It's been a few years since I left my high school town. Exactly four years, actually. Like many artsy girls growing up in suburban towns, my teen years were a glorious wreck. I was that kid who got up at 5:30am to sit behind her sewing machine and make her outfit. Not everyone knew my name, but everybody knew who "the crazy girl" was since the second week of school.
Though I had a tough time dealing with the haters, jealous girls, and boys who didn't know how to say "you're hot," so instead they threw slushies at me, I can say that it was all a highly educating lesson on life. What did I learn?
1. Who cares what people think? Teenage years are hard because everybody is still trying to figure out just what they are into. Whether they're figuring out their taste in music, books, or boys, kids with puberty are going to pick on anyone and anything they're too shy to have respect for. I'm not saying I didn't make fun of anyone, but I am saying that it's totally okay to get your wig pulled off once in a while (yes, it happened!). Believe me, in the end that guy who called you a "whore" is probably going to be glued to you at that lame three-year reunion party in the park... trust me, it feels awesome to shut him down. ;)
2. There's no color code to love! I dated an Asian guy for most of my time in high school, and it was not always easy. Girls and guys would often come asking and poking fun about the size of his genitals. Everything about it was awkward. Even the teachers would get weird about it sometimes! But life is hard, and love is harder. Learn some lessons while you're young. Whether you're into dark guys, girls, or whatever else, don't be afraid to "break some [cultural] rules," to get what you want. You'll never know if it's for you if you don't try!
3. If you feel like it, do it. Probably the most important lesson I learned while growing up is to try new things at every whim. If you feel like trying out for the musical, do it! If debate team seems like a cool idea, why not? If you're trying to get in shape, try a sport. Not only are extracurricular activities going to look good on your first job application, but they're a great place for making friends you might not have expected. Being in theater, political debate team, and writing a blog turned out to really shape what I do today. Turns out, I'm good in front of crowds, have a showmanship kind of flare, and I love to write! Can you tell?
I'm not going to pretend that it was all fun and games. Growing up in a suburban town isn't for everyone. If you don't "fit" your environment, you should do your best to be where you want to be. In my case, I studied at home so I could graduate early and go to art school. When that took an unexpected turn, I did what I needed to do to get work, and eventually move to Europe. Believe me, with some hard work and a little bit of creativity, you might just make it in this world.
And now for some entertaining pics from my past...