Teenage Dirtbag

Until about 45 minutes ago, I hadn’t logged into facebook for all of so-far 2012. In a moment of loneliness (Colby, will you come home please), habit, and nostalgia, I decided to reactivate my account. What was I thinking? I already regret it. But I also already updated my profile picture and commented on some friends’ photos, walls, and virtual lives. It’s done. I’m a facebook goner once again.

I’ve never been one for linear time. I’m a shades-of-gray person, and what I feel matters more than here, then, or when. There’s nothing I fear more than discussions of the past or talks of what if. Mixed with a lot of me me me and now now now, that’s all I see facebook as–a land of I did and I will, don’t you care? Time and occurrence are all that matter. I can’t stand that.

So what gives?

First off, my pride. I had a position here, and I’d like to think some people admired it. I know it’s quite a simple thing to toss out facebook, but while many people told me they wanted to eliminate it or cut back, they never did. I had (past tense emphasis here) the resolve, and I was happy with that, for the most part. So what really gives?


Communication has just gotten too damn hard to do without facebook. I hate that I am admitting it, but it’s true. I had a handful of friends who were sweet enough to talk on the phone, skype, email, and share pictures in other ways. So that makes about six friends and my mom. It was hard.

That said, the reason I even logged into facebook this afternoon was to inquire about my ten-year high school reunion. The status? Well for once I wish there was one! If anything has been planned, it seems I’ve missed it. I know our class president is all important with an engineering degree from MIT and whatnot, but when you graduate with 830+ people, you imagine there’ll be a little something to celebrate, right? Nope. Not to rail it once again, but it seems social media has replaced such things.

Do you detect the conflict in my voice? You bet. There are feelings and memories of my past (we’ll begin and end “the past” with high school) that I want to relive, that I want to be aware that people care about. But I don’t really want those memories catalogued so precisely from here on out via something like facebook.

One of the reasons I’m able to look so fondly on my teenage years, a time when I was the most confused and complicated as I’ll ever be (yes, I believe high school has nothing on the supposed, quarter-life crisis) is that it only exists in my mind, in a few shoe boxes closeted in my parents’ suburban home, and in the melodies of some really good late-90s songs. It’s nowhere else. To me, that’s what memories are. Things you don’t pick up too often, things you frame gently in the murk of your mind, tucking them away for the next time you have the need to feel a little more innocent, open, and unafraid. That’s exactly how I felt in high school. And I remember it as a really sweet and spirited chapter of my life.

So, to safely relive and reconcile the past, in a place where only 3 readers will see it and with enough of my words to constitute a true feeling and not a mere event, I’m attaching some pictures. I’m also going to suggest you check out my “Throw Back” playlist, that is, if you graduated in 2002 (or ’03 if you’re a youngin’ like Colby). Mom and Dad, you may not be so inclined! But to my mom and dad, thanks for putting up with me as a teen. I came across this quote in a podcast recently, and I think it describes my adolescence pretty well. Not that I had a insecure or unhappy upbringing by any means, but those of you who know me well know I did struggle. I am proud of the woman I am now, ten years later, and it’s all thanks to you.

“One thing you who had secure or happy childhoods should understand about those of us who did not, we who control our feelings, who avoid conflicts at all costs or seem to seek them, who are hypersensitive, self-critical, compulsive, workaholic, and above all survivors, we’re not that way from perversity. And we cannot just relax and let it go. We’ve learned to cope in ways you never had to.” –Piers Anthony 

So, about those pictures.

Me as a teeny ballerina. In many of these pictures, I don’t look like I’ve changed at all. I get it from my Mama. This one, however, captures me at 14 years old–a baby! Michelle, to my right, was in my wedding last year.

This one is to show so many people who didn’t know me back then that yes, I did dance. This was actually taken in 2004, at the Ballet Chicago studios. Most of the time, I loved ballet.

Me and my first niece, Veronica in May of 2002. She may not know it, but as a newborn, she was an inspiration for me during a pretty tough time. When I look at Veve now, I see how the time flies!

My first formal dance, sophomore year. At one time, I was taller than others…

Alex, Stef, Amy, and Julie lifting me up on my 17th birthday, senior year. My birthday almost always fell on the first day of school, but these girls always made me feel special in spite of it!

Lunch table gang, senior year. Notice I never smiled with my teeth? It’s called braces, and teenage insecurity! When I think of a ten-year reunion, it’s these girls I’d really like to see. Sigh.

This one’s of me and my best friend Alex, also a bridesmaid last year. A few things: Alex has highest high cords; I have high honor cords. She’s an MD now, so that’s my excuse. Also, you can barely see we have flag pins on our gowns. 9/11 happened the fall of my senior year, and our graduation ceremony was as much a tribute as it was a graduation.


7 thoughts on “Teenage Dirtbag

  1. It’s been a long path, but you have grown in wisdom, sensitivity, compassion, strength and beauty. We love you always, Mom and Dad.

  2. Teenaged angst? Maybe. But what an absolutely amazing women that you have become…did not know you then, but love knowing you now. And i love your blog. You are a great writer!

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