I loved and hated being a teenager.
There was puberty…that wasn’t exactly “fun” (especially since I didn’t even reap the typical benefits of being prepubescent, AKA boobs and butt). Drama, gossip, and mean girls became a part of my day-to-day reality, and navigating that was a sometimes tear-inducing journey. At the same time, it was the beginnings of growing up, and the start of discovering myself. I made some of my best friends, fell head over heels for boys, began the roller coaster ride of dating, experimented with (questionable) style, had giggly, dance-themed slumber parties in my bedroom, got my first cellphone, and thoroughly enjoyed just being a teenage girl.
In honor of all the wonderful things about being a teenager, I thought I’d look back and recap some of my favorite things from age 13 to 18. Everything from clothing trends, to popular bands, from my first job, to the kinds of guys I liked. So, throw on your high top sneakers, get out your Razr phone, and let yourself be transported back to the mid-2000s!
1. Betsey Johnson – Okay, so I still love the occasional Betsey piece (her jewelry is so costumey and fun!), but in high school I was straight up obsessed. I owned a ridiculous amount of Miss Betsey’s jewelry (with cats, rabbits, hearts, cupcakes, cherries, teletubby looking creatures…you get the idea), and only ever wore Betsey dresses when attending any sort of dance. I spent several paychecks on my white and pink, cupcake-y, sequined Betsey Johnson prom dress – in fact, I still own, and occasionally try to squeeze into, the uber girly ensemble.
2. Aviator sunglasses – For the longest time I was convinced I had the wrong sort of face for sunglasses (whatever the hell that means) until the aviator trend came to full fruition. I wore these silver sunglasses everywhere – they were my ticket into the land of fashionable eyewear.
3. Myspace – Before Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram there was the exotic, soon-to-be-extinct dinosaur called Myspace. My friends and I were all obsessed. I spent hours designing my page, finding the perfect song to play in the background, and color coordinating all of my text. This was also around the time that having a perfect profile picture became imperative.
4. Cellphones! – I didn’t get my first cell until I was a sophomore in high school. That’s practically unheard of these days. My cousin had a phone at age 7 – SEVEN! Anyhow, my first phone was a hot pink Razr and I adored that stupid piece of crap. I thought it was sooo rad that it’d fit in my back pocket. And it was sooo cool that it flipped open. Ha. My iPhone is laughing at me right now.
5. Victoria’s Secret Pink – Due to my extreme lack of curves, I found it rather difficult to shop at the original Victoria’s Secret. Their younger, cuter brand – Pink – on the other hand was like lingerie heaven for 17 year old me. There were over-the-top adorable underwear, bras made for mosquito bite sized boobies, and cute, fleecy sweatpants that were perfect for a high school athlete (I ran track and cross-country). In fact, I loved Pink so much that I got a job at Victoria’s Secret and spent every single paycheck on rainbow panties and bras in every color and style (when I stopped working there – after several years – I owned over 50 bras…ironic now, seeing as I don’t wear one these days). I’m actually still pretty obsessed with the Pink brand – I own lots of the sweatpants (which I think are adorable and super comfy), their plain tee-shirts come in fun colors, and – of course – their undergarments are fabulous (side-note: my biggest issue with Vicky’s is their lack of sizes; my hope is that they’ll sell a larger variety of sizes ASAP). I still love Pink, but my obsession first began when I was a teenager trying to make my boobs look bigger.
6. My first serious crush – Oh my gosh I get a little flushed and flustered just thinking about the first guy I was genuinely attracted to (physically, emotionally, and mentally). I was 16 and working one of my very first jobs as a sales associate at Forever 21. He was several years older than me, very fashionable, and he was so freakin’ cool. His hair…it was like beautiful, dark brown brambles, spilling into his eyes and around his face. He wore black-rimmed glasses, argyle sweaters, and carried a man purse (but a stylish, manly one!). Oh goodness, and his smile. It was magical. I was crazy about him. Everyone I knew hated working at Forever – we were paid minimum wage, dealt with obnoxious shoppers, and had to stay until 2 or 3 AM every single night. But I loved it. I followed my gorgeous, well-dressed dreamboat around like a bumbling puppy. I grew pouty and mopey when my shift came to a close. Oh he was gorgeous. My best girlfriend didn’t get it, neither did my mom when I pointed him out one day when she stopped by the store. But holy moly I thought he was the one. For years after my several month stint at Forever 21, I was only attracted to men in sweater vests with messy, curly hair who smelled like rainy days and patchouli.
7. For the longest time I kept this next obsession a dirty little secret. Only my close friends knew about my addiction, and for years after I graduated high school, I didn’t tell anyone about it. What was it? I was fanatical about anime and manga. I’m not sure why I was so embarrassed about it for so long – I guess it was kind of nerdy at the time? I don’t know, these days I love telling people about my high school hobbies of reading manga and watching anime. Hell, I still think the artwork is adorable and I adore anything by Studio Ghibli. But in high school, anime and manga were my favorites. My bookshelves overflowed with manga (the books), and I was constantly buying new anime (the shows/movies/film). My walls were plastered with posters from my favorite shows, and I had stuffed animal versions of all my favorite characters. It’s been one of my dreams to cosplay as Nurse Witch Komugi, and you’d better believe that – someday – I’m going to make my 15 year old self proud and make/wear that costume!
8. Music - Two of my favorite bands as a teenager were Hellogoodbye and Boys Like Girls. Hellogoodbye had such a unique sound, and an endearing, energetic, adorable vibe that really spoke to my cutesy, goofball, teenage self. I remember posting lyrics from Boys Like Girls (Hero/Heroine, Thunder, On Top of the World), as my away message on IM (remember that?!). I actually just put on an old Boys Like Girls album and I feel 16 again, like I'm wearing braces and daydreaming about having a boyfriend.
What were your teenage obsessions?? I strongly recommend reminiscing about them - it's both humorous and heartwarming.