For me, becoming a teen was like getting up in the middle of the night and groping around in the dark to find the kitchen, not totally sure what to do once I got there but hoping it would come to me when I arrived. I’m groggy. I’m lost in my own house. Everything I thought I knew, I wasn’t sure about anymore–the things I trusted might be out to get me. “Is this really where the chair– *crash* Yep! Oh, well, I’ll put a cast on that tomorrow…” Doors that were open before are now closed–and I have a few bruises to prove it. Speaking of closed doors, right now I have a letter sitting next to me from my favorite college. I’m back to square one. No, scratch that. Square negative three. Back to babysitting for another year?
My story has not followed the rules. From the beginning, it was rocky. Literally, the first chapter started out on a mountain in Slovakia! I was too scared to ski down the thing, so I slid down on my butt. Another great metaphor for how I’ve proceeded through life!
But back to the rockiness: I returned to my homeland four months or so later and wasn’t able to move back into my house for two months after that! As if all the instability you feel at that age isn’t enough! But don’t get me wrong. Most of the memories from that year were good ones! The ski slope continued to descend from there.
Fourteen…actually, I don’t remember much. I was settled back on the farm. I had started homeschool again. (Yes, I got to socialize with my friends more than you. Get over it. LOL)
By fifteen, I had reached my peak height of 5′ 1/2″. (Don’t tell me the 1/2″ doesn’t matter! It does!) I was a little chunky, and a little depressed because I internalized all my problems so that they played like a broken record in my head, yet I denied their existence. “Problems” is a teen code word for “I have a crush and I don’t even know what that means and he doesn’t like me plus he lives like 7,000 miles away”. (Well, maybe the last part doesn’t apply to everybody.) After writing a full-length adventure novel for therapy, I got over it.
Sixteen actually went pretty smoothly. It was the part of the midnight quest where I had found the open space of the living room. There was carpet under my feet. I had a general sense of direction: forward. On the way, I might have begun to make some goals. “Maybe I’ll get a glass of water once I get to this place I can’t see. If I’m feel peckish, I might look for a cookie too.”
Then 17 hit. The best way to describe it is fireworks. Sudden. Powerful. Beautiful, but they can create some nasty smoke. There’s always that risk of everything going wrong. And just like the riverside fireworks show in my town, you never know if you’re watching the finale.
The month of my 17th started with the worst day of my life. I will never be the same after trying to dispose of what was left my favorite sheep, Cola, who had died, caught in the fencing at the water’s edge, had rotted there overnight, and then was torn apart by coyotes. A lesson in responsibility. The next day was the anniversary of my return to America, but now July 3rd became the best day for another reason: I said yes to the 14-year-old that had asked to “court” me. What’s courting, you ask? I have no idea, honestly. Still don’t. But it sure was great. I was never so happy–or so skinny! We became friends. Not to brag, but I know enough about his life to know that I was the best friend he ever had. And we never even so much as hugged each other. The dream went on for nearly a year. Then, the finale. Here’s the sweetened and condensed version: we held hands, everything went haywire with our parents. I took my parents’ side, he took theirs. Our anniversary was the last time he spoke to me. He said, “Excuse me.”
Eight months or so later, I’m still reeling. I’m chunky again, but hopefully not for long. I may have made it to the kitchen now–I’m technically an adult. But all the drinking glasses are dirty and the cookie jar is empty. I guess I have to keep sliding down the ice. Maybe someday someone will turn on the light for me, pull me to my feet. No matter my age, that will be the day I am no longer a teen.
Dear MTFM, I hope you enjoyed my story, whether you decide to post it or not! I have just started a blog called “It’s Me Again”. Feel free to mention it! 😉 https://itsmeagain2017.wordpress.com/
I’m also on Twitter! My handle is Dustypewriter.