My Life As A Teen

First day of high school.

I am sweaty with nerves as my mother drops me off in front of a new building, wondering: Does my hair look okay? Are my clothes stupid? Why do these shoes look so huge on my feet? Why did I get a monogrammed backpack? Monograms are embarrassing. Am I seriously carrying a lunch in a brown paper bag? Who DOES that? I should have just bought my lunch at school. This is so humiliating, carrying this bag around.

It’s a good thing I came to school a week ago to find my locker and all my classes, because this place. is. a. zoo.

Older students crowd the halls, looking me up and down as I pass. I know they’re talking about me. Making fun of me. I just know it. I should have worn something else. Oh, look! Friends! I have a few of those. Time to go talk to them and pretend like I do this every single day.

A teacher yells at me the first week for not listening to him. I didn’t hear him, honestly. But when I said I didn’t hear, he told me not to lie to him. It took all I had not to cry.

This is hard.

If only someone knew how I felt right now. But no one does. I am the only one.

*

Last day of high school. Man, I am so ready to get out of this place. I’ve been ready for the last two years. It seemed like it would never end! All these teachers? They don’t care about me. They never did. I was just one more cow being herded through the doors and across the stage and out into the collegiate world.

All I can think about is the teacher who gave me my only detention for not having my book covered on time. Seriously? Seriously.

I’m ready to leave my first boyfriend behind, too. When we started dating – I as a sophomore, he as a senior – I totally KNEW we were going to get married. But then he left for college, and, well, somehow I don’t think we’re going to grow old together, know what I’m saying? Anyway, I’ve got a new boyfriend now.

And we are TOTALLY getting married.

It’d be cool if there was someone out there who could relate to all this, but I’m pretty sure I’m on my own. Oh well. It’s cool.

*

First year of college.

It took me a while, but I’m settled in at this massive place. I love the anonimity here; I can hide all I want! Nobody knows my name! My classes have 200 people in them and I’m known by my social security number.

The high school boyfriend and I broke up after first semester, but it was for the best. He was a year behind me and we might as well have tried to date while living on separate continents.

Speaking of dating people on separate continents, that’s what I’m doing with this smokin’ British exchange student I met. We’re completely in love. And we’re getting married. I’m going to Northern Ireland this summer to work at a soccer camp (weird, since I don’t play soccer) and then I’ll fly to London for two weeks to stay with his family!

BOOYAH! I have arrived. Life is working out just the way it should. I am so Euro-chic. Everybody wants to be me. EVERYBODY. I know everything and I can do whatever I want.

No one will ever understand how I feel right now or relate to me at all, because nobody will ever be on this level of Awesome.

*

Second year of college.

Well, British Guy and I are still going strong! It sucks though because he had to go back to his university in the UK. Facebook hasn’t been invented yet, which is unfortunate since he’s not the greatest at returning emails. We talk on the phone as often as we can. I’m spending too much of my parents’ money going to see him, but since I’m so awesome, it doesn’t matter. I can do whatever I want, remember?

Hmm, think I’ll move to Spain for the spring. By myself. Because that’s how I roll, yo. Or should I say, Ruedo asi.

I see British Guy once a month now that I live in Madrid. School here is awesome – we have siesta every afternoon, and classes aren’t even offered on Fridays. I can get to London for twenty bucks on a bright orange plane. Since I’m so cool, I can blow off anyone I want and only see the people who rock as hard as I do.

Sorry, Everybody Else. Maybe we can hang some other time, when I’m less cool. Although I’ll be busy getting married to British Guy, so, whatever.

Nobody gets me. I might as well just become a full-fledged celebrity and call it a day.

*

Third year of college.

Well, British Guy and I broke up. It was doomed from the start, really. I’m pretty sure I said that all along. Now I like a different guy, but I’m not sure what our relationship is. Are we dating? Are we not? If we’re dating, then isn’t it weird for him to date another girl at the same time?

Uh oh. Now I love this guy. But he keeps asking this other girl out. But he also asks me out. But he calls her a lot. But he also calls me a lot. Are we friends? Dating? What?

Aaaaaaaand now I’m depressed, and it’s having an effect on my body. Certain . . . uh . . . things can’t regulate themselves because I’m under so much stress from this relationship-type-thing. So I have to go on medication to get things back in sync. But the medication makes me socially anxious and even more depressed when I’m alone.

Can’t be with other people because it makes me crazy. Can’t be alone because I cry uncontrollably. Can’t tell anyone about it because I’m too embarrassed.

I wonder what British Guy’s up to? *buys international calling card*

*

Fourth year of college.

I am alone.

Utterly alone.

Wait, who’s that cute freshman guy? Didn’t I meet him on my twenty-first birthday? He came with somebody. I think his name is Forrest. Nope, not Forrest. I just called him that and he told me his name is Rob. And apparently this is not the first time I’ve called him Forrest.

Embarrassing.

He’s got nice blue eyes, and oddly enough, he doesn’t seem interested in any of the following:

A) Moving to a foreign country without me

B) Leading me into a vague and undefined pseudo-relationship while pursuing other girls

C) Anything else sketchy and less-than-awesome

Also, he has blond hair. I like blond hair. And he’s kind to his mother. And he goes out of his way to help people out. And he’s the most patient person I’ve ever met.

Hmm.

I think I feel that depression lifting. I might be back on the road to Awesomeville . . . although I think I’m done with that pedestal forever. You know, the one I put myself on a couple years ago.

If only someone knew how I felt, all this would have been a lot easier.

*          *          *

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I continue to teach high school and insist on writing for teens.

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17 thoughts on “My Life As A Teen

  1. Elle Strauss says:

    This is awesome, Anne! I love your voice. I was totally engaged. You need to write a book with this voice. Totally.

    • Anne Riley says:

      Ha! I think I’m doing that right now. It’s MY voice, so it’s pretty easy. Know what I mean?

  2. Catie Marie says:

    Wow, Mrs. Riley! That was too sweet. I don’t know a whole lot about young adult novels and how all that works, but I really really enjoyed reading that. It’s such a classic way of looking at things; taking yourself too seriously like you did with your “british boy.” Loved it.

  3. Rosemary Jager says:

    Hahahaha. How much do I love this? A lot.
    The exact reason the word “Education” is tacked onto the end of my “English Language Arts” major.
    … and have I mentioned how badly I want to go to Europe?

    • Anne Riley says:

      I think you will be such a great teacher! And yes… Europe. It holds a bittersweet place in my heart.

    • Anne Riley says:

      Hopefully the point got across – not that I think I am an awesome YA writer, but that with each phase of life, I felt alone.

  4. Faye Wilcox says:

    Fast moving. Even at my age I can recal all of these feelings and a happy ending. What else could a reader ask for

  5. Alexandra Shostak says:

    Hahahaha. That is hilarious! My teen years were a whirlwind of craptastic poetry, fanfiction, and a boyfriend who honestly belongs in an issue book (perhaps written in verse? hah!)

      • Alexandra Shostak says:

        My ever so favorite poem I wrote was when I was trying to copy “The Raven” and I wrote this poem about a murderer randomly breaking into my house and killing off my best friend who was over hanging out. It was LONG (several pages) and hilariously melodramatic. Someday, when I have enough books sold not to scare off potential editors, I might do a “craptastic poetry” entry or two on my blog. 😛

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