Wednesday night = three classes going on simultaneously, a dozen Aerial Fitness students who all just happen to be at least six years younger and 15 pounds hotter than me, and instructions from the distracted teacher such as, “Foot lock—go!” Huh?
If the Saturday classes reminded me of my gymnastics years in a good way, Wednesday’s reminded me of them in a…less good way. There was always one rotation I kind of sucked at (then vault, now silks). There was always one teacher who was a little mean (I think I’ve blocked out my mean gymnastics teachers; but the mean-ish circus teacher was just grouchy, I think, because she had a knee injury from stilts).
Lately I’ve felt like a teenager in so many ways. I’m learning new things, which is good, but I also feel like I’m constantly getting it wrong, and every little thing sends me flying off the handle, which is…less good. When I was in my twenties, people always seemed to be talking about how, in your thirties, you’d have it all figured out. You’d just be so comfortable in your skin. There was a subtle implication that you would also own a home, have a fulfilling career, be in love with someone who always understood you and possibly have a really cute baby or two. It’s the myth of upward mobility in all senses of the phrase; it’s what they sell to middle-class twenty-somethings.
When I was in high school, people talked about how, in college, there was no such thing as the popular crowd. In college, you’d find your niche and be so comfortable in your own skin. Surely it was just a matter of writing for the school newspaper, right? That’s the myth they sell to nerdy teenagers.
(I know I should question the myths, and the class implications, and my own conflation of accomplishment and self-worth. I’ll add it to my Should List and get to it right after I wash the outside of the house [that I do not own].)
Eventually, I loved college. But first there was a year of secretly gorging myself on my roommate’s potato chips, dating my other roommate’s ex and incurring her wrath, and writing long sad letters to my parents (who lived five miles away). I did join the newspaper staff, but when I went to the Bruin’s end-of-the-year party, the only girl I really knew there vomited all over the table and passed out immediately. The only words spoken to me by the hilarious editor I really admired were: “So, like, what do you do for fun?” There was genuine bafflement in his voice, and I wondered too. Fun? I hadn’t really had any the whole year.
All I wanted to do at the end of the day yesterday was be good at something. I wanted to sneak into a beginning writing class and pretend to be a prodigy, not someone who’s been working her ass off for at least a dozen years. I wanted to call my sister in hopes that she’d had a bad day, so I could comfort her and she could tell me what a good sister I was. In the car on the way home from Aerial Fitness, I actually started singing the theme song from Cheers to myself, and I might have cried a little bit. It doesn’t get much classier than that.
What teenagers have to get them through the transition times is good skin (even the ones with terrible acne have beautiful skin; this is something you only notice when you turn thirty). What I have, I guess, is…maturity? And faith in the process of growth…? I guess? But I swear to god, if AK had a secret stash of potato chips, I would have eaten them all last night.