Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Savannah...

I have a beautiful fledgling writer who I love dearly. She was never a student of mine, but in the end, she became mine anyway. I have decided to publish her here on my Big Girl Blog. You will love her instantly. And, if you have any advice for this girl, struggling to find her way through those teenage years, please post. I will forward them on to her since she's actually not allowed to BE on my Big Girl Blog until she's 18. (Right, Savannah?) My words of wisdom are posted beneath.


Fourteen going on Forty.

Typical is not a word to use for me. I'm definately not your typical fourteen year old girl. Yes, I may look my age, but looks mean nothing.

I hate my age. I hate it. I hate it. Being fourteen is horrible! I'm still living in my parents' house. Living for, and to, their standards. Following their rules. Doing what they want me to do... Does it end? Can't I be in college? Or even beyond that, starting a career and trying to make myself sucessful? Can't I be my own person? Do the things I feel are right? No. No, of course not.

You can't speed up time.
You can't slow it down.
You have to go along with it until you die.

And who, may I ask, set that stupid rule up? No one other than God, of course. Now, don't get me wrong, I believe in Him, I praise in Him... But, I'd assume like most, I just don't understand Him. He put me here and gave me everything I have. Shouldn't that be enough? Not at all. Deep down it is, but I'm always left wanting more.

No matter what I do. I want to be forty years old! Not really, but at least in my twenties. Where I can make up my own rules. Where I can start my own life. Where I can be me, not what everyone else wants me to be. Yes, that sounds typical, but I mean that more serious than ever before. Most all of the other kids will tell you that they are ready to be adults, and that they wish they were older so they could do 'whatever they want...' But that's not what I am asking for at all.

I know I won't be able to 'whatever' I happen to feel like. I know I can't just go out and be somebody. I know, God do I know, I have to earn it. I don't expect things to be given to me. They have never really been. Yes, I'll admit, I am spoiled by my parents. They buy me things. They give me things. They give me love and food and shelter. But when it comes to 'things', I have to earn it.
"Mom, can I have $10 to do ________?"
"What are you going to do to get it?"
"That's what I thought."

I mean. I don't get handed everything! My parents are poor. We live in poverty. It seems everyone makes more money then my mom and stepdad combined! I don't wear Hollister or Abercombie. No way in hell, do I wear Ralph Lauren or Marc Jacobs. I wear Wal*Mart clothes. Hand-me-downs. Most all of my nice things come from my aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Like I said before though, looks mean nothing. But I'm just trying to make a point.

I want to go out in the world and work my way to the top. Show that a small town--- yes I live in Nampa, which is big for Idaho, but I'm talking the whole world here-- girl can make it big. How? I want to be nothing more than an English teacher, which, we all know don't make big money... But I can still make it big. I can effect the lives of the youth, our future. Hopefully, when I'm a teacher, students can walk out of my classroom different than what they came in. They can have a new perspective on life and be ready for what ever life brings in store from them.

Now, can one see my as different? Or do I still fit under that horrific stereo type as the typical teenager?

I could say more... But do I need to?

Oh I don't know. Maybe I am typical.

Words of Wisdom for My Girl...

Wow. Wow. Wow. OK. Goodness gracious, let me get the mechanics of your writing out of the way before we start talking about life. In the two pieces I've read now, I'm loving the way your writing circles. What I mean by that is, you end in a way that is very similar to how you start. You "circle back around" so to speak. This is very clean and effective. Your voice is spectacular. Having first-hand experience with 14 year olds, you're atypical in that you don't use the word, "LIKE" fourteen million times in your writing, and hopefully not in your speaking. I'll give you one or two every once in a while, but no more. "LIKE" makes you... like, not seem... like... you know... like SMART or anything. And uh... yeah. (That's my favorite: "uh... yeah." It makes me want to hurt somebody.) This piece flows. You make yourself completely understood quite easily and strike upon another universal theme--especially among teens--which is wanting to speed up the process of growing up and conquer that beast we call TIME! Shakespeare had a love/hate relationship with time and wrote about it a lot. Several sonnets he devoted to that very subject. Anyway, this begs the question, who is your audience, Miss Savannah? Teens? Adults? Anyone? Try to answer this question before you begin. Be clear in your own mind about who you are talking to without saying, "This piece is for teenagers..." or "This piece is for the adults who torture me..."

