The Young And The Restless (And The Angry. And The Sad. And The Confused.)
The way she stomped around this morning, concluded by the slamming of the back door as she left for the bus stop, reminded me of something that I sometimes try to put out of my head: She is fifteen, and fifteen is hard.
Do you remember fifteen? I do.
I was a sophomore in high school, though she is a freshman, and I hated everyone. Except Kevin Bacon. Him, I loved.
My mom and dad fought, constantly, and had just announced that they were having another baby. I found this confusing and, ultimately, unacceptable. I couldn’t believe that they were still having sex, and my mother’s protruding belly would be visible, mortifying proof of that. I cried to my friends that old people (33 and 35, respectively) shouldn’t be doing the things we read about in Judy Blume novels. And when, exactly, was this happening? Because, seriously, they despised each other. Weren’t feelings black and white? The shades of gray where someone could scream at someone else (or be screamed at) and still want to “go all the way” with them made me sad and angry. Also, at fifteen, wasn’t I the one who was supposed to be getting knocked up in a dramatic attempt to be noticed? Why was my mom living my teen years?
On top of the turmoil at home, I was the chubby girl at school (I considered myself fat but, at 5’6″ and 145 lbs, I WISH I were that fat now!) and poor for my very West Beverly-ish high school (I grew up just south of LA and was living Beverly Hills 90210 every day). As the penniless round girl, I was teased, mercilessly, and became “the funny one” as a defense mechanism (thank god I’ve matured so much since then. heh). I used self-deprecating humor (“Yo mama’s so fat, she borrows her panties from me!”) (“We’re so broke that Laura Ingalls turns up her nose at my outfits!”) to make sure that everyone was aware that I was aware of my own shortcomings, hoping they would feel relieved of the need to point them out.
I was awkward in my interactions with others; I never, EVER timed my period right, usually ending up in some reddish-brown disaster on the back of my thrift store pants; I was secretly hoping my parents would divorce just so they would stop yelling; I liked boys, but was chunky wallpaper to them; I WAS A FLAG GIRL FOR FUCK SAKE. I was a goddamn disaster.
So, when my beloved slams the door, or snaps at me, or rolls her eyes, or cries for some small reason (or no reason at all), or forgets to be kind (even though she is a kind girl), or acts just like I acted, I die. Because I am reminded that she is fifteen. And fifteen is so, so hard.