One thing I am realizing increasingly (despite the time it’s taken for me to get there), is that I want to share more on my blog. So often I get caught in the repetition of bitching about things I’m going through, or difficulties I’m struggling with. They are easy to write, because like any rant you’d jot down in a moment of fury somewhere personal, they come naturally. In an impulsive moment, you clear your conscious of everything weighing you down without having to fact-check or make it serve any real purpose. You can formally thank the Moleskine journal the man recently bought me for saving your future ears… the pattern I’ve relied on for so long is well past ripe for the breaking. I mean really, I feel for you guys reading when the act of writing it myself has come to bore and slightly embarrass me. In the same moment, I’ve always felt very strongly about putting my personal experiences out there (especially the tough ones), if only to reach out to others in the same situations, and to gain support/feedback when I myself feel stuck.
In lieu of this promise to expand my writing horizons via tying in a variety of subject matter and personal encounters, I give you an intimate look into my teen experience…
(What I’m Wearing – JACOB dress, Badgley Mischka shoes, Forever 21 earrings, Sondra Roberts pleated clutch)
High School & Self Image
With the recent invite to my ten year high school reunion, and last night’s dinner conversation sparking a “first experiences” tradeoff, it’s no wonder I have the teenage me on the mind.
For many people high school was an awkward and torturous experience. While I can’t say I was ever safe from bullying and humiliation, I enjoyed my little corner of the universe there with my close-knit circle of friends. I went to a public school with private school rules. A strict uniform (which I’d always get detention for wearing in a way that violated the code – nothing vulgar, just an extra roll up on the skirt, or a cardigan tied around my waist) was nothing new to me – I had been wearing one the entire time in elementary school. Clothes and fashion as expression was a luxury I really didn’t get to explore until Cegep (I was actually kind of shell-shocked to wear whatever I wanted, whenever, when I graduated from high school). As a kid, I loved 70’s striped bellbottoms (my mom bought me a pair from Le Chateau entrepôt – they looked like toothpaste, and my dad banned me from wearing them anywhere publicly), patched up jeans (I had ones with license plates down the front of each leg – surprisingly, my dad picked these out for me), and Cream Soda Crush t-shirts (paired along those awesome cheapie Ray Ban wayfarer-styled plastic sunnies with different neon coloured arms). By the time I hit high school, those staples had morphed into wildlife t-shirts (I could be spotted with a Northern Touch loon, wolf, and even horse on numerous occasions – graphic animal faces having since hit one piece swimsuits hard), Guess jeans polo shirts and zip down denim capris, backless tops, and wedge platforms. We’d occasionally get free dress days, and wearing what we wanted became such an event we’d plan for. Glitter was huge for me (I’d wear it on my eyes), as were the butterfly clips I’d use to faux cornrow the front of my hair with via twists. I had a Baby G watch which allowed me some in-class gaming time, a Tamagotchi (yes, I was still hooked to it well into high school), and only started wearing mascara and blush towards grade ten. I experienced the faux pas of too much of it when my biology class teacher asked if I was okay in front of the entire class. She figured I must feel sick from being so flushed… I had a huge Matrix moment (that extended a few years longer than it probably should have – sorry Maya!), and inevitably cut my waist-length hair so short my best friends walked right past me in the hallway the next day at school. I used to think that looking in the mirror in the bathroom made you vain and selfish, so I never did (only when no one else was there). I never placed importance on my looks. On the other hand, I never placed importance on my studies either (with the exception of english class, art, and biology – the last of which I was horrible at regardless). I was wrapped up with working at a barn on the outskirts of the city on the weekends (I used to train horses, and work for free riding lessons), and hanging out with my girlfriends every spare moment I got. When it came to learning, I wasn’t much more than a cruiser. My grades were the highest only in the subjects I was truly passionate at. You could even call me a delinquent in math.
