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365 days of SIXTEEN
I remember watching Sixteen Candles and wondering, will that happen to me?? I love that movie because it reminds me of how every 16 year old should be- innocent. Not all this dating early, sex crazy, short short wearing teenager, but gradually leaving childhood and enjoying adolescence. Luckily, for me, my family did not forget my birthday. Although, I did have a modest Sweet Sixteen… a little too modest.
From the minute I turned 16, I started noticing so many changes- physically, emotionally, and mentally. I realized that my male friends were not treating me the same and my parents kept wanting me to “Dress up” hmm… I guess puberty really changed me because I remember this guy who would always call me “ugly” in elementary was all of a sudden… trying to flirt with me!?! Hellll no.
I went through a “gypsy” phase- I curled my hair into loose curls, wore thick eyeliner, sparkly & colorful peasant skirts, big earrings- I think I looked fabulous lol
I loved being a kid and at 16 I was trying to balance two worlds into one. I came from a strict and respected household. So imagine, being around friends and classmates talking about going out, dating, going to dances, dressing a certain way, and me… not so much. I was not allowed to do much. I kind of isolated myself from that aspect, even though I really wanted to explore it. I never dated. Every time I received an invitation to a party or event, I just made up an excuse. Everyone began to think I was a flake- I wasn’t! It came to a point that at 16, I wanted to do those things. Now, to my family, it would appear that I was rebelling and taking the “bad path.” I would not call going to the movies with my guy friends or going to Homecoming dance was a “bad path” heck, even a simple sleepover at my bffs house! (Yes, never done it during those years )
I remember at 16 I wanted to do the things my friends did but felt like I was in a cage. Don’t get my wrong, I loved being with my family, spending every day, every vacation with them. But I did not want that. I was not about to spend every minute with them, get married, then transfer all that “togetherness” with my new family. Sixteen, I just watched and planned what I wanted. While that was happening, I was getting “notifications” from guys who just wanted to marry me. Yes, being the Disney lover and wanting my Prince Charming right away, it was something I wanted, but I was still a kid! I wanted to enjoy that! Not rush into it! I watched my sister get engaged at 17 (decades ago and still married <3) and thought, I can’t do, I have other plans… but Lord, I do want marriage and lots of kids! Just let me explore and educate myself!
At sixteen, I was just a kid. I was confused how girls my age or younger were getting pregnant. I would not let a boy kiss me let alone be intimate! I was sooo innocent, not naive because I knew all about the birds and bees, just not going to take that path- maybe I was too scared of upsetting my parents (uh oh!)
Besides, I was going back and forth between growing up and enjoying being innocent. I remember deciding at 16 to never smoke weed after witnessing my stoned classmates get humiliated from my History teacher- never happening to me!
Those 365 days was fun, scary, exciting, upsetting, and exhilarating. I wish I could go back and tell myself to not be afraid and just rebel a little bit. It was okay. I trust my 16 year old self.