So, this afternoon, while I hid upstairs while my husband told the visiting Mormons that no, his wife wasn't at home (I have a weakness for the religious and I usually invite them in, which invites return visits. I've been in the process of becoming a Jehovah's Witness for the past three years and I don't even want to, this is the depths of my inability to say no to religious folk), I decided I would sit on the floor of my bedroom and go through my big ole' trunk of memories from my younger days.
Doesn't everybody have one of those?
I found some amusing pictures of my recently-deceased grandfather, a series of snapshots I took whenever I caught him sleeping on family vacation '97. I vaguely recall that it went from, a "Ha ha, I'm going to take a picture of grandpa sleeping!" joke to a full blown, "If I casually turn on golf and hide behind that chair, I can get him again!" sniper attack.
Also in the rubble of my high school days? A very sweet letter from my first boyfriend in which he apologized for not breaking up with me well, and expressing a hope that we could be friends. I feel real guilt over the fact that I don't think I ever saw him once after my last day of high school. Whoops. Hope he's still alive somewhere. Wonder what he thinks about the recent decline of funny on The Simpsons.
There were programs from shows I saw during high school, and shows I was in during high school. Tickets from Alanis Morrisette, Rusted Root, The Verve Pipe, The Cranberries, REM, Patti Smith, and Radiohead concerts. An 8mm video cassette that I would literally pay a hundred bucks to know what's on it. Horrid poetry about how no one would ever love me.
As I started to look over the dreams I'd had as a teenager, and thought about how different my life has turned out in comparison to what I'd thought I'd be doing now, I got a little sad. Maybe I knew more than I thought I did back then. Maybe my life might have turned out differently, and I could be sitting in an apartment overlooking central park, polishing my Tonys and chatting on the phone to my BFF Kristen Chenoweth.
And then I found two things that pretty much convinced me that, no, I am in the life I was destined to live, for better or worse. One was a folder full of Forever Knight fanfic zines. Another was a journal entry from my senior English class. The teacher used to write quotes on the board and make us journal about them. I found my entries, which, helpfully, don't have the quotes copied on to them.
September 25, 1997
When the aliens finally come and get me, I will be pretty cool about it. I'll let them do their little experiments on me and whatever, and then I would show them around Earth. I think I would take them bowling, cause that would really help them understand our culture, I think. I think I wouldn't let them see Independence Day, though, cause that might peach them off.
I have seen four UFOs in my life, but none of them have stopped to pick me up.
If I were going to have someone play me in a movie, it would be me, cause I act, or Alex Kingston from Moll Flanders, cause we have the same hair.
I would love to know what she had written on the board that day to encourage such an explosion of verbal diarrhea.
I would be even more interested to find out what she had written on September 29, 1997:
Okay, I think that the quote means that when you are a kid, you look at things a lot differently and you aren't always trying so hard to figure things out. When you're a kid and you are thinking about something, you find one answer that seems logical to you and you stick with it, but adults feel like they have to know everything, so they don't think as much, they try to have it all figured out. I think it all boils down to your imagination, and how much you use it.
Setting aside the fact that I have no idea what I was talking about, I think I was onto something there. When you're a child, a simple answer does satisfy you more than when you're an adult. But it's interesting to look at something like this and think, "What would I think of myself, if seventeen year old Jen could see who she will be at thirty?" I wonder if she had any idea how much she will have to use her imagination as an adult.