Why I Must Regretfully Decline Your Invitation to the 15 Year Reunion of Our Graduating Class at the Alma Mater Which Gave Me CPTSD by Shannon Frost Greenstein

So.  I hear there’s a reunion afoot.

I mean, it’s hard not to notice.  It’s on the university’s social media pages.  I got the invite in the mail, on behalf of the Class of 2004 Reunion Committee, accompanied by a nicely-worded letter groveling for donations to the alumni fund.   

Yes, by God, that sounds like a reunion, and if I’m to assume from this invitation that I’m invited, Class of 2004 Reunion Committee, I need you all to sit down for a moment…the better not to fall over from this truth bomb:

I will be regretfully declining your invitation to the 15 year reunion of our graduating class at the alma mater which gave me CPTSD.

Put another way:  I would rather shove bamboo under my fingernails while giving birth on a bed of hot coals than purposely relive any part of the worst four years of my existence in the ivory towers and acclaimed halls of our joint collegiate experience that permanently traumatized my very sense of self.

I know.  I know, wow, right?  Let me give you a minute to collect yourself, Class of 2004 Reunion Committee, because I know that’s a lot to swallow. 

After all, you’ve poured heart and soul into this get-together.  You formed a committee.  You’re positive, I’m positive, that this reunion is going to be spectacularly received by adults now in their early-middle age, a chance to celebrate and wistfully remember those shining years at the university against which all other years now seem dim.  After all…college is the best four years of your life.

Yeah…about that…

It’s not that I want to tear apart your hallowed memories.  It’s not that I want to shit on your experiences, even though they consist mostly of binge drinking Everclear and sneaking into bars. 

It’s just that, our alma mater, so high on the Princeton List rankings, so expensive, so prestigious, was literally responsible for four years of my own personal torment, and I’m not so inclined to react positively when presented with the chance to go back to the early 2000s and witness all that trauma again.

Now, wait a moment.  Don’t think I’m not accepting culpability.  After all, I made some bad choices.  I didn’t prioritize correctly.  I might have had a few too many shots of cheap-apple-flavored vodka.  I also might have been going slowly insane from dormant mental illness just making itself felt.  But it happened there, and it got worse there, and because of the juxtaposition of nature and nurture, I can’t escape the association of our university with absolute hell, angst, and suffering.

Plus, the school didn’t do much when I was raped.  I might still harbor some resentment about that.

But, yes.  That’s essentially why.  That’s essentially why, Class of 2004 Reunion Committee, I will be declining your invitation to the 15 year reunion of the graduating class of the alma mater which gave me CPTSD. 

Wait, what’s that?

No…I’m still not donating to the alumni fund, either.

Shannon Frost Greenstein resides in Philadelphia with her family and spoiled cats. She is a former Ph.D. candidate in Continental Philosophy, meaning she is no fun at parties and has a lot of debt. Shannon harbors an unhealthy interest in Hamilton, Nietzsche, Game of Thrones, and Mount Everest. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee with work that has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Scary Mommy, WHYY…actually, you know what, just Google her. twitter: @mrsgreenstein 

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