Now for the content. Lovie! Let me lay this out for you so we're both on the same sheet of music here--you being 14--me being 43 this month. Your teens can be rough, and everyone thinks their journey is the roughest. However, all it takes to correct THAT delusion is to LOOK AROUND! And be continually GRATEFUL for all that you have that other teens don't. If we all put our problems in the middle of the table, you'd probably grab your own right back out again, right? After that, let me be the first to tell you--your 20s suck. You don't have a WHOLE lot of respect from the world because... well, let's face it. You're 20. What do you know? Not much. Life actually starts looking pretty good about 30. Especially for women, the decade of their 30s is MUCH better than their 20s. Why? Well, in a woman's 20s, she's usually all about OTHER people. Lots of girls get married and have small children in their 20s and life never really seems to be about HER--but about doing what she needs to do for other people. Her husband, her children, her job, her church... the list of needing machines is LONG in a girl's 20s. This isn't necessarily a bad thing--it just IS. She's the GLUE! It's not a bad thing being the GLUE! It definitely has its perks. But by the time she's 30, she wakes up, sits up in bed and looks at her husband drooling on her pillow, smacks him in the arm and says--with authority, mind you--"I'm TIRED! Go make me a SANDWICH!" And he DOES! For the next DECADE he does! It's FANTASTIC! Her children are older and more self-sufficient. She can concentrate on herself a little more. A massage. A pedicure. A night out with the girls. It's divine. Her 40s are even better because she has more money. I have nothing to say about the 50s because I'm not there yet, but Madonna, Cher, Tina Turner, and Oprah don't seem any worse for it. I think my 50s will bring grandchildren into my life. I can squeeze them, buy them things, cuddle with them, and still sleep ALLLLLLLLL NIGHT! Who wouldn't love THAT, right? So, my darling, you're certainly aiming for the right decade. Your fabulous 40s.

But here's what I'm coming to realize more and more about the "getting there." I can't leap tall buildings in a single bound. I'm not faster than a speeding bullet or a train. Life cannot be barreled through with no regard to "The Power of Now." In fact, we are not promised tomorrow. No one, Savannah, NO ONE knows whether or not she'll even be here. Not one of us. This is a sobering thought. Yes, I've arrived at a very wonderful place in my life. It took many steps to get here. If I were able to simply LEAP to this place, then guess what? I'd be living my life in my 40s, but I'd still be 14 in my own head and even MORE frustrated in a world I could never navigate through because I just don't have the life experience. It sounds trite to say that I needed every experience before this one so that I could be successful in THIS experience right now, but it is true none-the-less.

Be grateful. You're lucky. Some people remain tethered to their pasts and do not develop as they should. Some people really ARE 14 year olds living in 40 year old lives. Due to some traumatic or debilitating event from their past, they have not matured how they should, and now they have bills they don't know how to pay, children they don't know how to raise, and relationships that remain broken because they have no clue how to fix them. They are fragmented people. YOU, my darling, are about as authentic and sincere a young lady as I've ever seen. And I'm not going to add that ever-patronizing phrase, "...for a girl your age."

Let me caution you, my love. Your very ANGST at being this age will be the very thing that will strap you to it. Read that line again. Read it ten times. Your ANGST at "now" will inhibit your development, as surely as I type this. Here's the lesson: If you cannot be content at 14, then how will you know how to be content at 15? How will you figure out how to be happy with "now" at 16? 17? 20? 30? 40? 100? Happiness and gratitude are never, never, never, NEVER for the future. These are gifts God has given us TODAY! Not this afternoon, not this evening... but right now. Take a little inventory, sista. You have a HUGE list of things right in this moment to be so grateful for, and think on THESE things. Your beautiful property. Your parents are poor how? Money in the bank? That just equals free money for college for you. No big deal. Look at that beautiful place you live on. All those animals. That beautiful landscape. That river that flows through your property. Sean-Martin wants to live on land with a river that runs right through it. Basically, we want what you already have. What I would have given for a mom and dad like yours. Uber cool--most days--you have to admit.

At the end of this year, I will have a journal with every page filled out with what I've done. An entry for each and every day in 2009. I've never done that before. I will be able to hand it in its entirety to whomever I please as one book. One life. But you know what it took to create that? I had to show up and put a pen to it every day. Every single, solitary day. That's like your life, Savannah. At the end of it, you will have made a beautiful life--one that you can hand back to God and say, "I did it. I did everything I was supposed to do on this earth." But in order for that to happen, you have to show up to it every day understanding how each day is critical to your whole life. Today. Right now. This moment. You cannot have the next moments without the one you're in. And what will you take with you from THIS moment into the next? There's always something...

Find it.

Right now.

And one more thing: "Don't let anyone [including you] look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

I found that in the Bible. Uhhh.... yeah.