I am in the middle of writing a manuscript of sorts for young adults. My dream has always been to write within that genre, as I seem to have never left it. The middle and high school eras are deeply ingrained in my psyche, and one song or joke will bring me back. While I’m in the throes of such a task, I use Spotify to trigger my teenage emotional content. It works. Between songs danced awkwardly at homecoming to the angsty songs of Taylor Swift, all I want to do is break my curfew and steal a Bartles & James to share with my girlfriends at the park. I was such a daring teen.
But I especially like to relive the moments spent with my girl cousins. I come from a rather large family and there are around seven girls within the same age group. We’d partake in sleepovers, birthday parties, and arguments – most likely over who had the better Barbie clothing collection. Many of us even participated in a human flag that we performed at various parade routes in Iowa during a year’s time. What I really took away from my experiences living in a close extended family was the comfort. I always looked forward to events and times with my cousins and aunts. Sleepovers were never awkward, while slumber parties with friends sometimes caused unneeded anxiety.
While in high school, a beloved pastime was ‘cruising the loop’ around town. Late at night, teenagers would blare their music from the opened windows of their dingy cars for four blocks, and when the distance was completed, repeat. What my sister Emily, cousins Jennifer and Elizabeth, and I liked to do was make a mockery of the tradition. We bought awful (and I mean awful) CDs to complete the task. Our favorites were polka and the worst of 80’s hairbands. Sometimes we even broke out our Jock Jams CDs. We’d pump the bass out of my grey ’91 Corsica and rock out. People sitting outside downtown would give us dirty looks as we ‘gangsterly’ bobbed our heads to the music. When the polka rocked out, we just stared blankly back – like, what else would we do?
Now, it’s easy to get in the habit of being an adult and acting, oh I don’t know, all adult-ish. It sucks. Perhaps this trip back to the land of nostalgia is good not only for my writing but for myself. To learn that acting silly and not taking life so seriously is pretty okay.
I want to go back to there – Tina Fey