Friday, August 14, 2009

17 Again

I went to Erica's last night, and we (OK, fine....SHE) cooked dinner and we watched "17 Again." The movie stars Zac Efron (a.k.a. the hottie from "Hairspray" who is way too young for me), and the premise involves Zac Efron as an adult getting to go back to being his 17-year-old self and attend high school with his two teenaged kids (kind of like "Big," only not as classic).

This got me thinking about what it would be like if I could go back to being my 17-year-old self (like in the above picture, circa 2003). Granted, that was only 6-1/2 years ago, but it made me realize how far I've come since high school.

For example:

17-year-old Tracy
I was somehow under the illusion that I had an awesome relationship with my boyfriend at the time. We were "in love" and without-a-doubt going to end up together. During our junior year of high school, he revealed to me one fine afternoon that he'd cheated on me with this incredibly awful girl named 6 months prior! Ahhh, yes. A point for his honesty. And -10,000 points for his punk ass cheating on the one-and-only Tracy T! I cried for days about it, and what do ya know? All it took for that character to get back into my good graces was a poem and a couple "I'm sorrys." We spent the next year of our relationship fighting, with me bringing up the Jessie infidelity in probably 87% of every argument.

23-year-old Tracy
I've had my heart broken in the worst ways, and while this has made me incredibly sad at times, it has also thickened my skin to the point where I feel so much more confident in my relationships. I'm nowhere near where I want to be, but the progress I've made after each gut-wrenching, nausea-inducing break up is invaluable. If I could go back to being 17, I would have kicked that prick to the curb way sooner! Probably even before the cheating confession. We had a myriad of problems from the get-go, which is kind of the drill when it comes to high school trysts. I've learned from my most recent relationship that if you have a deal-breaker of a problem and you break up, there's no going back or making things better the second, third, three-hundredth time around. I was WAY into the last guy I dated (think that lovely four-letter word starting with "L"). He, on the other hand, was NOT feeling me in the same way. I think his exact words were, "I'm not sure if the love I have for you is for a girlfriend or a friend. Oh, and you also remind me of my sister." (Insert another mix of four-letter words here, namely ones that begin with "S" and "F"). I could have continued dating him because we always had a good time together, no fighting, no overt problems. But there was that voice inside my head telling me that if someone is unsure if they are in love with me after 8 months, it's high time to pack my bags and jet like a bat outta Hades.

My high school BF obviously embodied everything wrong in a relationship (cocky, dishonest, unfaithful, guilt-tripping, name-calling, etc.), but I was so naive and a pushover that it took me way too long to stand up for myself (speaking of which, true story: my dad told me he'd pay me $50 to tell my high school boyfriend to "go f*** himself." I did it. Several times. Where's the cash, Dad? Oh yeah....he did pay for my college, so I shouldn't complain).

Overall lesson learned: Dump the zeros so as to make room for the heroes.

17-year-old Tracy
My best friend Christina and I have been tight ever since middle school. She and I are both nerds to the core and adore Harry Potter. Not to mention, we made up some kick ass dance routines to Ace of Base while messing around during school play practice. At 17, I don't think I valued her as much as I do now. I saw every close girlfriend as my competition - competing for male attention, better grades, getting into the best school, the best dress for the homecoming catch my drift. Everything was a race - I remember even feeling triumphant when I bought the new Britney Spears CD before Christina did. Why all of the competition and jealousy?

Well, it didn't help that Christina and I were both very wrapped up in our boyfriends at 17. We were both interested in joining the debate team, but at the last minute, Christina backed out because she said she was too busy with other commitments. And what do ya know, I happened to stop by a local high school that was holding debate tournaments, and who do I see coming out of the competition? Christina and her new partner, Amie! Ahh yes...that was a nice blow. But I guess I deserved it because I stole Christina's boyfriend Bryan in 8th grade (oh, and how that little fruitcake was so not worth the fighting). All I know is that she and I had issues in high school despite our close friendship.

23-year-old Tracy
There is not a good thing that happens to Christina that doesn't make me 10 times happier. Seeing her succeed and live her dreams is the ultimate, and I can't think of a recent time when I didn't wish anything less than good things for her. She is way ahead of the game (more so than me, I'd say): she's a medical student, she's been with her boyfriend for a number of years in a healthy, stable relationship (what the hell is that like?), she actually knows what it's like to live with a guy successfully, she is well traveled and she was recently crowned Miss Nevada! I cried when she won because I've been attending almost every pageant of hers for the last 6 years (or at least the ones I could attend - she's competed a lot on the east coast as well).

So basically, her happiness is my happiness. I don't begrudge her or feel jealous when good things come her way. Wouldn't I expect the same from my best friend?

Overall lesson learned: There are only a rare number of friends we will carry with us for the rest of our lives, so don't let petty, irrelevant things jeopardize this. (Two of my best friends below, Amie - yes, the "other" woman at the debate tournament - Christina and me at the 2009 Miss Nevada Pageant in Reno).

17-year-old Tracy
OK, so technically I was 18 when this happened, but I thought this was a really good example of self-reliance. During my freshman year of college at the University of Oregon, I thought I'd overdosed on - you guessed it - Vitamin C. While most of my classmates were toking it up in their rooms or popping Aderalls left and right in order to stay up and study, I was tricked into taking too much Vitamin C and Zinc from my BF at the time in order to combat the cold I thought I was catching.

Now, a little background here. I used to have a major case of emetophobia. This is the fear of throwing up, and yes it's real (it's actually one of the Top 10 most common phobias). I'm not as bad as I used to be, but during freshman year, my fear was in high gear (wow, that was a lot of rhyming). So after popping a few too many of each pill, I freaked out and called my parents. Bad idea. My dad called Poison Control and told me I'd be fine. (He later told me out of spite after I snapped at him that P.C. had actually told him I might throw up. Thanks, Pop). I was fine, but it sure gave me a scare.

23-year-old Tracy
While I may have 4 different types of hand sanitizer in my purse, I'm not going to be on an episode of A&E's "Obsessed" anytime soon. I think college taught me how to rely on myself and my own resources before resorting to the panicked parental call. I now stop and think about how I can best solve something, and if I'm in need of further advice or insight, I tend to call my parents in a more relaxed state. A lot less freak outs and panic attacks these days, not to mention I no longer need to use my membership for the online International Emetophobia Society (yes, I was a member at one point). I still call my parents often because they mean the world to me, but it's safe to say I no longer need adult supervision when it comes to my pill intake. I took my multivitamin this morning and feel just fine.

Overall lesson learned: It's a thrilling experience when your mom and dad slowly transition out of the "parenting" stage and you no longer need them to hold your hand when you cross that metaphorical street. But that doesn't mean you don't want them right by your side when you do cross.

In sum, I'm very happy with how I've turned out so far as a young adult. I think the melodrama was fun while it lasted, but being a grown up is so much better! I have more meaningful relationships, my friends are my best allies and there's nothing I love more than feeling proud when I accomplish something all by myself.

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