My Teenage Dream doesn't reference a Katy Perry song. It references my state of mind. I took a quick trip to my parents, and simultaneously, down memory lane this past weekend. My mom is so awesome. Every time I go home, I enter my childhood bedroom, which still has the same powder blue walls I painted with my dad when I was 12, the same trundle bed that was my first "big girl" bed, and the same array of dolls, trophies, and stickers to display my many facets, quirks, and glory day achievements. Don't judge. On my bed, 100 times out of 100 times, there is a pile of clothes that my mom has decided she no longer wants to own/wear. I then try them on and take the majority back home with me. My grandmother does the same thing. It's in our genes to closet share, and then appropriately, closet hog.
I went home for the Super Bowl, but also to just sort of marinate in what I know. Home is kind of the place where I can reset if I'm off, or down, or just missing that childlike, feel-goodness. I revert back to being a teenager (well, minus a few poor decisions and attitude problems). My mom makes my meals, my dad has the coffee brewing before I'm up, and I lay on the floor snuggling our Golden Retriever, Ginger, for as long as she'll allow it. I have zero obligations aside from making my bed in the morning. Going through three knee surgeries as an adult has likely made me appreciate these teenage moments even more. No one takes care of me like my mom does. I know, inevitably, the tables will turn, but she is still the person I run to with a broken heart, make my "Bachelor" picks with, and my shopping partner. Home puts me right back in that teenage dream.
I opened my closet over the weekend and found two huge boxes of pictures from high school.
Thought 1: Why did I dye my hair so many different colors?
Thought 2: Why did I think it was appropriate to wear low rise jeans and midriff tops? Seriously. WHY?! I think I was going for "cool" but I just look cold.
I was totally caught up in so many things a decade ago - good, bad, and ugly. The pictures made me both appreciative and disgusted with those, but hey - that's life. Under the pictures, I found some other angsty items. One of them was my poetry book. Man, I'm POSITIVE I never shared with my friends in High School that I had a poetry book. But I did. And it was full of colorful pages dripping with every form of rhyme, rhythm, and rhetoric. I wrote about being broken hearted, not having a Valentine, and the loss of loved ones. I joked about friends, described food and outdoor beauty, and gushed over boys and prom dresses. I cared about everything and nothing all at once, and somehow, I put all my thoughts in jingle format and then puffy painted a cover for it. I honestly can't even really remember writing these poems, though I've always put my pen to paper, so it seems more than believable.
Wait. Is this blog my book of poems?! Is this my angst in new-age, type-written format? ACLs and physical therapy have taken the place of prom dresses and the like. Unfortunately, as I shuffled through the boxes of photos, the poems, and the few other items that are a peeping hole into my adult life, I realized that I haven't really shed the teenage mindset, so this congruency makes a lot of sense.
I still compare myself to other women. And people. I doubt myself. I literally watch the SAME television shows. I procrastinate. I eat entirely too much dessert. I have crushes on movie stars and fictional characters. I have polka dot sheets and stuffed animals. I cry. I complain. If it's not a screwdriver or a hammer, it's a tool I cannot name. I sing loudly and off-tune in the car and in the shower. I play video games, read gossip magazines, and pop pimples. I leave my shoes everywhere and my clothes on the bathroom floor. If you've dated me, you likely have a collection of my hair ties and bobby pins that I can't ever find.
I think every moment near a celebration will be a surprise party for me. I put my feet up on other people's dashboards without asking permission. I eat candy and popcorn at the movies even if I'm not hungry. I don't know how to turn on a lawnmower. Or change a flat tire. I still write poetry. I wait until the last second to fill up my gas tank and tear my pancakes with my hands instead of a fork and knife. I want to be the girl in a country song.
And twice a week, I crawl onto a medical table to get my leg rubbed out and foddered with so that I can...
Can what? That's the big question, right? Why go through this recovery process - albeit for a third time? The registration for the football game that was the cause of my current healing holding pattern opened yesterday. Many teammates want to know if I'll be back to give it another go. I promise you that my family and close friends who are NOT involved in the game do NOT want me to play football. Or really anything. How could I risk it? Is that, too, part of my teenage mindset? Feigning resiliency in order to live out my competitive nature in the best way possible? Am I crazy? Stupid? Scared?
Maybe a little of all of that. There is a lot about me that is still just some weird, off-kilter teenage girl. I can't help it. Maybe you're the same way. Maybe it's part good, part abrasive to my growth. Maybe one more than the other. The only advantage I have now versus my years of debauchery, poetry, and too much midriff is that I've faced the other side of a lot of what I "dreamed" of. I couldn't wait to be in college. In my 20s. In a relationship. In my own apartment. Job. Love. New town. It's not so different than how I view my ACL recovery. Ultimately, yes. I want to get better. Healthier. But when I think of the "dream," I think of living it out the way I want to. Playing sports. Running fast and with a lateral push off. That's what all this work is for, right?
I'm still in a cloud of a teenage dream. I'm a little embarrassed, sure, but I'm also ok with it. I don't think my teenage self was willing to admit to having high hopes. Saying that you want something means you might not get it. So I'm still going to dream about flowers and white picket fences and knees that allow me to play football and whatever else I choose.
Sorry, Mom. Just signed up for football.