I am currently visiting my mother at her new abode in CA, the state I grew up in- more specifically we're in the town I grew up in. It was such a different life and time then. To pass all of my old hang outs and friend's houses is uncomfortable and odd to me. When we left here we left quickly and with few goodbyes. I've been back one time since, but only to vacation in Disneyland... not to re-explore the town.
I half expect to ring the doorbells of all of my old friends and have them answer looking the same they did when I left. An older version of their sheltered, immature, Jr. High selves. The resurfacing of these old memories is weird. I was not nearly the same person I am today. I find it hard to believe that even a trace of the same values and beliefs I hold today could be found in the girl that lived here 5 years ago. (Well, maybe that's not entirely true).
I remember that girl being so concerned about the brand of her clothing and the products she styled her hair with. Obsessed with acrylic nails and her pursuit of them, dieting every day and working out all the time. I remember a girl who was 119lbs and "happy"... that everyone liked her that way. I remember someone who never thought about what she wanted, but what everyone else wanted for her, who they wanted her to be. It wasn't until her world was turned upside down that she grew some sort of a backbone and discovered free will. Passing my old middle school I recall prank phone calls, hot Cheetos's, long walks to friend's houses, elaborate Halloweens, countless, countless sleepovers. I see all the times I fought with the girls I called my friends, and the chaotic times when the pecking order within our group changed. I remember always being at the bottom of that pecking order, and doing everything in my power to be important to the girls who were so important to me. Sadly enough, it wasn't until attending High School (OUTSIDE of California) that I met some down to earth people who broke me (in part) of all of those bad habits. I met people who were interested in my thoughts, my ideas, theories about the world- not who designed my jeans.
It was refreshing, and now that I've seen what down to earth people are like, it's hard for me to come back and remember what a slave I was to social stigmas, trends, and 13 year old girls. Maybe this is all more bitter than sweet. Of course, I've not shaken all of those habits. I was born and bred with the idea that looks are everything, and whether it be right or wrong, I'll always carry some of that with me. I do feel blessed, however, to see how far I've come. Upon leaving this gorgeous city in gorgeous and green California I was completely disgusted with the Arizona home we acquired. It felt like a step-down... but now I realize how much of a step-up it really was (at least for me).
I have come far, I've come to realize that all the things valued here are superficial, and I feel blessed to have been exposed to other ways of the world- better ones- in my opinion. I wish I had known then what I know now... that my move between the 8th and 9th grade from my comfy home in California into the dry heat of Arizona would be, by far, the best thing that would ever happen to me, to date. Now, looking back on all of this, I wouldn't have it any other way.