The one thing I’m truly proud of, is that I never hated anything about my physical or inner self. I’d go through times sitting with friends where everyone would be pointing out their biggest insecurity, and mine would never have anything to do with what I looked like. I never thought of myself as perfect or better than anyone else, I guess there was just never anything that outright bothered me enough for me to point out, and continuously dwell on internally. I love that my family was always so accepting of me, and by default, my personality adopted the same wonderfully healthy mentale. I always had confidence, despite being cripplingly shy with those I didn’t know (something many people misread as me being a bitch), and always knew that my independence was my power. Like anyone else, acne sometimes got the best of me (and still does – I have very difficult skin to this day), making me want to melt into a puddle… it was when I discovered foundation and concealer in Cegep that I felt I took the power back, regardless of the circumstantial calamity stress would have to my face (at least it could be covered!). My mom told me to put toothpaste on my zits to shrink them… yeah… that doesn’t work at all (I could swear it even made them bigger)! I was thrown a curve ball when my grade voted me as their ice princess at the winter dance (I was very much not a part of the popularity club, so slow dancing with one of their own was pretty awkward). I was twenty pounds lighter than I am today (and just as tall at 5’10 – a growth spurt that happened late towards the end of high school), and used to be the butt of anorexic/eating disorder jokes regardless of looking perfectly healthy. It was insulting, and felt very unfamiliar to me (I was very unaware of myself physically). I took it the same way a person who is called fat would. The joke was always on me though, I used to downright amaze people with my appetite, eating them all under the table. I once ate an entire chocolate cake by myself, only to end up on the floor in a fit of undying giggles from the immense sugar high. At one point I caused my poor parents grief from going back for thirds at dinner (upstaging my older brother who was known for sweeping through the cupboards on a daily basis, holding no prisoners). My appetite even ruled out my career as an international model at 17, when I signed with a local agency who promised work overseas if I could lose an inch and a half off my waist. And starve myself (I knew all too well at my weight it was impossible to shed it naturally)? Naw… my relationship with mac ‘n’ cheese certainly won that round (with zero regrets).
I think when you’re young, if you’re passionate about certain subjects or extracurricular activities in your outside of school life, it is so important to pursue them and see where they bring you. Even if you’re still in the stages of experimentation, not sure if it’s the perfect fit – if you follow your path, you will inevitably find what you’re looking for through choosing what you want to be doing. It should feel fun, it should ignite you, it should make all the hard work behind it feel like a privilege. If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be not to worry about the future, or if your personality and tendencies are like everyone else’s. Just feel comfortable and confident in knowing that you have everything you need within you to make your every wish and dream for the future a reality. Never, ever doubt your own power and persistence!
Love & Sex
Until my first boyfriend, despite my different crushes, I partially (honestly) though boys had cooties (or something far more viral). Love and it’s ideals were always strong in my head – I dreamt of what kind of girlfriend I’d be rather than the kind of boyfriend I wanted. Marriage never crossed my mind, ever. I honestly thought that I’d be the girl who was alone the rest of her life… with an amazing career. My parents have been separated since before I was born, so playing house was never really presented to me in the form of a big fluffy dress and party. I still to this day cannot tell you what I’d want from a wedding. One thing I did know, was that I wanted kids. Five of them (we’ll see how much my body and budget can actually handle). My first kiss was with my first boyfriend at the age of nineteen. I made him wait a year and a half before we went any further, something I wish more girls would do when their young (I know I’m a special case, and an equally late bloomer, but I’m sure it saved me a lot of unnecessary heartache in the process). There is nothing more satisfying than being picky and holding out for the right person, at the right time, when you feel ready for it. Anything less is just not for me, never has been. With the delusions and fantasy that come hand in hand with young love, I was smitten in a totally unrealistic way (completely chemistry-based). There were so many issues delayed and unforeseen by me, simply because my head stayed lingering too long in the clouds of romanticism. I must give my first love that – heart shaped pancakes, love letters, and surprises… every naive girls ideal.
I feel like despite my limited experience in love (I’ve had three partners in total), I now genuinely know what it is. It took me going from opposites to reach my perfect in-between, and I am no longer offended by the realities or seduced by too thick of a romantic consistency. It’s just right, greatly balanced, and growing healthily. I’m a very lucky girl.
