My parents recently dropped off a few boxes of my old stuff. Like something out of a State Farm commercial circa 2009, my parents viewed my new home ownership as a chance to reclaim my childhood bedroom. While no one is suggesting a dojo or a sauna, it has become my dad's second office. This meant that he wanted to clear out the contents of and on my desk to better set up his new work station. They came over with three or so boxes of binders and papers and knick knacks and quickly allocated it to the basement, not ready to clutter up my newly-settled house.
After a week of gathering dust in the basement, I finally got the gumption to go through these boxes of essential junk. There was no rhyme or reason to the boxes; it was apparent that my parents just placed any item anywhere and expected me to sort it out. I started with the easier stuff -- stacks of old CDs, pen holders with the pens still in them -- and found places throughout the house for these old relics of my past. Underneath the seemingly random items that had cluttered the top of my old desk was collection of memories that I was not ready for.
My second venture into my old items from my childhood home was a lot less tumultuous than when I stumbled upon my ninth grade history notebook or my old Belfast knick knacks. In fact, by comparison, it was almost anticlimactic. Oh, just my old textbooks from my freshman year of college? Just the old Littlest Pet Shop hamster cage from when I was in the first grade? Just pictures of my old puppy dog?
One of the items, tucked away in one of the corners, was my paper journal from high school, dressed in denim to look like a corner of a pair of pants. The diary was a gift from my best friend. She wrote an innuendo-filled message on the back of the front cover and slipped a condom into the "front pocket" (because that's what you do when you're a horomonal teenaged girl). It was used only sporadically, as the Digital Age of Journaling had begun for me, and I was more interested in updating my Kiwibox (or Geocities/Homestead websites) than writing with pen and paper. But, from 2004 until graduation, I wrote a good handful of entries.
I opened the journal and flipped to a random page. In my traditionally sloppy handwriting, I bemoaned how much I was falling for a certain boy. How blue his eyes were. How perfect his skin was. How it killed me that we weren't together. I smiled and nodded and read along, assuming I was talking about my junior year boyfriend.
I flipped back a few pages, only to realize I was talking about a seemingly random high school crush.
This is why adults roll their eyes at teenagers, even when it feels like the world is crashing around the adolescent. Parents act like their child's relationship issues don't matter because, in the grand scheme of things, they don't. It feels like the end of the world when your crush doesn't like you back. You feel like dying when your high school boyfriend dumps you for another girl. Then you grow up, you experience life and the world and dabble in various relationships and interactions, and you look back on your dramatic high school life and laugh.
Unfortunately, teenagers aren't really in on the joke. And having parents give knowing smiles and dismiss your emotions only makes things 1000x worse.
I can only imagine how I'll interact with my future children. There's no telling how things will go and, really, imagining even the most broad scenario is a lost cause, as truly, genuinely, anything can happen.
One of the last entries in this journal was a poem, written sometime before my first year of college, when my parents decided to sell their camper and leave the campground area that we had called home for the last 7 years. A campground where I had my first dive into the treacherous world of puppy love -- something I might extrapolate on, on a later date.
I don't exactly write poetry anymore. Probably because I stopped reading and listening to poetry. Incidentally enough, the last poem I wrote was during the intermission of a Buddy Wakefield poetry slam. But I still have a place in my heart for poetry, especially the drivel I wrote as a teenager. It's a bit pedestrian, a bit forced, but I love it anyway, the same way a grandmother loves looking at old class photos:
A part of me is always here
among the rural streets and camping sites;
with sunburned cheeks and
the carries a chunk of my heart
She awakes in the woods
and ventures to the stables as her morning walk
She's got a ditzy laugh and a
and beautiful eyes that squint at the sun
She's me when I detach
from the roles of work and school.
With her headphones on, she waits
by the fishing dock overlooking
to find my car barreling down the road
and we reunite again