I love #ThrowBackThursdays and #FlashBackFridays. While I do have some...not so great moments(don't we all?) growing up, the ability to look back and see others and myself via pictures as we go through this crazy thing called "life" just makes me feel more connected to the world at large.
Anyways, I saw the above title on another website, and thought this was a great idea! Here are 14 facts about me at 14 :)
1. A New Millennium was happening. And I was in the midst of it.
I don't know why this was such a big deal, but when I was 14, it was both scary and exciting. It felt like the entire world was coming of age with me. This millennium was not our parents. New millennials knew this one was ours, and we owned that. Like a boss.
2. Being without my mom sucked.
My mom had died the year before. That woman was my best friend. I had so many questions back then that I didn't feel comfortable asking my stepmother about. I had to navigate the new waters of teenhood without her, and a lot of times, it felt like I was swimming alone.
3. I was NOT going to have children.
I remember how much my mom struggled, as well as seeing my sister struggle to raise her kids. I had seen both put dreams on hold to raise a family. I(selfishly) vowed that I would NEVER let another human being take away my dreams. Plus, both women scared the crap out of me when telling me about childbirth. I mean, how did they even survive it? I nearly died listening to it! My 14-year-old brain could not wrap itself around the fact that women did this willingly and lived to tell about it.
|This? Yeah...no, I'm good.|
The man just oozed awesomeness. He was hip, he wore the greatest clothes(for 60's/70's style, anyways), and he was always in the midst of something awesome. I wanted so badly to be the female version of him. Sadly, I was too shy/dorky to actually channel him as my spirit animal.
The Spice Girls were like that,too. They were the female version of Austin, except there were four of them and they sang instead of becoming international spies. At least, until their movie came out...
|In my head, anyways....|
|Girl Power will fix everything, dang it!!|
5. I was a Christian. Whatever that meant.
Wanna know how I "got saved"? My aunt was church hopping. She invited me. They had a youth group tent revival thing going on. A girl(still don't know who she is to this day) walked up to me, and, without saying hi, said, "Do you want to get saved?" My response? "Uhh...is there snacks afterwards?" She prayed the sinners prayer with me while holding my hand. She almost cried after saying amen, and hugged me, beaming. I was still wondering where the snacks were and why she was touching me like she knew me. Freak.
I was "born again", but had zero clues what that meant. My aunt, not sure of how to respond, bought me a trendy teen Bible. I read it because...well, I was a bookworm. This was the year I was trying to balance living worldly and trying to please my Christian auntie. Unfortunately, the world won. But at least I had assurance of Heaven, no matter what I did(or at least that's what the girl who didn't give me snacks told me). And, at 14, in the 2000's, I was doing a LOT of rebelling against God(unknowingly) and my dad/stepmother(willingly, because, clearly they didn't know what they were talking about).
6. I had goals. Weird goals.
At the age of 14, I knew without a doubt what I wanted to do with my life. I was going to be a veterinarian, move to San Francisco, and be a hippy love child that rescues animals from the brink of death(or overpopulation). There was going to be lots of boyfriends, but no husband(I didn't know anyone who had a good marriage, so I assumed that marriage, not the people and their history, were to blame). No children. I would be rich as a veterinarian, so I would fly my nieces and nephews to Cali every summer to stay with me and we would freaking love it. Oh, and every man in my life HAD BEST like dogs and not smoke or out the hippy love child's door they went.
|My dream life.|
|Tye Dye forever!|
7. Eating meat was starting to feel weird.
Confession time- my mom didn't cook. Her idea of cooking was heating up a frozen dinner, oodles of noodle cup, hamburger/tuna helper, or scrambled eggs. Anything past always scared us and often times went horribly wrong. Thankfully, she was romantically involved with the Pizza Hut/Ice Cream Truck guy(yes, it was the same guy who did both). So, my first 13 years, the only two meats I largely ate at home were...fatty ground beef and partially cooked fried chicken(if you took three bites and there was blood/pink, you either eat around it or grab some cereal). Once she had died and I saw my dad's cooking(wait...there's OTHER MEATS OUT THERE?! AND YOU COOK THEM YOURSELF?!), as well as how one obtains these "other meats"(he went to the farmer's market), the dots were starting to connect. Animals were dying so I could eat them. How could I be a hippy love child and eat dead animals?! The whole thing was starting to freak me out. It wasn't until next year(and the years afterwards) that I started to discover vegetarianism/veganism. Until I forgot how much I L-O-V-E bacon. Then I bounced back and forth between vegetarianism and flexitarianism.
8. I hung out with an eclectic bunch of people. And I liked it.
14 was the year I sort of stepped out my comfort zone. I kind of had to, I mean...the people from the 'hood I grew up with were,like, a world away(the other side of the city, but whatever.). I went to a new middle school. I had one person I knew there-my cousin, who basically pretended we weren't related. I tried every cliche hat that school gave me in order to feel the warm embrace of acceptance. I had friends who were self-proclaimed sluts, friends who were wannabe hippies, religious(Christian,etc.) friends, pagan friends, geeky friends, punk rock head banging friends, outcasts of society friends, friends who thought they were pregnant(or got someone pregnant) every other week...and I loved it. My friends were as diverse as my music choices and gosh darn it, it was awesome. I rarely had that "oh my gosh, where am I going to sit?!" at the cafeteria dilemma because at any given time, I always knew at least one person at most of the tables. Except for the preppy rich girls. Those girls were weird.
