Teenage Dreams

There is something wonderful about watching a chick flick in a room full of teenage girls. Something about the ambiance. Feelings and angst are so rampant already as an eau du teenager that somehow breathing it all it, allows even a 28 year old (who dragged her 50-something parents to see “Everything, Everything”) let her emotions run wild.

There was something about him at first glance. Not his hair, definitely not his hair, but Olly, the main guy, reminded me of someone that I used to know.

For the first time, I think ever, I didn’t mind the high-pitched chatter and giggles in the background. (Usually I like to watch movies alone, and silent. Hush you over there!) Everything was so perfectly timed that I couldn’t help but smile along. The sighs and awws of the pursuit, giggles at the awkwardness of beginnings… to more giggles during kissing scenes, and “Oh my gosh! No! Gross!” during the sex scene. (I was comforted to know that not everyone is corrupted by the prevalence of sex in our world these days.) Even the perfectly timed mothers gasping towards the end (I won’t spoil it for you)… made the experience all the more worthwhile.

And that was just the sensory experience! Think about the emotional; I remember being a teenager once… Do you? I mostly didn’t like it. There is something to be said about having so many feelings on the surface all at once. But it has its beautiful parts too, like being able to giggle at a kissing scene without judgment, or aww at the adorable things Olly did to woo Maddy. It’s just not as commendable or endearing for a spinster (see #7 and #10) in her late twenties… It doesn’t really have the same effect.

There seem to be two free passes in life. Once as a teenager when you don’t know any better, and finally as an elderly person when you know better but no longer give a shit. It’s this in-between period where emotions get stuck, buried or forgotten, or at least we try to forget.

Like trying to forget one of my least favorite questions: “Have you ever been in love?” I think it’s a dumb question, probably because I haven’t, not in the conventional sense at least. Nonetheless I’ve been there. It’s probably not the happily ever after, ooey-gooey story you’re looking for, but oh boy, (Oh! Boy!) I’ve been there. I’m sure this makes less and less sense to you, but tonight on a whim, in this delightful teenage dream, I’m going to try and explain.

The main gentleman in this movie reminded me of you. I doubt you’ll ever read this, so I’m going to pretend like I’m writing to you, because I’ll be able to express myself better. Like we used to.

I see it now, it was in his smile, and I think a bit in the eyes too… That damn smile that accompanied all your smart-ass comments, and those puppy dog brown eyes. Bet you never knew I thought that about you. My friends didn’t see it, but I did. Oh, how I did.

The movie reminded me of those jitters, the good ones. Not being able to sleep at night, because all I wanted to do was chat with you jitters. You, at least, had some sense of when sleep was necessary. I did not. Perhaps, because part of me is simply a teenage girl inside. (The other half, an elderly women which explains why I’m suddenly daring to no longer give a shit.) I surely felt like a teenage girl, anxiously waiting on responses… or that one time, after you left, texting that I missed you. I felt like such an idiot. Who actually admits that they miss someone? Well, I guess I do.

I remember giving up on watching chick flicks and reading even the cheesy, love-inspired romance novels (that I not-so secretly made fun of) because I knew that real life was so much better. My life better than pretending to have someone else’s. Imagine that? (I hate feeling like something’s missing. Hate it.)

I remember waking up one morning after a blink of sleep to go running. I’m pretty sure I ran faster and farther than I ever had before. I had this happiness, or joy that fueled me far beyond what I believed my capabilities were. That’s the thing about people and connections and (this so-called) love, it has the ability to move mountains. Given the right place and the right time, and a whole lotta Jesus.

God has this way of placing the right people in our lives just when we need them. No more, no less. It wasn’t necessary for us to be friends forever, but God knew I would desperately need someone just like you when it was time for Gma to go home. I needed someone who would ask all the right questions, and read my incredibly long-winded answers. I needed someone who would somehow put off sleep late at night (though I know you probably preferred it) to tell me she would want me to be happy, even if those were the exact words I didn’t want to hear. You were still there, and somehow awake.

I needed that smart-ass sense of humor and witty banter about all the stupid things, and more important things like how awesome the Packers are, how terrible the Vikings are, or what events are worth driving 2-3 hours for…

all the stupid things

Teenage dreaming freed me to do all the stupid things (even though I knew we’d only ever be friends) like picture our names together or look for silly signs… Like how your birthday is the same day, one year later after my father passed away. Not in the morbid sense, but more like a gift. That’s how I always saw it at least. You have their sense of humor and pranking abilities (speaking of morbid) as my father’s family. That’s why it was always too easy to picture. Or hope for.

I felt a connection, if only for a moment. Recognizing that someone in the world more than half cared about what I had to say, believing in my story, made all the difference. You, if only for the blink of an eye, made all the difference.

Love is not always two people doing romantic things together on Valentine’s day (sometimes it’s three). Love can be a connection, even if temporarily so. It can be hugs and kisses and late night candle-lit conversations.  It can be romantic or not so romantic. In a multitude of times though, what love really seems to be is listening, and encouragement. First listening without an agenda, simply knowing that you care enough about this person to just listen (no strings attached). Then using the heart and soul they shared to help them find pieces within that only you could show them, harvesting those seeds, and letting them flourish. Adventuring into the the great unknown, somehow bettered because of this person that God allowed you to get to know and care for, for such a time as this/that.

Not the happily ever after you’ve been searching for? I find endings rarely are. I think that is why I enjoy movies that don’t end “happily ever after”. For example “La La Land”: Two aspiring dreamers meet, share an epic connection, encourage each other to truly follow their dreams, sacrifice, and simply rock at doing what they were created to do. Not Hollywood happily-ever-after, but really, the dream. If there’s some dancing and kissing along the way, cool beans, if not, no biggie.

teenage dream

I want the messy, (welcomed-) awkward beginnings and the beautiful, giddy, jittery middles. Like the ooey-gooey middle of a s’more, where the perfectly burnt marshmallow (crispy on the outside, warm and gooey on the inside) meets the melting Hershey chocolates. Enjoyed on the perfect, chilly Minnesota night on the edge of my favorite lake, cozy by the fire, surrounded by my besties listening to my crazy, ridiculous teenage dreams.

And they lived…

And they decided it was…

Time to go make s’more…

Crazy, awkward, ridiculous yet perfect, teenage dreams.


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