I’ve been think a lot lately about the 2018 yearbook.
We’re approaching the first deadline for the 2020 book. The seniors on staff were sophomores on 2/14. With the exception of two current seniors, all of the others worked on the 2018 book. They’re the last of the crew from that year. The juniors on staff were on campus that day as freshmen, and some were in my J1 class, but they weren’t on staff.
A woman from Columbine said something in July at the AFT conference I went to in DC. She said that at first, what happened is your memory – it then becomes your story.
I find that sharing my story helps me. I don’t get emotional. I didn’t like that in the beginning – I felt like it was disingenuous of me to not emote. I have rarely cried when telling my story and I don’t know why. I just know that talking about it helps me help others to understand what I/we went through; it also keeps gun violence and school shootings in the conversation.
So, back to the 2018 yearbook.
I look at that yearbook and I just love it. I hate every book I’m working on during the process, and even for a few weeks after it arrives at school. When I look at that year’s book, all I see are the struggles, the stress, the mistakes, the things we decided to do or not to do. I have never felt that way about the 2018 book. It is so special and means so much more than just being a book.
How did I even make the 2018 book? So many changes, so many additions, so many new words to read, so many new pages to edit. We needed to get it right. My staff and I made and overhauled a book in six weeks. What takes nine to ten months in a normal school year was redone in six weeks.
I listened to the two-part interview I did with Jim Jordan of Walsworth again yesterday and today. It’s my voice. Those are my words. Hearing it again, it sounds like someone else’s story. I lived it – I know I did – but when I stop and think about it, it’s surreal.
I think about the seniors from that year all the time. There are some, of course, I think about more than others. They all know how much I care about them, and that I’m always here for them. Always.
I was talking to one of my current senior editors. She was commenting on the divide she felt on staff this year. I asked her why she thought there was one. She said that the new staff (mostly sophomores) not only weren’t on campus on 2/14, but also weren’t on staff that year. The staff left from the 2018 yearbook grew so much closer because of the book, but also because of the bond formed over a common experience.
While I certainly don’t mind tooting my own horn, I’m also very humble. I know the things I do well and the areas in which I excel, but I also don’t like to brag about myself. I am so proud and impressed with not only my 2018 staff (who I praise all the time), but also with myself. I put my whole life on hold to make that book. My husband said it gave me a focus and a purpose when I was lost. He’s right. I also knew what I was making. I knew that this book, like all of them, are what you hold on to for the rest of your life. Beyond it being just a yearbook, it told our story – something no one else could tell.
I don’t know how much I’ve ever stopped to think about the massive undertaking that the 2018 yearbook actually was. I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to think about anything related to that time. Part of PTSD and trauma is remembering things very clearly and yet not at all. I remember certain aspects of the last four months of the 2017-2018 school year like they were yesterday, while other parts are just fuzzy. I guess that’s ok. The moments I need to keep with me are there, and the rest can stay in the background.
I’m very strong. I’m the rock that so many others lean on. I soak up their stress, issues, concerns, heartache like a sponge. I ring myself out when needed. I also have an amazing support network, outside of my family and close friends. I am a part of the shittiest club in the world – the gun violence survivor network. They get what I’m going through in ways that others just don’t get, by no fault of their own.
I came across this article today. I am so thankful for my network. They help me and keep me afloat. We get each other.