Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mr Popularity

Teen #1 : OMG! I can't be seen wearing the same dress twice in a row! Like I could just die!
Teen #2 : Uh Uh, like no way! Especially with gorgeous Shep making an appearance!
Teen #1 : OMG! REALLY!

Seriously. I might be exaggerating a little on the bimboish valley-speak but that's the gist of the conversation I overheard tonight at my cousins. Okay. Not overheard but I did join in a little. Hell, I can be mindlessly sophomoric when duty calls.

Not this shirt, yes? I wore it before? Really?

Sometimes when I see my younger cousins whine and wail over what to wear for their sophomoric parties, I find myself almost smiling. Somehow everything seems so all-important when you're a teenager - hell, even the shade and cut of a skirt could sink a reputation leading to one being shunned by the rest of the seemingly in crowd. Easy enough to remember those heady high school days when homeroom popularity seemed to be everything and warring social cliques ruled the school compound.

Wish I could tell them that things do change in time, that things that seemed so supremely ginormous back then would seem so trivial now - and ultimately assure them that there are bigger, better things ahead but at that rebellious age, who actually listens to adults?

And sadly enough, I think I'm rapidly sinking deeper into the responsible adult category - though my youngers cousins hasten to assure me that I'm still somewhat cool. Thankfully. :)

But honestly I think it's only after school that we discover who we actually are as people. Not easy finding our own when we have to deal with the inescapable stress of schoolwork, bone-crushing peer pressure - and also the inevitable growing pains, already hard enough recognizing our own changing faces in the mirror but to also deal with gangly dysfunctional limbs that seem vaguely alien somehow? Teenagers don't have it as easy as everyone else thinks. Away from the restrictive controlled environment of school ( and even the home ), we find ourselves shedding whatever cookie-cutter roles we've been inadvertently forced into and finding our own true selves.

Sounds like hokey Oprah rubbish, I know.

Out in the real world, we begin with a blank slate all over again and it's up to us what we want the world to see. That brash, trash-talking bastard in school you used to know settles down into a life of middle class stability. That studious little nerd who finds himself frequently stuffed into a locker turns into the sweet charming ( though perpetually yawning ) man that you might one day love. Angry rebel without a cause ISO traded in his endless rage for a more creative ( and far more lucrative ) outlet. And even seriously funny Shameless Shalom found herself blossoming into a swan - or at least that's what Charming Calvin insists upon though I haven't seen that happen as yet. Hell, even Scrappy Shep that quietly mischievious computer whiz will no doubt change in a few years into a cool heartbreaking Casanova.

Hell, even I changed. Although I was hardly Mr Popularity and certainly far from being the BMOC, I had my own small clique of friends that I cherished. But even they couldn't give me the self assurance that I needed desperately back then. Years back the meek little mouse that I was would never dream of going smash up to a sexy stranger to swindle them out of their home phone number. Back then, I never even thought of facing down the terrifying professors to demand our rights, no matter how trivial.

It all takes time. Time to change and grow. Time to gestate in that post-adolescent cocoon before transforming into a butterfly.

Of course not everyone manages to change even with the ample time given, caught in a sticky web of childish insecurites and imagined paranoias. But that's a molting story for another day. :)


jase said...

from a caterpillar into a butterfly? You do know that some end up as moths and are worse off than they were before right?

Sue said...

Tell your fashion conscious cousins that this guy has been wearing the same outfit for 3 weeks:

and nobody has noticed!

savante said...

Moths! :) Didn't think of that, jase!

What a dirty dirty boy, sue. Feel like spanking him :)

strapping.shane said...

Well, some people never grow up and prefer to bitch all day about being the less popular one, taking out their hatred on other people (even worse - STRANGERS). And sadly, these are the people I hate the most.

For god's sake - GROW A SPINE!!!

Stephen said...

That guy at, do his colleagues have no sense of smell?

I used to have tutorials at Uni with someone who never washed his clothes until he went home at the end of term. By the 8th week of term, tutorials were not a nice place to be, I assure you.

AJ said...

silly teenagers! like really *grow up!* with the right accesories, you can wear the same dress to as many parties as you want! heh...

Sue said...

He launders the clothes of course.

Michael said...

It's SO MUCH EASIER to stay in the cocoon, isn't it? Takes some of us more time to realize it's a teeny prison.

In a world full of people, only some want to fly. Isn't that crazy?

Ban said...

Some people grow up. Some, less so.

hrugaar said...

Odd thing is, people seem to develop the character of who they are by about age six ... then they lose it when they go through teenage years ... and then find themselves again later on.

But yeah, some people hang on to the adolescent side for years and years... :o\

charming.calvin said...

I was never being stuffed into the locker ever, in fact there wasn't any locker in the school. I was the outstanding student, academically and extra-curricular-wise.

But I do yawn.

Anonymous said...

Ah, sweet vanity. But really, we indulge in it once in a while, don't we? When all else fails, accessorize.

Annie said...

I just love what AJ said, "with the right accesories, you can wear the same dress..." Sweet Paul, teen years are the roughest in my book. I'd never relive them.

khalel said...

Well, vanity is my favorite sin.... lolz!

Its been a while since i dropped here, good thing i did!

more strength to you man!

Anonymous said...

So far I have been to three stores which produced lots of tears and I AM FAT AND UGLY responses from my 13 yo daughter who is trying to buy the mandatory red pink and white CUTE outfit for an upcoming Valentine's party. The sad thing that at 5 9" and an American size 6 she wears a LARGE! Only a few years ago that WAS the size runway models wore. Now a 5' 9" model is supposed to wear a 0, what the heck is a 0???

And since she is also a competitive swimmer we have to deal with the fact that she has real muscle on her bones but FAT? Of course at 13 not being able to find the perfect outfit after three stores is as low as one can sink emotionally.

Thank goodness being on the hormonal highway means you get to drive fast and before you know it something amazing just happens (like a friend calling and saying that she heard from a friend that HER friend said that this guy she knows said that this other guy said he thinks you are nice ... not that you are even interested in that guy but at least he thinks you are NICE!) and the mood shifts yet again.

Michelle who is forever searching for a rest stop on the highway.