All of the "self examining", "facing my own mortality", shenanigans I have been putting myself through lately, have been bringing a lot of memories back to the surface of my brain. As I age, my internal RAM becomes so vast and complex, memories that I haven't thought of since the day they happened can pop up out of nowhere and catch me off guard. One smell, a tiny sound bite, a certain angle of light hitting leaves, can cause a rush of memories to flood back and overwhelm me.
I was driving up Clifton Ave on the way to University of Cincinnati the other day, when I heard three guitar chords (I am no musician, so I have no idea if they were "G" or "E", or what have you), from a Social Distortion song, that propelled me back into the fall of 1987. This, in turn, brought back that awful, awkward feeling I used to have, ALL OF THE TIME. (Who am I kidding? I still wear that awkward feeling today, like a Scarlett Letter.)
My friend John is famous for stating that he is so thankful that Al Gore had not invented the internet yet when he was young, and I cannot agree more. Had I access to a digital camera and the world wide web in the seventh grade, society would have been inundated with images of really bad Siouxsie Sioux eye makeup, egg white hair-dos, and a dosage of bershon so lethal, it could kill small animals.
I won't even let my mind wander to the unbearable embarassment a public record like that would lead to in my adult life.... I know of a few people who possess certain photos of me and I still fantasize about breaking into their homes and destroying any evidence linking me to white powder make-up, Robert Smith hair-don'ts and teenage depression.
Although the cringe factor is pretty incredible when I think of the hijinks my two best friends C and K, and I would get into; I still get this warm feeling (not in my pants) around my cold, cold heart, when I think about those days.... Man, we were tragic melvins, and we had no IDEA. In our minds, we were the coolest. One day, we're at cheer leading practice, talking about Tretorns and Colors by Benneton; the next thing you know, we rented Dogs In Space,we're smoking cigarettes, we hate our parents, and all of our clothes have been ravaged by scissors and markers with "NO FUTURE" scribbled all over them.
Voila! PUNK ROCK!
But then again, isn't that what being a teenager is all about?
You are supposed to be misunderstood, moody, hungry and ugly. You are supposed to know everything despite the fact that your brain is not even fully formed yet. You are supposed to have no fear, strong principles and morals that are in total contrast to what your parents believe..... You are supposed to be forming the foundation for the person you are going to become...
And that is what we were doing.
Though, we were pretty bad sometimes and experimented with a lot of drugs.... We had our fair share of violent interactions with people, and, ashamedly, with our parents... It was not without purpose... We didn't like the people around us who marched to beat of the Suburban values drummer. We felt a strong need to express ourselves through art, music, clothing, and politics. We needed to stand up for what we thought was right.... We needed to stand up for ourselves and our rights to be who we wanted to be without being hassled by people who found that determination to be too scary and uncomfortable. We needed, and would stop at nothing, to become strong adults.
I'm not saying that kids who didn't do what we did are weak, or less or anything to that ilk. I am just recognizing that it was necessary for me and the people I hung out with to take the paths we chose. I think about that 12 year old girl spray painting "ANTI-RACIST ACTION" on the wall behind Krogers, and I just want to hug her.... She was a good kid and I need to remember her and her strength to stand up for what she believed in and the strength she had to stand up to those who tried to put her down........
That girl was pretty awesome.....I miss her.