I remember being seventeen…
Um, ok I’m lying. No I don’t, I honestly I don’t recall anything in particular about it, my life is blurry and I count on my friends and social media to remember things for me. Because I am practically the same person I was then, now still, everything seems like a monumental “Yesterday” to me. There is no big difference for me between teenage me and “adult” me.
Well, there are a few differences: I can vote, drink, and smoke legally. But being 17 was just like a flash. There was a lot of Green Day. I knew all the answers (still do) and I had dreams of going to university (still do). I liked Tori Amos a bunch- I have the tattoo to prove it.
Often, we grow up, get to the grind and we lose sights of our passion and joy. Responsibilities, priorities, reality all come in and turn us into cynical machines of mass consumption, worry, stress and anxiety. Thankfully, I’ve always been a little crazy and never been known to do things the easy way, or cared about shit. Oh wait, I’m not sure that a virtue, but that is me. Moving on!
As you well may be aware, I have gone back to school and I am approaching the end of the road as far as my associates degree. After this, I will go for my bachelors degree, and this makes everything feel shiny and new and exciting.
I DON’T HAVE STUDENT LOAN DEBT YET! YAY!
Many of my friends have gone on to get married, have children, purchase houses, and many combinations of their grown up thing involving some of those things. I am thankful and proud of them. I am greatful they have their shit together, because when my life falls apart, I can count on them to take me in and feed me and give me advice and help me get my life back together.
For me, it’s a fine line between being a babywoman (see babyman for further reference) and being a person who is following their true, albeit untraditional path. Am I still living my life with dignity even if I am 100 years old and I have no kids and no house and no partner and no plan right now for any of them? Do I even know what the word “dignity” means? Do I care? NO! NO I don’t!
I’ve been doing my thing long enough and with enough style that even when I am magnificently failing, I still seem to come out of the shit heap smelling of roses. When I lost my job three years ago, I had a party three days later. My friends, close friends said to my face “What the fuck? What’s wrong with you? You just got laid off and you’re having a party!”
This didn’t seem unreasonable to me, because what was I to do? Lay down and die? I had already cried the day I was let go. What would you do? I did what I saw fit: I went and made out with a guy I liked that day, before I went home. That was the last time I saw that dude. That is fine by me. I needed to end a chapter, I needed to live the new leg of my life, leaving old dudes behind, bringing new energy in. New chapter, new life, which was going to be ushered in with beer. It made perfect sense.
So I left that old shit behind, left Mexico, returned to Lansing, became a barista, lived a teenage summer with Jean and had a great time. Then I went BACK to Mexico as an adult again, until I decided I needed to come back to the US and come to school.
Something shifted here, at this moment, because I became acutely aware that I needed to take very good care of myself because I was the only one paying my bills. I changed my eating habits, began to work out, floss, stopped drinking, dropped over 20 lbs. Then I started going to concerts like crazy. After the last show that is all I can talk about (I don’t care, I DON’T CARE!). One afternoon, I was telling my middle school bestie about it and we screamed with glee.
“I WAS SO PROUD OF YOU, I SHOWED MY SON YOUR PICTURE!! YOU’RE A BAD ASS!” She said to me, laughing maniacally. “I want to print out a copy of that picture and put it on my fridge!” she screamed, a we drank beers and giggled like we did when we were pre-teens on the phone in middle school, over summer break. (EXCEPT WE DIDN’T DRINK BEER AS PRE-TEENS.)
As I pondered both her reaction and Jean’s reaction (Also overwhelmingly positive, with lots of screaming, laughing and high fiving) it occurred to me that even at the ripe old age of…whatever age I am, I am suddenly living the life my teenaged me would approve, and yes, even ENVY. I am bitchy, sexy, unapologetic, beautiful, smart and experienced enough to defend my opinion, naive enough to still think I can change the world…working enough to buy myself what I want, meeting, flirting with and embarrassing rock stars, drinking beer, causing trouble.
I am 17.
I’m not sorry. I am not sorry I lived the life I did, didn’t do the things I didn’t do and I’m not sorry I didn’t follow the normal routes to someone else’s happiness. I am happy.
I am fucking crazy, but I am free.
I am quoting a Lana del Rey video.