I've had pneumonia for the past few days so I've been unable to torture myself with the usual bootcamp 6am ritual. Instead, I've been taking my dog for early morning walks to the dog park and late afternoon walks to delude myself into thinking I'm working out. There are lots of nice places to walk to in Culver City so its usually a relaxing walk.
It was during one of these walks the other day that I encountered the only thing that's ever really made me wish I was Mexican...other than Telenovelas and Gael Garcia Bernal. Okay, maybe tacos, too. It was a real QUINCIAÑERA party! We are talking the big gown, the mariachi band outside, the limo, the attendants (which are like quinciañera bridesmaids), the flowers, the big cake, the very tacky party that accompanies it. You don't understand though, this is the first time that girls have these huge parties in their honor where everyone not only dotes on them, but gives them money! Its like a pre-wedding wedding - except the person you marry is yourself!
It's kind of genius! Not only do people give you gifts and celebrate all of these feminist ideals of you becoming a woman and finally can stay out a little later and even date, but they also reward you by giving you money! Its a whole day, dedicated to how awesome you are.
So you know what, this year, I'm having a double quinces -solo wedding. Yup. I'm going to go all Carrie Bradshaw and throw myself a party/solo wedding where I register for expensive shoes and a big dress...not like the one pictures, but you get the idea. Okay, so maybe I won't do that, but I did feel a strange sense of happiness and excitement for her. I crashed her service and sat in the back listening to the priest and the lecturers give her advice about becoming an woman.
That word, "woman" really stuck with me. Here this fifteen year old is getting anointed an adult and I, well, still consider myself a girl really.
I remember the first time someone referred to me as a "woman". When I got divorced I briefly dated someone who was a very good friend of mine in college. We were great together but timing was NEVER our thing. So I remember we went up to visit his parents and everything was really lovely and he made a comment about me being the "woman" he was dating. I was shocked. Woman? Woah there buddy. I know he didn't mean it to sound old, he was just being respectful, but it was the first time I'd ever heard anyone refer to me that way. It was bizarre. You spend your whole life trying to be an adult and then you get there and you wonder how you got there so quickly.
I wonder what i would say to my 15 year old self? Probably a lot of "it gets better, don't worry eventually you'll get along better with your mom, that guy you think is awesome is gonna be bald, that teacher you liked is never gonna date you, that dress will never be acceptable under any circumstances." Yeah, I would say all of those things to my fifteen year old self, but I'd probably think about a few more thoughtful things too like, "you're not fat, stop being stupid, don't date that asshole you're way too smart for him, don't think flirting will always get you what you want, your girlfriends really ARE gonna be around in some pretty dark times to come, your step dad is actually a pretty amazing guy, you're gonna have a shit ton of siblings and its gonna be awesome, your gonna do all the things you want and then some, you're gonna get married, you're gonna get divorced, your two big heart-breaks are gonna rip your heart out - don't try to be friends with them - its stupid, not everyone is gonna be around, but the important people - man - they keep coming back even when you royally fuck up. You'll meet new people who'll come into your life and be closer than you ever though. Just when you think it can't get worse, it does and then it gets better than you could ever imagine. Those are just a few of the things I'd tell my fifteen year old self. That and wax more.
My fifteen year old self would probably not listen to a word I just said, because she knows everything. However, she would lecture me on a few things I think as well. She'd tell me not to give up on love, because its everything. She'd tell me to not let anyone tell me I'm not good enough. She's tough, or at least she pretends to be. She'd tell me that I can surely flirt my way into and out of any situation, because she's a little feistier than I've become. She'd tell me to get a tattoo. She'd tell me to play my guitar more often. She'd tell me to write shitty love songs and short stories that no one will ever see just for me. She'd tell me to call more people and stay in touch not just on the computer. She'd tell me to take more pictures and make scrapbooks. She'd tell me to treat myself to more manicures. She'd tell me to be a little more selfish. She'd make sure I bought myself a nice pair of shoes. She'd tell me to take more chances, to not be so guarded. She'd tell me to do more karaoke and to sing in a cover band. She'd tell me that Rob Thomas will get divorced one day or I will find a musician that looks like him. She'd let me date a musician. She'd ask me if I ever became an actress now that I'm in Hollywood. She'd ask me how I ever lived so long in New York since I could never stand the cold. She'd ask me if I ever found my dad. She'd ask me I was happy.
I wish I could go back in time and hug my fifteen year old self because that little girl - man...she needed it. She would probably never let me, but I would anyway. I would make sure she knew that life was going to get crazy fun and sometimes just crazy.
When I think about it that way, I guess, yeah I'm a woman or whatever, but its still a weird word to say. I think I'm gonna stick with "girl" for as long as its not too ridiculous...
I tell you what though, I am very excited for what my 45 year old self will say to my 30 year old self. I have no idea what to ask except - I hope you're happy, I hope you never gave up on the things that make you laugh and sweat and cry. I hope you always find time for karaoke and dancing. I hope you didn't stop playing guitar. I hope you still flirt with strangers on the subway, even if its innocently. I hope your pillow smells like someone you love. I hope you jumped out of a plane, I hope you swam with sharks. I hope you've visited more than just three African countries. I hope you finally made it to Italy.