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The Differences Between Fourteen Year Old Me, and Twenty-Six Year Old Me

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I’ve been re-watching a lot of old episodes of Freaks and Geeks with my Nick Andopolis/Sam Weir hybrid of a boy toy lately (all of the philosophical stoner wisdom of Andopolis without the clinginess, and the gentlemanly quality of Weir without the hairless pits– what more could a lady ask for?), and it’s got me all nostalgic for my years as a high school freshman at the second-worst high school in San Diego county. But besides no longer having to attend pep rallies and chant my underperforming high school’s extremely whiny motto, “No excuses! Get it done!” what has changed about me since my days as an awkward teenager? Let’s assess, shall we?

Finances: At 14, I had $758 in cash, saved diligently from various holiday grandma cards and neighborhood babysitting jobs, hidden in the back of a drawer in my bedroom. Now, I have less than that in my checking account. I’m starting to think that my peak wealth period already happened… back when the only thing that I wanted to spend my money on was low-rise denim mini skirts, and polo shirts from Nordstrom’s Brass Plum section at the mall. Accessorized with a salt-encrusted, piping-hot Wetzel’s pretzel, of course.

Romantic Interests: When I was 14, my ideal man was a brooding, hard-edged James Dean-type a la James Franco’s character on Freaks and Geeks. Now, my ideal man is Aziz Ansari.

Home: At 14, I had antique furniture in my room, a TV with cable, and a dog. Now in NYC, I have a mattress on the floor, Hulu, and a really hairy boyfriend who I feed leftovers to, and who sometimes licks my face when he gets over-excited. One thing’s for sure, though– no matter how old I get, I’ll always leave piles of dirty clothes on the floor (doing laundry is just so boring, am I right?).

Style: Freshman year of high school was all about the suburban San Diego chic look of short-shorts and oversized hooded skater sweatshirts. Now that I’m 26, I’ve accepted my fate as a future velcro-sandaled, frizzy-haired auditor of UC Berkeley Women’s Studies classes, and moved on to oversized muumuus.

Friends: My high school was disgustingly Conservative, so any poor soul who was gay didn’t dare come out to the Bible-totin’ student body for fear of the clouds parting, and Mandy Moore flying down from the Heavens, flappin’ her strap-on angel wings and singing “Candy” while trying to straighten them out. Now, I’ve found my place among the klassy-yet-ridiculous perfection of the gay bar happy hour scene.

Career Aspirations: When I was 14, I didn’t think far beyond getting into fake girl fights on trampolines in a desperate attempt to get attention from the older burnout boys down the block. I was on a one-way street toward caking my eyelashes with an entire tube of mascara and chain smoking my way to becoming the town floozy… until my Honors English teacher, Mr. Keller, saw beyond my raging daddy issues, recognized my gift as a spinner of tales, and urged me to work toward going to college for English. Little did he know that a little thing called a Quarter Life Crisis would derail me yet again, and I’d try on various ill-fitting hats such as: pretentious art snob, balloon animal sculptor, fashion industry bitch, belly dancer, and sloppy Gay Icon (nevermind– that hat actually dazzles atop my dome), before eventually coming full-circle and deciding to try my hand at this writing thing again. Although, I do still adore over-mascara-ing and trampoline-ing once in awhile.

Hobbies: Despite being an attention hungry horn-dog, 14 year old me also had a love of trivia, and was captain of the Quiz Bowl team at my high school. Back then, I could name every President in order, all of the capitals of the South American countries, and describe every stage of mitosis in great detail. Now, I can describe every episode of season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race in great detail.

In conclusion, I was smarter, richer, hormonal-ier, swimming in Wetzel’s Pretzels, and not living in a shithole when I was a teenager. Damn, my life was glorious– so why was I so annoyed at my mom all of the time? Maybe it’s because my life was lacking three really important things: hairy boyfriends, homosexual men, and muumuus. Like a fine wine, this thing really does get better with age, guys!

Photo credits: s-oh-s-ew, Booty Call Wednesdays


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Carrie Laven - Pretty Penniless

Carrie Laven - Pretty Penniless

Carrie Laven is a natural-born storyteller from California, but she
lives in New York now. She likes dogs, nail art, and Mexican food,
but mostly she likes scoring sweet deals at thrift stores. She tends
to have a flair for the dramatic.