9. I was OBSESSED with makeup and teen magazines.
Teen Cosmo, Seventeen, J-14, and YM were my peek into what it meant to be popular and awesome. If there was a makeup tip or tip for acne-prone skin(curse you, genetics!!) I tried it. Those articles about how to fit it? Memorized them. Beauty and popularity were skin deep and I was totally embracing that.
I was such a dork.
|But at least I was a dork that cleaned up nice!|
10. I tried Soccer.
In my attempt to fit in(and with the popularity of Women's Soccer that year), I had to do a sport. Since our middle school did not have a soccer team, and this was the first year ever they thought of doing one, I had to be a part of it. Because, anything revolutionary, count me in. Unfortunately, I knew zero about soccer, as did many of my team mates. As a result, we became the laughing stock of the school. But getting to wear sporty short shorts and a team jersey were totally worth it.
|Flannel shirts were still "in"|
11. I was also a part of the ASTRA Club and helped run the "School Store".
ASTRA club...yeah, I have no clue what the purpose of that club was. We went to senior citizen centers every once in a while and sat and talked to the elderly...other than that, we mostly met I believe just to hang out with people different than our usual cliches. We went to one of the teacher's house and watched movies towards the end of the year. I kissed a boy during one of these meetings for kicks.
The school store? I basically just signed up for that because my crush was in charge of it. Any excuse to be in close proximity of him, I took it. Even if it did mean I had to hustle pencils, pens, and candy like I knew what I was doing(hint-I didn't).
|ASTRA club bunch|
|School Store peeps, and those Old Navy cover things! I had so many.|
12. I cried once in Art Class.
I loved drawing. I was SO excited to take a class where I could just doodle and sketch to my heart's delight.
But then I met the teacher....A woman who taught art like a drill instructor teaches boot camp. She didn't expect us to just "enjoy the process", she expected military-like perfection. From 14 year olds. I took her rejection to everything I did seriously. I held out hope when she said we were going to do try to replicate a Sunday paper Comic strip. I sat there for several classes trying to make it perfectly perfect to please this woman. But it wasn't good enough, and she embarrassed me in front of the entire class, mocking my drawing. I snapped, started screaming(well, my screaming to any adults back then was very mouse-like because adults scared the crap out of me). We had a verbal show down, and she won. I was trying so hard to act...hard, but I couldn't. By the end of class, I was erasing all my hard work with tears streaming down my face. After that, I barely attempted to do any of the assignments. After this, I started passing her class. Irony.
13. I didn't take seriously Home Ec. ....
My feminist in the making 14 year old mind couldn't comprehend Home Ec. Why are we still forced to take this class? Don't men know how to cook nowadays? Why do I need to learn to sew, when I just buy new clothes every 6+ months? Last time I checked, we weren't living in the 50's!!
My teacher for this class was a saint. She LOVED teaching the next generation of women basic homemaking skills. How did we repay her? By talking about her and making fun of her behind her back. The little feminazi's in training did not see the value of a woman making her home a haven. I wasn't interested in homemaking, I was interested in taking over the world(for peace and love's sake, anyways.). Home Ec., in my head, was a step backwards for the y2k generation.
But behind everyone's back, I actually became good friends with the teacher. She was actually really nice. She was probably the first woman that showed me what it meant to enjoy being a Keeper of the Home. She talked loving about how much she enjoyed teaching Home Ec, her home life, her husband. Coming from a broken family, with a bunch of dysfunctional ones, this blew my mind.
She worked with me after school on several occasions, because I was an idiot and needed badly to pass her class to graduate.
14. .....but I REALLY loved Literature and Reading Class
A class where I can take a peek into the past via books, and a class where I can read and analyze books for a grade? Geek mode: ACTIVATED.
Teachers for both classes loved me. The only time I had an awkward moment was when my reading teacher assigned us the "Harry Potter" books, and she made us bring a form home to ask the parents if it was okay for us to be reading it. My dad didn't have a clue, so he asked my religious aunt. She quickly told him "NO". So, I believe I was the only kid in my reading class to have to read "The Outsiders" instead. But that's okay-I saw the movie and loved it.
(To this day, I find it funny a book about a gang of kids that kill and get killed, drank alcohol and smoked was more acceptable to my religious aunt than a fictional book about wizards and magic was. *shrugs*)
Other than that, these were the two classes where I didn't pretend to be anything but me. I talked and debated(kindly, of course, because these ladies were adults and adults still scared the crap out of me) with the teachers and we both got a new perspective on books and life because of it. If anything, these two teachers were the ones to pull me out of my academic funk that I was stuck in since being 12-13(again, my mom had died the year before, and I was bullied to the point of trying to commit suicide the year before that, so I wasn't trying very hard academically). I had forgot what it was like to actually enjoy school. But thanks to these two teachers(and a few others...I hated their subjects but loved them as individual adults), I actually graduated middle school with Merit Roll.
Hope you guys had fun going down memory lane with me!
Until Next Time,
~ Mama Jenn