004: here in my room dreaming about you and me

TL;DR: I should blog more; being a smothered & overprotected child can be hard.

Wasn’t I supposed to blog on this thing?

Yes. Yes, I was.

Sorry about that.

In short, ‘life’—in the most boring & minute & dreadfully adult sense of the word—happened. I changed jobs. The process of changing jobs involved consulting with many different recruiters, sniffing out gossip over the inner workings of Chicagoland law firms, castigating myself for leaving my old coworkers in the lunch, and laboriously pondering over where I wanted to ‘be’ in 5 & 10 & 15 & 1550 years. Boring grown-up-stuff, through and through. While all of this was happening, a lot of things slipped through the cracks.

But during this hiatus, I had the opportunity to consult with some Actual Teens about their day-to-day experiences. This turned out to be a useful activity, since it reminded me of something that Pop Culture would prefer I forget: BEING A TEENAGER IS AWFUL! WORST PART OF MY LIFE, BAR-NONE! So…why do so many books & TV shows & movies expect me to feel nostalgic for high school & my toxic relationships & my smothering parents & my shitty first job?

This is a question that I cannot possibly begin to answer within the confines of a 500-word blog entry. But one question I would like to ask is, “Who is even allowed to feel nostalgic for their teen years?”

As my surname would indicate, I come from a Latino family. And one thing that all of my nieces & nephews complain about, regardless of how assimilated their parents are, is that a very particular bill of goods American media has sold them about their teen years (namely, that their family will fade respectfully into the background, and their relationships with their peers will become more important than anything else) has proven to be a load of garbage. They, like me, are expected to be at home 24/7. ‘Outings’ are just that: outings, forays into the wider world that your jailer-parents have generously granted you as a privilege (not a right). They long for curfews. They would LOVE to have parents who agreed not to bitch at them about their whereabouts before 10:00 PM.

Because I am edging ever closer towards becoming An Old Person (Exhibit A: all the talk about recruiters), I now understand my parents’ all-consuming desire to keep me clean & safe & close. But when I was 15, I hated how their expectations divided me so decisively from my peers. It felt like there was nothing I could do that would make everyone proud & satisfied & happy. Being an adult, on the other hand: the really sweet thing about adulthood is that, as long as you have a job, no one can really talk shit about you. In general, I would say that being an adult is LEAGUES easier than being a teenager.

When Selena Quintanilla said, “there’s no where I’d rather be than in my room, dreaming about you and me,” I don’t think it’s because she was just dreamy & romantic & introspective. It’s because (if she was anything like me), that bedroom was the only place she could be without being crushed by worlds of guilt, in light of the disapproving parents stalking behind her bedroom door.

 

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