Adolescence: The Reality

By: Galilea Oregon

As a little girl, I fantasized about my high school years. I dreamt about the pretty clothes. I yearned for the freedom and happiness of becoming a teen. I wanted the cliche “High School Musical” experience.

Once I finished middle school I realized that there would not be any “High School Musical” experience. It was all a fantasy to keep us away from the fact that high school would be a grueling and stressful four years of blood, sweat, and tears before we entered the “real world”.  I laid in bed all summer long dreading September 1st. I distracted myself, watching movies about angsty teens smoking cigarettes on rooftops at night wearing old thrifted clothes. I wanted to emulate that same angered and tired persona. I wanted to wear all black and roll my eyes at everyone and talk about “deep stuff”. I wanted my life to be like Palo Alto or Heathers.

But that’s not what high school is about either. It’s not about hating everyone and kicking your feet up onto your desk in the back of the classroom. And it isn’t necessarily a romantic, perfect four years of enjoyment either. Now that I’m here, I’m realizing that high school is going to be a crazy, dysfunctional, yet lovely experience sprinkled with memories of staying up late with best friends.  

There’s a quote floating around Tumblr that I decided to copy into one of my beaten up journals as a reminder that always brings me back to the reality of being a teen:


“Your life is not an episode of Skins. Things will never look quite as good as they do in a faded, sun-drenched Polaroid; your days are not an editorial from Lula. Your life is not a Sofia Coppola movie, or a Chuck Palahniuk novel, or a Charles Bukowski poem. Grace Coddington isn’t your creative director. Bon Iver and Joy Division don’t play softly in the background at appropriate moments. Your hysterical teenage diary isn’t a work of art. Your room probably isn’t Selby material. Your life isn’t a Tumblr screencap. Every word that comes out of your mouth will not be beautiful and poignant, infinitely quotable. Your pain will not be pretty. Crying till you vomit is always $%!*. You cannot romanticize hurt. Or sadness. Or loneliness. You will have homework, and hangovers and bad hair days. The train being late won’t lead to any fateful encounters, it will make you late. Sometimes your work will suck. Sometimes you will suck. Far too often, everything will suck – and not in a Wes Anderson kind of way. And there is no divine consolation – only the knowledge that we will hopefully experience the full spectrum – and that sometimes, just sometimes, life will feel like a Coppola film.”


It’s a bittersweet thing, high school. I’m growing up and realizing that, yes, my life will never be a Charles Bukowski poem, but I look forward to these four years of self discovery through trial and error, and I will always dream of Coppola film moments.


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