I recently read Susan Branch’s novel “Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams” and in it she describes a delicious morning of reading in bed, in the perfect breezy weather, with her cat curled on her legs in her dreamy bedroom. Dealing with major heartache and upheaval; she was coming back to herself in small ways and wrote something that has been on my mind ever since. She said being there was “as close to 12 as she had ever been” and it got me thinking about what that could possibly mean.
When I think back on being 12 I remember feeling excited to go to school in equal measure to being equally excited about sparkly eyeshadow. Nothing was too serious (except being cool) and there was always the possibility of something wonderful happening, I actually thought that. Seems like I could use a little pep talk from myself 18 years ago.
In order to get a little closer to that girl, a girl who was fearless and who didn’t worry so much about what she looked liked, or if she would ever be kissed, or if things would turn out; I’ve decided to make a list of as many things as I can remember about what I loved at 12 in order to rekindle that part of myself:
In no particular order:
-Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Who would I be without her!)
-TGIF (especially Boy Meets World and Sabrina the Teenage Witch)
-Hocus Pocus (The greatest Disney channel movie, ever!)
-Butterfly hair clips
-All dogs (but especially mine)
-being ‘tall’ (I was 5’3 at 11, somewhere my inner rockette is weeping, I only made it to 5’5)
-Broadway musicals, especially Beauty and the Beast, which was why I decided on a career in the theatre
-Reading, in particular; S.E. Hinton.
-Writing (see, even then it was there. It just happened to be really shitty poetry about being wounded and lonely.)
-Vampires (still true)
-sparkly body dust (What was this for? Who knows, loved it.)
-a sweatshirt I still wish I had that said: “Girls Rule and Boys Drool!”
having family birthday parties and eating a lot of cake with no fear
-painting my nails blue
-day dreaming in the car while listening to Toni Braxton and Shania Twain
-Going on drives just to see the leaves change in the fall while listening to patsy cline and Paul Simon
-dance class every Wednesday
-smackers lip gloss in obnoxious pink colors
-a pair of denim overalls with canvas combat boots (my god, I was cool, I wish I still had some of these clothes)
-lilac body spray
-wearing shorts without feeling self conscious
-roller blading up and down the street
-talking on the phone to my girlfriends
-chokers (yes, I wore it in the 90’s, can I wear it again?)
-pancakes every Saturday morning
-the Spice Girls, N’Sync and Backstreet Boys
-laying in the pool on an inner tube while listening to my boom box (which was covered in stickers)
-catching lightening bugs (and letting them go)
-School, especially science
-building a fort
-being clever. ( I never felt pretty like other girls, so I tried to be something different to make boys notice me)
-holidays with my family
-a computer game called “secret paths through the forest” (just trust me)
-ghosts, learning about them, AND hunting them
-ice skating every Friday night with my friends
So that’s a list that didn’t take any time at all to compile. In thinking about it, I realize I remember more of what I loved than what I didn’t. I cannot say the same for being 30. I can make you a list a mile long about what I don’t like, hate and feel bad about. The list of what I love, I fear would be shorter and that makes me a little sad and a little worried.
I am on the hunt this summer to re-connect to that girl and explore those things I loved at 12. A lot of them, reading them back, are still true. So maybe, replace some of my fear with sparkly eyeshadow and blue toe-nails? Stop worrying so much about what I look like in my clothes and just wear them because they make it easier to climb trees or ride my bike.
I don’t think I want to move any further into 30 without this 12 year old with me. It’s high time I paid attention to re-learning what I already know.
What about you? Is the inner 12 year old in you ready to come out and play?