At Seventeen, Things Are Not Looking Up


Know that this whole blogging thing is difficult for me. I am a certifiable technophobe. That’s right. I’ve received certificates in the mail and everything, confirming what I’ve just said. I won’t scan them in for you, for I lack a scanner. Otherwise, I mean, I TOTALLY would. You’ve GOT to believe me.

Anyway, I thought the best way to crack open this Brand. New. Blogging. Me. was to revert to the past: recently, to both my delight, but mainly to my horror, I remembered the password to the DeadJournal account I kept in high school, under the username “IfIKnewPicasso,” (because I listened to the Counting Crows album August and Everything After like it might be my salvation. )

So, here we are; here we go. I present, below, an entry from December 29, 2002:

“Noah was in my car today and was telling me about this sad little old lady in Come Back Little Sheba who puts on a face of makeup and a fancy dress before she goes to sleep because she has nothing better to do..and no one else to do it for..and she’s lonely and pitiful. I just can’t help but think…if I can’t even get a boyfriend when i’m young and hopeful and have firm breasts, when will it happen? It’s incredibly depressing, really. I don’t want to end up a pitiful, lonely old woman. I just want to care about someone so intensely that I want to have them the rest of my life, and I want someone to care about me that way too. But, at seventeen, things are not looking up.”

Oh man. Seventeen-year-old self, I wish I could erase all of that strife, but, without it, you would be a different person. From my perspective now, it would be easy for me to say to you: RELAX. You’re SEVENTEEN. But, I remember how it felt at the time. Watching friends peel away from our core boyfriend-less group to become boyfriended and light-headed with love. But, perhaps, if you had had exactly what you sought then, you would take things for granted a bit more, like the love you now know. And this love was not necessarily easy to come by, but it never is. And that’s why you fight for the things that are important to you, for a time, and then you surrender to the fact that: it will happen when it happens.

Seventeen-year-old self, you’re going to be just fine. You’ll do some really dumb things, and you’ll hurt some people, and some people will hurt you, and you’ll spend the better part of your first year in college obsessing over a boy you consider to be ungodly-beautiful only to lose that boy to one of your best friends…but, that’ll be okay too. You’ll see that soon.

You’ll move to another country for a summer and feel that exact lightheaded rush you’ve heard about upon meeting a certain beautiful accented boy, and you’ll become entirely enamored and get lost inside your own wild heart and, when he goes away, and when you go away, you think you’ll never recover. But you will.

You’ll move to another state to live with a person you barely know based on a fantasy you have in your brain. You’ll want it to work–you’ve planned for it to work–but it won’t work, and it will hurt sorely for a little while, and then it will subside. But, still, you will have tasted this elusive, magical Thing you’ve sought, and you’ll, at least, have some writing fodder, and a feeling like you’ve finally joined some Club that doesn’t actually exist.

You’ll think you know what things are, but rarely are they That. I will say this to myself now, too. Maybe forever. I think I know what things are, but rarely am I right. This all sounds kind of vague and glossed-over, and maybe it is, but, well, I guess I’m trying to simplify this grander idea of change and expectation and plan and reality.

Even BLOGGING, which I was very reticent to do, is not what I thought it would be. I kinda like it, actually. Which is why I’ve come to write this far-too-long entry when I only intended a small paragraph or two to say hello!

So, Seventeen-Year-Olds, and Anyone, actually: maybe things aren’t looking up right now, and maybe they’re not looking up in a very real way, beyond this whole “getting a boyfriend” thing I experienced major consternation about in high school. But, trust me, at some point things (whatever your things are) will look up, and then they won’t, and then they will again–and so on. It’s just how it goes. But, you get to choose how you see it, and how you deal with it. So, maybe, don’t look up or down. Just look forward. (eep–getting cheesy over here. But, man, that’s just too damn bad.)




About kateellison

Author, artist, weirdo
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3 Responses to At Seventeen, Things Are Not Looking Up

  1. Donn Weinberg says:

    Kate, that was very well-stated. I believe it’s so true. Thanks for sharing your reflections.

  2. Maddie says:

    Amazing. how do you know so much about ‘md’?

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