IMG_2770I was not a nice teenager.

In fact, it could probably be said that I was a wee bit scary.

On top of the usual teenage stuff – like, rebelling against my parents and experimenting with drugs and alcohol and boys – I also had an extra-special helping of anger woven into my teen spirit.

I was pissed at my parents for divorcing; my mom for remarrying; and at the world in general when I was plucked out of the comfortable bubble that had been my life for 13 years and plopped into a whole new universe. My new home may have been only an hour south from where I’d grown up but it seemed light years away from everything that I had known up until then.

I seethed. I skulked. I acted out.

The only things that I’m thankful for about that period in my life are that A. I survived and B. There was no Facebook back then to document it all.

(There truly is an upside to growing up in the Eighties besides knowing all the words to the “Like a Virgin” album.)

I’d really rather forget the heavy eye makeup, questionable clothing choices and terrible attitude I sported in the early-to-mid-80s. Really, I cringe just thinking about the Flashdance-inspired ensembles and my big, Jersey Girl hair; my defiant cigarette smoking and sneaking my high school boyfriend in through my bedroom window late at night.

But the Universe has managed to have the last laugh because, as the mother of four kids, I’ve now had the opportunity to be on the other side of teen angst.

It’s scary, y’all.

At one point, three of my kids were teenagers simultaneously and it was probably one of the most harrowing periods of my life since it happened to coincide with the end of my marriage. That provided more drama than a month’s worth of  “General Hospital” episodes. Luke and Laura had nothing on us, yo.

Recently, the oldest daughter of a guy I’ve been dating turned 13 and while on the outside I was all, “Mazel tov, that’s great,” all I could think in my head was, “You poor motherfucker.” Really, the only thing more brutal than a 13-year-old girl would be twin 13-year-old girls. The government should figure out a way to harness all that angst and eye rolling to use as a weapon of mass destruction or some shit. That could really do some damage.

Pretty much the only time teenagers are amusing is when they’re not your own, which is why I got a kick out of Sasha and Malia Obama’s recent appearance at the annual turkey pardon headed up by their dorky dad. Their bored postures, crossed arms and the stony looks on their faces were pure teen evil genius. They were barely putting up with the whole charade – their dad laughing at his own corny jokes – and practically ran out of the room when it was over.

Credit: White House / Via

Credit: White House / Via

I mean, who has not been in a public situation with her own child and not wanted to reach over and throttle both the kid and the kid’s shitty attitude? And this is not counting all the times that you’ve wanted to commit a teen-directed homicide in the privacy of your own kitchen.

So I was surprised when I heard that a GOP staffer, one Elizabeth Lauten, took a swipe at the Obama girls’ turkey pardon performance, suggesting on Facebook they show “a little class” and perhaps “Dress like (they) deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.” Ouch.

I mean, wow, she went there. It’s like Lauten, the communication director for a southern Republican congressman, had forgotten for a moment what it was like to be a teenager. What it was like to behave in a way that might be regretted years later. What it’s like to, say, get caught shoplifting when you were not much older than Malia, which according to Smoking Gun, is what happened when Lauten was 17.

It’s probably safe to say that a lot of us would rather forget some of the things that happened during our teen years. And man, I’m glad I’m not president because I don’t even know what people like Lauten would make of some of the outfits my daughters have come downstairs wearing or the withering looks my older son has cast in my direction. She would not be impressed.

It’s hard enough to be a teen much less have to grow up under the 24/7 news microscope. The Obama girls should be left alone to work through wearing skirts that are way too short the way the Bush girls dabbled in underage drinking. It’s all a part of growing up.

I did it. My kids did it. We all did it.

I’m just glad my shenanigans never turned up on anybody’s news feed.

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10 thoughts on “Those Awful Teen Years

  1. Amy~ Once again, you have said it all…and then some. I relate to every paragraph, and having survived divorce, the teen years, divorced dating and the like, I applaud you!

  2. Two things. First, you were nice in high school. Second, I don’t like OBAMA (surprised right?) But I don’t think the girls did anything wrong. Imagine being put in that position. Even obummer looked like he thought it way stupid.

    • First, you’re too kind. Second, I know. I even felt bad for Señor Bush when his girls got busted for buying booze. Looks like rational people can see past politics when it comes to realizing that kids will be kids. 😉

  3. My twin girls turned 13 two weeks ago. I’m on the verge of
    A) a nervous breakdown
    B) a stroke
    C) a crystal meth addiction (if I knew where to get or what to do with crystal meth)

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