A Portrait of a Young Lady (Age 20)

img037That’s me at age twenty, what’s going on in my head, who the fuck knows. I seem kind of happy but I was probably worried about when some stupid French Canadian dude would call me on a rotary phone without an answering machine. Also it looks like was most likely trying to grow out a haircut which is the Groundhog story of my life and obviously had no issues with ironing clothes which remains the same a billion years years later. And if I do say so myself, I did rock the best eyebrows EVAR and too bad I didn’t have the technology back then to Instagram #demcaterpillars. They would have had twenty billion likes in the context of 1980s, #amirite #BrookeShields.

My daughter, Evangeline, is twenty and my new BFF from the Deep, Jessica, is the same age, both born in that industrious worker bee year of 1993.  Evangeline and Jessica are both off-the-charts smart in that way that modern children are: The wave of humanity that was born before 1980’ish have brains made of made with the consistency of moist popcorn and crusty cheese but the babies that came after that are intellectually embedded with industrial strength hard wire and that amazing expanding foam sealant, hence their ability to fix your remote control out of “closed caption” mode with their left hand whilst sexting their boyfriends with their right. I can’t even figure out which channel “Two Broke Girls” is on and if I did have a boyfriend, he would probably not want my calloused, gnarly hands near him. Those young hos sure know their way around the Shoppers Drugmart and Sephora in order to be all shiny and new, I am too goddamn lazy for all that, most of the time. However, both my 20-year-old mentors have convinced me to buy body butter in order to have soft skin, get bangs trimmed regularly, and actually brush the hair so it doesn’t shed every where. I have so much to learn from the youth, it’s just a matter of applying myself.

When I was twenty, I worried about boys, clothes, makeup, hair, my university education, in that order. There was no internet to educate or placate, and we, as a band of youth, didn’t really care about environmental issues and we didn’t have LOLCats or communicate in memes. We were a product of the plastic generation, we didn’t invent shit, that was the job of the Baby Boomer trail blazers, we tail-enders just went along with it and bought all the crap and then blithely rode the wave, until this happened:

Evangeline recently said to me straight up and in angst after reading all that Monsanto propaganda on the internet for the last couple of years:  “You ate all the GMOs that gave me asthma, eczema, and anxiety disorders.”

Me (always on the defensive): “But I only ate one Pop Tart ever in my life.”  I also ate a bazillion Cheetos and drank a milliton of Diet Coke when Aspartame first burst out of the rodeo, I am that old and that dumb. Ugh, who knew back then? She is absolutely right, I am arguably part of the worst, most feckless and mindless generation in the history of the human race, The Slackers suck balls.

The portrait of Evangeline at age 20 is that of a post-modern Rosie the Riveter out to change the world. I am just so relieved that somebody has a plan because I am way too lazy to even google what a GMO is…that wikipedia page? TL;DR.

And then there is the portrait of Jessica last Sunday night at work, her arse propped up on the Paint Dept drive thru fence, hovering over the tint machine, wearing plastic gloves and wielding a scraper, and whilst she gouges up the dried-up globs of colorant, you could totally see her mighty triceps at work. She is cleaning around the guts of the dispenser like a boss and then there is me, on the other side, spritzing a water bottle and just swirling magenta and yellow around with my bare fingers, creating “art” and then pretending it is makeup and smearing it on my face, wiping the rest orange bib. She yells at me: “FUCK KRISTIN! THIS IS NOT A JOB FOR YOU!”

They are the generation that will clean the mess and forge ahead. I do have some niblets wisdom to share but they are smarter than me as I am now and most definitely waaaaaay ahead of me when I was their age.

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and guide myself with my old lady smarts and then maybe I would have saved myself some grief. But whatever, everyone needs to learn from experience. It was a rocky road but it’s all good now, sort of. Or maybe I’m just used to the peril. But just for fun and blog fodder, if I had any wisdom for my younger self, I would send these pro-tips through the time machine:

1. About those boys that you waste so much time fretting over: Don’t worry so much if they call or not, you will forget most of their names anyway, I’m not even kidding. Remember that dude you dated at twenty? He was French and 3 inches shorter than you but that’s all you will even remember about him aside from his Jack Rabbit banging style. They will come and go, get used to it and for fucksake don’t get too attached.  You will have some good times and some wicked dry spells. Become more ambidextrous because that swirl and twirl thing you do with your right hand will get boring soon. Hey! Just had a million dollar idea: The Dildo of the Month Club! Stay stimulated by having a new vibrator in the mail every month. Genius. But like a true Slacker, I will do nothing about it.

2. Stay away from tequila. Every physical injury you will sustain is a direct result from tequila or shots or Jaegermeister. You will break your wrist, sprain your ankles tenfold, crack your tailbone, shave off your eyebrows (why did you do that?) and stub countless toes. You are so stupid and I can’t believe I still have to remind you to this day.

3. You know how babies and small children make you nervous? Guess what? Your maternal instincts will kick in and you will give birth to a girl and a boy. A million dollar family for you! You are actually going to be a kickass awesome mom because they will grow up to be smart, kind, and thoughtful young people who you actually like to have around. And it’s not because you got lucky, you cracked the code of effective parenting which is talking to them like they are smarter than you and not giving them a reason to rebel. So kudos to you. Your future self will be a great mom but! you will be a shit wife. Sorry about that.

4. You will have maybe 12 good hair days in your entire life. Maybe 14, tops. Sorry about that, too.

5. Thong underwear. Never even once. I’m begging you, do not pick up that Victoria Secret catalogue from the dentist office and start ordering lacy lingerie that you will never wear and will clutter your drawers and taunt you for years to come. LACY BRAS ARE ITCHY AND THONGS ARE NOT COMFORTABLE!

6. Brace yourself for Age 37. Your mojo goes on steroids. I can’t even tell you what to do because you are clearly out of your mind and you won’t listen anyway. Just a heads up is all and for godsake, wear at least some underwear when you are wearing a skirt. Oh my God.

7. You will maintain the brain of a 12 year-old pubescent boy which is awesome but you need to remember to stay out of the sun and take of your skin because you are going to become very vain about maintaining your youthful appearance. Fucking Botox is expensive! I know you don’t even know what that is yet but trust me, you better start a fund for that now because it’s 12 dollars a unit and you need at least 25 on your elevens. You will know what sort of math fuckery I am talking about in due time. Too bad Dr. Singh is married because he would have been a good catch. STOP SQUINTING, BITCH!

8. You know how in high school you got in trouble for drawing dirty cartoons in math class? This sort of subversive behaviour will be a constant in your life. You will find your voice and say things out loud that maybe you shouldn’t. This will lead to much embarrassment and cringe memories that will keep you up at night. But you can’t stop or shut up, it’s like some giddy force is compelling you to write a blog that reveals all your secret thoughts and share them over the internet for all to read. I do not know what is wrong with you but keep up the good work.

In the end, little ho, you don’t need to fret so much. You have a good family and you will make very good friends and keep some of them you have already have. Yes, you will be misunderstood by some people but don’t worry about them. They are the ones who when they read “Animal Farm” in high school thought it was a story of talking barnyard pigs, not a satyrical allegory of the Russian Revolution. Haters gonna hate and fuck ’em if they can’t take joke. But for the most part, you will find love and support from your close peeps and even some strangers from far way places in the deep, dark internet. Remember this always: You is kind, you is smart, you is important.

5 responses »

  1. Another solid post and a good read. If I could go back and talk to myself at age 20 I would probably keep it to: everything your afraid of is worthy of fear but you really need to get it through your head that this is a one time deal, stop being afraid!

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