school I was worlds apart from that scene as if it was somebody else's life.

It does make me wonder, if Janis had my attitude towards high school reunions, would she still be alive? This desperate need for approval that she was trying to find in people she used to know, she finally found in a bottle and a needle. Maybe she shouldn't have cared and been a bit more ambivalent. Because it truly didn't matter, her high school reunion. It's just sad she couldn't see that.

2 Comments

It is hard to say what Janis may have been thinking - if she wanted to show her success of if she truely wanted to try and connect with people she went to school with - or perhaps some combination of motives. I can't imagine that she would have made the decision carelessly and she probably did think things through more deeply than a movie about her might show. Movies kind of show everyone to be some sort of shallow minded dim wit because - I guess - 'that's entertainment'.

I feel very unmotivated to go to a class reunion. I'm thinking there would be too little for me to say except 'Hello and hope things are going well for you'..... I guess I feel that I already have too much else to take care of and enough friends and family, so that I don't really have time for platitudes with people I've been out of touch with for years. There are just too many more important things to attend to than going to a class reunion... that's just the way life goes.

I think if people go to those kinds of things it's best if they at least have a few people they've remained close to over the years and that's not my situation.

Posted by stanley @ 08:06:2006:11:02 AM CST

i skipped mine. i didn't hang with anyone in my grade!

Posted by dawn @ 08:06:2006:12:12 PM CST

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