One of my favorite people in the whole wide world is a 14-year-old-girl (let’s call her “L”). “L” makes me feel special. She tells me I’m pretty. She tells me she wishes she were “classically pretty”. She tells me she wishes her teeth were whiter. She tells me she wishes her hair was longer. She tells me she wishes she was thinner.
When I was her age, I wished a lot too. When I was her age, I wished I was somebody else.
I wished I was somebody pretty. Somebody with thinner thighs, bigger boobs and longer hair. Somebody with clearer skin, whiter teeth and, preferably, blue eyes. I wished I was somebody with style. Somebody who wore size zero jeans and who could share clothes with friends. Somebody who won “best dressed” and never wore the same thing twice. I wished I was somebody who all the guys liked. Somebody who won homecoming queen and who was asked to the prom. Somebody who had a boyfriend and who exchanged love notes. I wished I was somebody fancy. Somebody who drove a nice car and carried a designer purse. Somebody who wore high heels and Tiffany jewelry. I wished I was somebody popular. Somebody who didn’t ever have to make outgoing calls or send the first text. Somebody who was invited to all the cool parties and who was greeted with cheers as she walked in the door.
When I was her age, I wished I was somebody else. I spent so much time wishing to be somebody else, that I never really enjoyed being me. Today, I enjoy being me (for the most part), but I still do a lot of wishing — albeit a different kind of wishing. I wish I could tell my 14-year-old self not to wish her life away — instead to hug her dad tightly and to share her feelings with her mom. I wish I could tell her how fantastic she is — and I wish the same things for “L”. I wish she could understand how special she makes me feel just by being herself, exactly as she is.
My dad used to say “wish in one hand and spit in the other — see which one gets full first.” I never understood what he meant until now. I wish I could tell him I finally get it.