Filed under: family first, fear and loathing, perfectly impossible, sporty spice | Tags: childhood, generation gap, past, self esteem, soccer, teenagers, writing
i journal a lot now. (and by a lot, i mean way more than i blog.) nearly every entry references how much “i just love to write, but i never do it!” or how “awesome it feels to just free write!”
i don’t want to do that now.
let’s talk about the future of innovation.
(just kidding. no one wants to read about that.)
let’s talk about teenage girls.
(not so much with the kidding, although that came across super creepy.)
i have a beautiful, smart and talented 14-year-old niece. (I also have beautiful, smart and talented 12- and 9-year-old nieces, but their stories are for another time.) she, since the day she was born, has been a little emotional. she cries at the drop of a hat, and she cares about everyone’s feelings a little more than she should. she also is only truly happy and confident in herself when she’s running up and down the soccer field, cheering and kicking butt alongside her teammates.
she tried out for her high school freshman soccer team today… and she did not make the cut.
about 13-some-odd years ago, i knew another little emotional girl who went through the exact same rejection period. and she was a wreck for weeks, and her self-esteem dropped for years. today, she’s fine. she’s accepted that minor setback and moved so far on from it that no one would guess that scar was still faintly intact on her ego.
teenage me is alive and well, buried under this calm, cool and very cynical exterior of mine. she comes out to play when we’re alone in my car and alanis morrisette comes on the radio. she stares cruelly and critically every morning in the mirror. and she particularly seeps into my writing after a beer or two and tells me i should be upset about the past. but honestly, i just don’t care what teenage me has to say anymore. i’ve grown past those insecurities, and i genuinely believe that i’m better off because of my failures.
but how do i tell today’s little girl that it will all work out in the end? how do i put into simple terms, with current pop cultural references, that she won’t always be the best at what she thinks she should be the best? and that she will learn to be happy and confident in ways she doesn’t even realize yet? and that, although screaming girl-power anthems can be a fun way to pass the time in your car, she will not always hate the people who try to hold her back?
i guess the moral of the story is, the only way we can truly understand today’s youth is by remembering our own painful and not-so-pretty pasts.