Academics & Work
My first job was at Fairview mall in the heart of suburbia. I worked at a very uncool fragrance shop that specialized in finding it’s clients discontinued perfumes and colognes, rare scents, or even just alternatives to their dearly departed favourites that indefinitely went off the market. Still to this day, with the exception of many of the newer scents, I can tell you exactly what someone is wearing (and if it’s eau de parfum or toilette), and it’s closest variations. I became a little smell-stalkerish in malls when I’d get a whiff of something familiar (you should have seen me dart after the person in question without hesitation, surely embarrassing to friends). Following that job, I worked at a local Patisserie – a job that allowed me all I could eat marzipan, croissants, chocolatines, almondines, tartes, and hot chocolates. As anyone who has worked in a bakery will know, once you can have it all, you don’t want any of it (and the smell in the morning becomes almost sickening when you’ve overdone your ingestion intake). School was never a keen interest of mine, but art class and english absolutely were. It was both horrible and interesting to me that I could get a perfect average in art class without even trying, and struggle to even pass in anything involving numbers and formulas. I either got it, or didn’t at all. English class would get me excited. Even though I had no idea what Shakespeare was saying while reciting it, it introduced me to my first and undying love affair with the composition of the essay. Still one of the sexiest things I’ve ever seen, my teacher was amazing at describing/breaking down it’s makeup in a way that stuck to my mind like glue. I used to think in my spare time how I could break everything that came across my mind down into an essay. Writing them was infectious to me (should have been a scholar). But back to Shakespeare… english class aligned me with the school plays, to which I always auditioned for, and got the part of a plant (or something just as useless). After realizing that drama was indeed not my calling, I started doing makeup for the productions with fellow volunteers from art class. I loved it. The special effects, interacting with others, learning techniques for different results (I loved aging people – so fun!). My final year, when I chose mass media as an elective (aka photography and videography), I was very wrongly put in an intensive gym class with my two best girlfriends. After much objection and playing the period card more often that what could ever be considered normal, we finally traded off our inactivity for taking inventory. After counting half of what we actually needed to and guesstimating the rest, we found numerous underground tunnels leading to small rooms filled with props from the 50’s. Scared the living daylights out of us in the dark (we’d always go in together equipped with baseball bats), but a very cool find whose keys we passed down to friends in younger grades (who knows, maybe the tradition is still going strong). During my two final years, I was elected as media head. I was exhilarated to be a part of the Student Life Association, something I always figured was reserved for the kids with much better grades than I. Any advertising for events, fundraisers, or school activities went through me, and were mainly made by me. I also got into dances for free… tee hee!
Teen Angst & Home Life
The frustration connected to all those hormones surging through your body hits everyone pretty hard. I was no exception to the rule. While I was never cold hearted or prone to shouting out the stereotypical “I hate you’s” and “you’re dead to me” lines (whoever does that in reality should rethink how lucky they are), I definitely kept to myself at home, and often slept obscene amounts of hours – only waking up for dinner to go back to sleep after I was done eating. It’s almost as if I was hibernating, or in the middle of some strange caterpillar-turns-to-butterfly transition. I was always exhausted, and my parents could definitely get under my skin. I always knew that my emotions were uncalled for though – no one ever did anything to deserve a lashout, not that they’ve ever been my style anyways. My room was in the basement at my dad’s house, which meant I could stay up until all hours of the night watching Much Music videos while eating Tostitos and salsa (it really became to be quite an obsession). It was all about TV for me. Literally glued to cable, even if it only was one station. Ed the Sock was a favourite.
All in all, I had a very clean, simple upbringing and teenage life. No boys until after high school, certainly no drugs, no alcohol until I was of legal age, just a bit of frustration with family and distraction at school. Oftentimes I was doodling or daydreaming, or both. My parents were not super strict, so I’m sure if I really wanted to get into those things I could have, just honestly never had the interest. It was about girlfriends and sleepover parties, lunch breaks and escapes to the guidance counsellor (basically a free pass to miss a period when you weren’t prepared for a presentation or speech). Oh, and how could I forget the undeniably good chocolate chip cookies served warm in the cafeteria every recess… polar opposite to seafood surprise at lunch (I gag). High school was a lengthened out continuation of my very blessed childhood, I truly have no complaints.
Links I Love (teen edition)
- Footloose and fancy free. I can still remember my very first pair of “women’s shoes“, aka pointy black stilettos, better known as cockroach killers by my aunt (they can squish them when you corner them… gross, no?).
- That Seventies Show, a much-loved regular I used to watch with my mom. Check out my recent beauty article for Dress To Kill Magazine if you’re an Andy Warhol fan, and get retro-inspired!
- Completely intrigued by Rookie Mag and all the varying content on the site by different contributors. So insightful and honest, I wish I had this as a resource growing up! Check out these articles on self love, the art of negotiation, and food relationships.
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, links I love
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