Gentlemen, or should I say ‘man’ because if any guy is reading this it is likely my husband, the following post may make men uncomfortable; therefore, proceed with caution.
Turning 13 is a milestone for young women. We look forward to the distinction of being grown up, the excitement of going to high school, driving, buying cigs…..in the 1990s that was a big one, and finally moving out of the house in just a few short years. WTH is wrong with kids? The teenage years are awful days filled with oil, and hair, and awkward bodies and changes.…I just threw up.…Why do we need these years? But then again, being an adult is certainly nothing to hurry. Sure, having your own children to live vicariously through is a nice perk, but God the 20s are a bitch filled with bad jobs, questionable dates, hangovers (so very many hangovers) and a myriad of bills that no one really wants to pay. If I knew then what I know now, I would have paused at around 8 years old. Not a baby, but a reasonable sized girl who could read, write and ride a bike….not well….but that is another story for another day.
|What a cute boy. Wait, what?|
|That is a killer pose, I can’t believe the agents passed…|
Becoming a teenager means being discovered as a model or mega talent. In my case, I thought sports illustrated swimsuit issue.
March 16, 1992, my thirteenth birthday, brought none of the spoils that most girls found. No, I didn’t get a Swatch phone or a boom box; there were no Guess Jeans or that perm that I had begged for. (Thank you mom for that, although I am still angry about not having bangs) Oh, no, I got the chicken pox. A nice fat case of itchy sores all over the outside and INSIDE of my body. They were in my eyes, my nose, my mouth. I sincerely believed that there was no way that I would see my 14th birthday, this was sure to be the death of me. Midway through my week from hell, my dad ran into a friend’s mom at the bank and said, “Well, she feels better, but damn she looks terrible, so she won’t be back to school for a while.” Perfect. The single perk to my quarantined state was that I would be able to spend my final days watching reruns of Press Your Luck and it just happened to be MTV’s Spring Break, so I had Daisy Fuentes and Pauly Shore to keep me company.
|Eyebrow waxing is optional, the natural look was in|
In between chants of No Whammy, No Whammy and TLC’s “Ain’t to Proud to Beg” on what seemed to be a loop on MTV interrupted only by “Save the Best for Last” by Vanessa Williams, I decided to do a little reading. I have never been, nor ever will be a big reader. But I quite frankly got bored with TV and needed a new diversion. I turned to my good friend Judy Blume for some insight into the life of other awkward girls. Judy had always peeked my interest and I can distinctly remember reading snippets of Just as Long as We’re Together about Jeremy Dragon and his hairy legs that meant he was more “experienced.” I think that I went to college believing that was a real sign of a true Adonis.……idiot.…..
I had heard that reading Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret sent some kind of supersonic sound wave right into your uterus and to get things moving toward “womanhood.” But, I was certain that it was just seventh grade folk lore, so I dove right it. Horrifying. OMG what was wrong with this girl trying to make her boobs bigger and she really wanted her period…..Thankfully, Judy and Margaret’s voodoo didn’t work on me. I walked away unscathed. Two weeks went by, the physical scars of my bout with the pox had healed, but the emotional damage done by that book, well that would take years and years of therapy to recover.
|Popping that leg is elongating and sexy|
April 8, 1992 was a big day, my youngest brother turned seven and my mom took the boys, Nani and I out for the occasion and headed to Burger King. Clad in a killer pair of white Guess shorts, a white button down with navy blue stars and large gold buttons and a pair of Navy Coaster Bow Shoes, yes I know you wore Sam and Libby’s I wore Coasters from Payless….the horror….. I headed straight for my mother’s Red Pontiac Transport that the kids at school affectionately referred to as “The Dust Buster” mortifying. I didn’t feel great, but certainly nothing that a big fat greasy Whopper couldn’t fix. Upon arrival, I headed to the bathroom and at that moment I damned Judy Blume and that b@#$h Margaret to hell forever. There was no denying what had happened, but WTH was I going to do. I began to get woozy and at one point hit my head on the stall wall. The 33-year-old me is interjecting here. Really, Colleen? I was acting like a gunshot victim, or at the very least like someone who had been shanked in prison! Apparently my flare for the dramatic can’t be snuffed.
I decided that there was no way that I could escape this and I headed into the dining room to find my entire family with crowns on. Awesome. Please let’s draw as much attention to our table as possible because these people clearly all know what has happened and are already talking about me. I turned to my mother and very quietly said,
“I think I just got my period,” hmm, there was no thinking about it, idiot.
“That is just great. That is wonderful,” she said with this alarming smile on her face.
|The flowers, symbolic of the blooming young woman.….feel free to vomit.|
Was she nuts? What was so great about this? It was disgusting. It was painful, and I was ready to call it a wrap 10 minutes in. My mother, the fabulous woman that she is, is a consummate pleaser. She passed me a package from her purse and proceeded with the birthday party without missing a beat. I couldn’t believe that she was taking this so casually, this was a catastrophe. She knew I was reading that book, was this part of her grand plan? Did she know the power of Judy Blume and she didn’t protect me? How could she? Despite my horror and feeling that she had totally turned on me, I was determined to keep this between the two of us. Oh my God, was she going to tell my dad? I would choke her in her sleep. He can’t know about this. I am gagging now just thinking about it.
|Look at that guy, he does not want to know!|
Once we had finished eating, we all got back into the dust buster and headed home. As we approached our neighborhood, my mother did the unforgivable. She pulled into Target and asked us all to get out. What was she doing? She couldn’t possibly be doing what I thought that she was doing! No, no this was not happening! We all got out of the car and headed toward the door. She wasn’t really considering shopping for those things. Not here! Not with my brothers! Not in my neighborhood where someone could actually see me! OMG, I was hyperventilating. She was so casual, so calm, as if nothing was wrong. Like this was a perfectly natural, normal occurrence. I hated her. I hated Target. I hated birthdays. God I really hated that B!@#H Margaret!!!
I followed her sheepishly down the aisles as she pranced through the store. She looked like Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road, clicking her heels, skipping along and waving at all of the munchkins in the store until she turned down the aisle clearly labeled, “Feminine Hygiene.” Again, I am gagging……I looked around to make sure that no one saw me, and quickly slipped down the line. WTH was she doing? Comparing brands? Prices? Coupons? OMG!!! Grab a bag and let’s get the hell out of her.
“Which one would you like?” She sang merrily.
“Uh, please just grab something so we can go. Please! I don’t care. I just want to go. Please!” I begged…and begged…and begged…..There was another woman coming down the aisle and I could not make eye contact. I was going to melt. I could die. Just as I began to evaporate. The sweet little birthday boy exclaimed,
“I know what those are. Those are the pink your pregnant blue your nots. You got pink. Colleen’s pregnant. Colleen’s pregnant.” The horror.
That was 20 years ago this past Easter Sunday. Between the ER visits, vomiting, and beating my children with bats, I was remiss in remembering my “special day.” I really wish that I could have celebrated it like Rudy and Claire on the Cosby Show. Do you remember that shit? Bizarre! As young women, we prayed that it wouldn’t come again, that we would be one of the lucky ones that had an irregular cycle. Now we pray like hell that it comes. If we are 10 minutes late we are running for the EPT. Surely I am not the only one that keeps pregnancy tests on had all the time….right….right? But, as I think about my life today in comparison to 20 years ago, I wouldn’t change a thing. After all, if it weren’t for that dumb b!@#h Margaret, I may never have had the two loves of my life…….so I really can’t complain……..right now…….about that anyway…….I can always complain……
|The smile that make their eyes disappear melts.my.heart.every time.|