“We’re afraid that we will never escape our past. We’re afraid of what the future will bring. We’re afraid we won’t be loved, we won’t be liked. And we won’t succeed.” – Lady Bird (2017)
I watched this film the other day, and I have to say that it resonated with me a lot, and it also got me thinking about the condition of being a teenager. I sound like I’m ancient when I say that; I’m not, I promise.
When I was a teenager, I often felt like I was trapped. I was being told what I needed to do, where I should be, where I should be going, and what would happen if it didn’t go to plan. I felt like it was suffocating. I felt like I wanted to do a Sally Bowles in Cabaret; go and stand under a railway bridge, wait for a train, and then scream as loudly as I could as one went overhead. But there were no railway tracks in my town.
I wanted to be something, go somewhere, do everything. And I was so frightened that I wasn’t going to be able to. It wasn’t that I wanted to be famous or something like that; I wasn’t opposed to the idea if it came as part of the baggage of doing something, but I just wanted to be sure my life was going to mean something. It felt like my skin didn’t fit, and that I had no idea how to be comfortable in it.
I don’t really know when the shift happened, and when it didn’t it wasn’t all that seismic (because if it was surely I would know when it did – if that makes any sense?). It’s not that now I don’t want to be something, go somewhere, and do everything; it’s that I am happy with the idea that my life actually doesn’t mean anything. It’s not supposed to, and there is an immense amount of comfort in that.
I think as you grow up you become more aware of how things work. That’s just common sense. In my post regarding Antonia Pozzi I considered that the reason I didn’t write poetry before was because it takes time to actually experience the things that make the words have meaning to them.
I’ve still got a lot of growing up to do, and a lot of ageing to do. As each year passes I feel more and more comfortable with who I am and what I am. Teenagers are full of this nervous energy, which gradually seems to uncoil as the years go on, and for that I can only be grateful.