I was once a Teenage Girl. I was once obnoxious, self-entitled and catty. I once traveled in packs, spoke in "like" and was Really Fucking Annoying. I know what you're thinking: "how can someone so articulate, witty and self-aware once have been one of those girls I see at Starbucks wearing shorts more akin to thong underwear? Surely not."
I assure you, I was once one of those girls. Minus the shorts, maybe -- I never had the confidence to bare my cellulite in such a manner. Maybe because unlike my womanhood, my cellulite came in at twelve.
I'm reminded of how much I can't stand teenage girls every time I decide it would be really nice to sit at Starbucks for a while, attend to my addiction (caffeine) and get some good, solid writing done. Because every time I journey over to said watering hole, there is always a gaggle of the aforementioned young Medusas hellbent on prohibiting me from doing anything that even smells like productivity.
The grating voices. The shrill yelling. The language that relies far too heavily on adverbs as actual conversation fodder to be near trackable. The spectacle that not even the soothing voice of Sam Beam can drown away.
Like most good grudges, I can come to terms with the fact that my distaste for this strange mutation of human comes from an aversion to my own time spent as One Of Them. Because looking back on the times before I came to be who I am now is just really, really difficult.
When I was a Teenage Girl, I had the spine of a jellyfish. My world was ruled by the whims of my friends, who had the power to create a day's happiness or crush it with bracelet-laced fists. The Mother and I were constantly at fisticuffs over my desire to play by their rules -- the only one of which mandated I did whatever they said. I was completely, one-hundred-percent codependent. I didn't tell anyone how I really felt because I knew my role: I was the counselor, I was the shoulder to lean on, I was the one that always said yes because we're-never-talking-again-if-you-don't-come-to-my-graduation-party-I-don't-care-if-you're-puking-you-brains-out. And it was totally, like, my fault.
When I began to break away from the relationships that I had come to view as more harmful than productive, something curious happened. First, I felt really powerful. I felt in control of who I chose to be and what I chose to do. Second, I felt really lonely.
Because I had been living within the lives of others. I had built my identity around this construct (the anchor I found, though, was the art I was making; it was then that I realized how I had been using it as a lifeline to preserve that which I was hiding). But out of that loneliness came truth. The loneliness gave me the space to move toward the things that I really wanted, not what was being dictated. The loneliness became my Safe Place to come back to, to find strength in, to restructure which direction I was headed in and find the faith I lacked in myself to choose my own path.
So whenever I feel the haughty glare of some sixteen year-old who's just gotten her license so OF COURSE she is far superior to I, in my thrifted granny skirt and ancient telephonic communication device (my phone's a piece of shit) and I feel the repulsion fill the back of my throat, I know what that is. That's me, staring at myself through the lens of time and just hating where I came from. That's me, looking at a girl who didn't know "no" from a chip in her nail polish. That's me, wearing neon hair clips and an armful of bracelets and what are you doing with your hair, child; hating her mother because she actually did understand how to say no. That's me, without a clue of who I wanted to be.
I'm glad I'm starting to see her now.
Teenage Mosifer and Nichola, circa 2007. Friendship status: intact