Who I was at the end of high school (Stephanie Kuehnert)

I don't have graduation pictures to share like a lot of my fellow bloggers. I didn't actually go to graduation for a few reasons... 1. I hated high school. 2. My high school had this tradition where the girls had to wear white dresses to graduation that I thought was totally sexist, and also being Goth at the time, I did not wear white. 3. I graduated a semester early and moved to Madison, Wisconsin, in what would have been January of my senior year. 

Now, 16 years and 6 months later, I am preparing for another big move. In July, my husband and I set off for Seattle, Washington, my "heart city." I'm a total packrat with a serious nostalgia problem (I have earrings I loved in fourth grade), so I've been going through my possessions, getting rid of things, cataloging others. I found something I made either at the end of my junior year or the beginning of my senior year... I think it was the latter, in journal writing class maybe. It's a mini-poster about my life and my dreams:

Some things are the same, some are different now. I think that bit in the top right hand corner still sums me up 16 years later. Writing, feminism, and punk rock are all represented here. I'm not really a poet anymore, but "Kill Supermodels" was my zine and writing for Rookie magazine is totally the kind of thing I would have dreamed about back then. Sarah's Inn, is a domestic violence agency I volunteered for during my junior and senior year. Even though I loved writing, my experiences there made me want to become a social worker instead. That is what I went for college for initially, at Antioch, which is on there (but may be hard to make out) in that picture of the state of Ohio (which shows where it is located). There is a picture also of Illinois and Minnesota and the word Minnesota because.... I thought I was going to move to Minnesota instead of Madison up until a few months before I moved! I'd never actually BEEN to Minneapolis but had this whole idea that it was where I belonged (I dunno... Babes in Toyland were from there?) and then I drove up there with the girl I was going to live with and we totally didn't vibe with it (also it was even colder than Chicago!). She told me she thought Madison was cool, so we stopped there on the way back and I instantly fell in love with it. So I moved there instead. I also dropped out of my dream school, Antioch, after a year and decided I would pursue writing instead of social work.

I checked out Seattle far more thoroughly before deciding it was where I belonged (I, um, was there visiting when I decided that, which yanno, is the better way to go about deciding such things). I do still think a lot about Sarah's Inn and working for a non-profit, though. Maybe not as a social worker (though I have pondered going BACK to school for that), but in some capacity. If I can find a job like that in Seattle, I would be thrilled.

Kinda mind-blowing that dreams changed so quickly for me between 16 and 18, but at the core I am still the same and on such a similar path half a lifetime (!!!) later. Anyone else have this kind of experience?


  1. I like your poster, and I know what you mean about how dreams can change. I've kept all my journals dating back to when I was a kid, and I still marvel at how differently I viewed things back then. Everything seemed to be so much more clear-cut and black-and-white back when I was younger, but now I know it's a lot more complicated.


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