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. :)