Do you ever get random flashes of memory of when you were younger? I do.
More often than not, I will get some of these flashes when I am listening to 80s music in Winn-Dixie. They play the best songs there and I along with the other shoppers frequently sing along with the lyrics out loud, unashamed.
Sometimes I think these flashes are not about a particular memory but more about youth. The feeling of being young, raw and eager. It can be exhilarating. So much future ahead, so much possibility. We lose that as we get older. Maybe I have these reflections because I will be 40 this year? Sigh. I don't know.
I can sometimes remember vividly my french braid phase in the mid 80s with big silver hoop earrings. I wore my hair like this just about every single day. Forenza sweaters and overalls. Eighth grade was rugby shirts and docksiders but high school was all about the sweaters. Of course my favorite shoes were lace up prairie boots. LOVED them. To this day, one of my favorite outfits that I coveted was the outfit Molly Ringwald wore in "The Breakfast Club". Long skirt, wide belt, cute short sleeved shirt and lace up prairie boots. It would still be fashionable today I think. That movie is on so often and every time it comes on I watch long enough just so I can see that outfit.
In high school, (the majority of which was a horrible, lonely place) I used to lean my head on the window of the school bus daydreaming about all the cool outfits I would get to buy someday. Eventually, I started my first job at the Dry Cleaners and was able to buy really cool clothes since my parents rarely, if ever bought them for me. I started babysitting at the age of 12 and from that point on if my mother knew I had money, she'd make me walk down to the locally owned clothing store to buy my clothes. I don't remember being upset about this, it was just the way it was and I actually liked the freedom of being able to pick out my own clothes.
Other times I will remember walking in the mall, desperate to find just the right clothes to wear. It was exhausting. My high school was so label focused and I was so envious of the girls who came in to school with a different Bennetton sweater on every day like it was no big deal. Beautiful girls. Lucky girls whose parents put them in braces and had country club memberships. Not a care in the world. Not like me. I lived in a dark, small house hollowed by five people- 2 adults that hated each other and 3 kids that lived together but were never acted like siblings because that would intimate attachment. We were far from that. Especially my sister. She abused me. Younger than me and her tongue was a triangulate of hate, spite and jealousy. She looked at me and saw the rawness and called out my flaws and helped make me despise myself. So hurtful she was. Still is. I was the kid that prayed during hurricane storms to give me the power to grow up and move out as soon as possible.
My high school was a total mean girl high school. Fortunately, because I was so quiet I successfully faded into the background and was not harassed too much. I was not quite in the loser crowd (though I definitely came close at times) I was definitely not popular. Friendships in the popular crowd were based on who you knew , what you wore and who you associated with. I was in the lower class, "normal" crowd who befriended people I actually had things in common with. Plus, I could be funny and some people appreciated that. When I was a freshman, some people thought I was related to some girl named "Beth" who was a popular junior girl apparently but we were no relation so for about a minute, some of the popular kids talked to me. Once they realized there was no relation they stopped immediately.
Some people are afraid of getting older. For me, the more distance there is between my teenage years the better. I am a totally different person now. Not just mature, but wiser and happier which for a long time I never thought would be possible. Even though the prospect of turning 40 is a little daunting for me, it's not entirely negative. I still feel the inkling of possibility, of hope for a better future but more importantly the ability to appreciate what I have now, the feeling of being blessed and loved for who I am.