Friday, July 21, 2006

Five Things I Wish I’d Known as a Teenaged Girl

1. Guys like girls who are touchable and accessible, and I don’t mean sleazy. I mean girls whose hair isn’t all crackly with hairspray and perms, who are not an inch deep in slippery make-up, and who are not so skinny that it hurts to hug them. They are also more inclined to prefer fun-loving, easy-going, well-adjusted, reasonably confident girls who like themselves, not freaked out super self-conscious fashion plates. Well, normal guys, anyway.

2. Fame and stardom are not all they seem. I don’t think I ever noticed how nasty and mean-spirited tabloids and magazines could be when I was a teenager. Maybe they weren’t that mean. They sure are now! Anyone who is voluntarily in the public eye, particularly models, actresses, singers, and the like, is going to be roasted, toasted, insulted, lied about, spied on, defamed, and slandered in the worst possible ways by the media seeking to make a buck along with a sensation. Then there are lunatic stalkers, crazed fans, a need for bodyguards, security systems, and a complete lack of privacy for all the activities that we, the great unwashed and unknown, take for granted. And pressure – pressure to be the best at what you do, wear the spiffiest clothes, be more forthcoming, be more mysterious, always more, more, more. Even the ones who look like they’ve got it all are under pressure to do or be more in one way or another. A lot of them break under the pressure. Kudos to those who don’t and who can remain themselves.

3. Exercise is better than dieting. I was the queen of the starvation diets as a teen. I wish I had just ridden an exercycle more and done sit-ups and taken walks instead. Too much time spent focusing on food and the avoidance thereof distracted me from developing a lasting exercise habit. I work everyday now to motivate myself to exercise, and sometimes the mental workout is more exhausting than the physical one. I wish I had, as a teen, turned myself into one of those people who don’t feel right until they’ve walked a mile or ridden a bike, or done something fairly vigorous for a portion of the day. I envy them, and, maybe, if I keep at it, by the time I’m 102, I’ll be eager to get my wrinkled self over to the mall and stride creakily about for a half an hour. A gal can dream!

4. High school is NOT the best time of your life, most likely. People kept saying that to me, and I thought they were stupid. I didn’t want to believe them because I thought high school was boring and consisted largely of avoiding being either emotionally or physically abused by cranks, wankers and generally angry, maladjusted people. If I had not had at least a modicum of doubt about high school being “the best time of my life” I’d have shot myself in the forehead based on the idea that it was only going to get worse. Aspects of high school were fun – friends, some activities, occasional classes, being young – those things were fun. Things have gotten better, and I really couldn’t classify a “best time of my life”. I wake up every morning thinking it could be just around the corner, or maybe it was yesterday, or it might be just lying there, staring at the ceiling in a comfortable home I share with people and pets that I love and enjoy. College was fun…and scary. Being in my 20’s was fun…and scary. Getting married was fun…and scary. And so on.

5. Good friends are more important than boyfriends. Good friends don’t mind spending time with you on your worst day. You could be sick, covered in zits, in desperate need of a shower and some penicillin, and your good friends still like you just as much as they do when you’re really on your game. Boyfriends have something else altogether on their minds. You never have to worry if you’re good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, or enough of anything for your friends. You are you, and that’s enough. I wish that I, and my friends, had spent more time enjoying each other rather than worrying about boyfriends.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I feel pretty much the same and have often thought of the old saw: "too soon old, too late smart." Gawd, can you imagine going through high school knowing the things you do now? :-)