Correction: Most days I feel 12.
I'm not 12.
Perhaps age really is a mere abstraction.
People say one should leave one's childhood insecurities behind. Get over adolescence! It happened two decades ago!
Intellectually, I know that's true. I know that the girl I was then is not remotely the woman I am now, in spite of the fact that I'm grateful for her help in getting me here. Intellectually, I know how far I've come and don't care what other people think. But blah, blah, blah, it's not always so easy. You know, these same people telling others to "Get over it!" were probably the captains of the school's cheerleading squad.
Sometimes it's too easy to return to being 12. Take HNG, for example. We had yet another encounter on the street Thursday night (one in a series of perhaps 20 similar encounters), a brief, "Hello, how are you?" "I'm fine, how are you?" "Fine, fine...the weekend's here," that resulted in nothing more than my racing up the stairs of my building, flitting and giggling and dancing round my living room, in true 12-year-old form. She's fun, she's energetic, she's wild and giddy, my 12-year-old self. She takes chances because she doesn't always realize the risk involved, and I love her for that.
But when I transform to my 12-year-old self, I must take the bad alongside the good. I must face my reality of crooked teeth and uncombed hair, hair that no amount of Aqua Net will make just right; corduroy culottes and matching vests; AAA training bras to adorn my AAA chest. I must face the reality that beneath her fearless exterior lies nothing but pure terror. Perhaps you've met this girl yourself, the one the boys dedicated the ugly song to, the one the girls mocked for her quirky fashion sense. The one sitting alone at the dance hall, the one no boys would kiss.
Sadly, my 12-year-old shell's a tough overcoat to shake.
So last night, over midnight Cosmopolitans at the Irish pub, I'm talking to T about HNG. "HNG's way out of my league," I say.
"Bullshit," he says. "You're way too self-deprecating, Tessa."
I won't argue that just as I won't argue the complimentary things T says about me. And I'll ignore the blatant contradiction of possessing both self-loathing and self-love. Perhaps self-deprecation is merely a survival tool. And it, like adolescence, sure makes for good short story material.