Sunday, November 1, 2009

Television, magazines, books, our own mothers and grandmothers have always led us to believe that our 20’s are the years to look forward to and the years we will most fondly remember. We grow up with the idea that on our 20th birthdays we will be given a lounge chair next to the fountain of youth, upon which we’ll sip brightly colored cocktails in our spare time, tiny designer bikinis stretched across our impossibly tight bodies, surrounded by our fabulous, beautiful friends. Oh I couldn’t wait to start dancing my way through clubs and bars in ridiculously high red-soled stilettos. It was my time to weave through crowds of gorgeous men at parties where the walls eternally vibrated with laughter and the chords of my favorite songs.

Well, I went to sleep on my 19th birthday with all my fingers and toes crossed and the only things I woke up with were a spare 20 pounds and a penchant for binge drinking. Much like my early teen years, my 20’s have been full of as many breakouts as breakthroughs, as much crying as laughter and many more embarrassed moments than comfortable ones. I have spent much more time asking my girlfriends why no one ever told us about “your second puberty,” than I have sipping cocktails near any kind of fountain. Every other day I find myself discovering a new uncomfortable facet of womanhood and I wonder why they don’t write about any of them in women’s magazines. As I near the end of this confusing, frustrating and very overwhelming decade I realize more and more that our 20’s are nothing but a rollercoaster ride - and I think I would have at least held down my lunch had I known what was coming.

We live in a time when expectations are higher than ever (as are hemlines,) the standards we set for our own happiness are lower (as is our self esteem,) and we’re supposed to pretend that gracefully balancing a career, relationships, children, a tri-athletes fitness regime and a raw-food diet is easy. We’re only ever told about the moments of excitement and anticipation- the parts of the rollercoaster where you feel weightless and on top of the world. Everything we’ve previously turned to for guidance fails to prepare us for those moments on the rollercoaster when you feel inside out and out of control. We find ourselves overwhelmed and exhausted - as if we must have done something wrong or perhaps gotten on the wrong ride at the wrong carnival. We end up at war with ourselves and each other, feeling blind-sided, unarmed and over-exposed. And why wouldn’t we? Nobody wants to ride a rollercoaster blind-folded and naked without so much as a protective harness or padded metal bar!

At the tail end of a decade full of ups and downs, I’ve started to wonder if the motion sickness would have been eased had television and movies been a even a tiny bit realistic, or had the women in my life used a little more candor. After all the roads I’ve traveled alone, all the nights I’ve spent awake wishing someone would tell me what I’m supposed to do next, I can’t help but think that maybe the answers are somewhere in the stories we’ve been too afraid to tell each other for too long. I can’t help but think that if we are more honest with each other about stumbling through the wrongs, we all might start to feel right again.

And so my blog is born…

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