Sweet Sixteen

the girl, the guy and the geek

One of my favorite movies when I was young was Sixteen Candles. 

It was a sweet high school love story about a shy and awkward sophomore girl (played by Molly Ringwald) who was secretly in love with a popular senior guy (who was played by this hottie whose name escapes me at the moment).  To complete the triangle was a geeky freshman (Anthony Michael Hall) who in turn had the hots for Molly Ringwald’s character. 

Molly Ringwald’s character had to struggle getting through the day of her 16th birthday, after everybody in her whole family forgot about it because they were all busy preparing for her big sister’s wedding the following day.  This plus the fact that she is secretly madly in love with a senior guy who she knew was “way up there” — popular, dates the prom queen kind of guy —  and someone who doesn’t know that she exists.  As an aside:  I still remember the guy’s name in the movie… Jake Ryan… it stuck to me somewhat.  But for the life of me, I cannot remember the actor’s name.

Yes, Sixteen Candles depicts what high school life is about.  Shy, awkward girls… popular and attractive guys… prom queens… geeks and nerds… it’s about wanting to be noticed… the dream of belonging to the ‘popular’ group… the fantasy of dating the cutest jock… the fear of coming out of one’s shell because other people may not be too accepting… the experience of being madly in love — and thinking that young love means forever after…

When you are young, everything seems promising.  Scary, but promising. 

I honestly wouldn’t mind being 16 again.

~ * ~

do you remember?

I had my first “boyfriend” several months before I turned sixteen.  The quotation marks are intentional (picture me doing the sign with my fingers as I say the word boyfriend).  It was a shortlived thingy, not even worthy enough to be called a relationship.  There were other guys that I really liked more before him, but this guy called me his “girlfriend” so I guess that was how he became my “boyfriend.”  (Give me a break, I was only 15 then!)

I think I liked this guy because I found him cute.  Eventually I realized that cuteness doesn’t make a relationship.  We had nothing in common, basically had nothing to talk about, plus I was afraid that my parents will find out (and ground me ’til I’m thirty), so after three weeks of being cute together, we broke up.  After that so-called relationship, I realized that I wasn’t really ready to have a boyfriend.  Or at least, if I would have one, it would be someone I truly felt something for. 

And so I celebrated my 16th birthday being boyfriend free. 

We had our high school Christmas dance about a week after my birthday.  Met this other guy at the dance.  We were both seniors, but I never really talked to him before that night.  He was a jock, seemed pretty reserved, not exactly too friendly.  He stepped on my toes while we were dancing with other people (believe me, it happens!)… and that was the first time I noticed him.  We exchanged smiles after that.

We started hanging out the moment we got back from the Christmas break.  Eventually we got to know each other better.  I never called him my boyfriend, but both my friends and his friends knew we were a pair.    I didn’t see anyone else while we were going out.  Ours was pretty exclusive for another non-relationship. 

Do you remember how the days seem to be long and the weeks and months are endless while you’re in high school?  It seemed like I spent a good deal of time with Guy #2.  And then graduation came, then summer vacation… then we were off to college.  Once again I realized that I wasn’t ready for a committed relationship.  I knew that things will not be the same once we’re in different universities.  So I did what I had to do. 

I ended it.  I told the guy I didn’t want to get too serious.  I wanted to see other people.  I thought I was being noble by being honest with my feelings.  Didn’t realize, though, that I was breaking up with him right around the same time he was going to celebrate his birthday…

Okay, so I was the ex-non-girlfriend from hell.  I don’t think I ever redeemed myself in the eyes of that guy.

~ * ~

I saw both guys last year when our batch had the 20th yr. homecoming. 

Guy #1 chatted with me for a very long time.  I never saw someone still so thrilled to see me, even after all these years.  At some point he had to grab another person to take our picture so we will finally have a picture together.  I think I ended up having a gazillion pictures with Guy#1 that night — taken by different people, using different cameras.  He just wouldn’t let up.  He was so excited he almost looked 16 again.

Guy#2 saw me… then ignored me.  I didn’t know whether to say hi or to apologize for what happened twenty years ago.  Honestly, I didn’t know if there was something to apologize for.  And so I also ended up ignoring him, as well.  We pretty much ignored each other the whole night. 

Maybe I am making too much of a big deal out of something that had happened two decades ago.  I mean, surely he shouldn’t be holding a grudge until now.  It’s not like I wanted to hurt him on purpose.  He married another schoolmate of ours a couple of years into college, they now have two grown kids…   surely he should have already forgotten about what I did.  Maybe, maybe not.

What I realized that night was that we all create impressions on people.  Some are good, some are bad.  It all depends on how we treat people at a point in time.  Believe me, it feels much better knowing that the thought or the memory you leave imprinted in their minds is something you can be proud of and not be sorry about. 

~  *  ~

At the end of Sixteen Candles, popular guy Jake waited for Molly Ringwald’s character to come out of the church after her sister’s wedding.  And then they celebrated her 16th birthday… freeze to the last frame where they were sitting on top of a table with a cake with sixteen candles all lit up, about to have their first kiss. Sweet!>  The sixteen year old in me still gushes whenever I picture that scene in my head.

fairy tale ending

Well, I think that’s what young  love is all about.  You get the guy, you lose the guy… sometimes you let go of the guy, other times, he lets go of you.  Yet unlike in the movies where you can freeze the frame for a very long time (until your player conks out), in real life, you move on… whether with the same person or not. 

But what’s good is that at 16, whether you love or you lose, one thing is certain… you have your whole life ahead of you to enjoy the good and still have the chance to make the wrong things right.

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Note:  The actor who played the role Jake Ryan was Michael Schoeffling. (Thank you wikipedia!)

photos via google image

Tuning in to the 80’s

Music, indeed, has the magic of transporting you back in time. 

I was sitting in front of the computer this morning when I heard the radio blaring from the neighbor’s lot.  There’s an ongoing construction and it seems the workers are hard of hearing that most of the time, the radio is in full volume.  This particular morning they were playing mushy love songs from the 80’s. 

Ricky Martin rocked my world!

Before long, I found myself humming along to Menudo’s “If You’re Not Here.”  Okay, I admit, it was more fun belting out the song.  Humming doesn’t do it justice.  And as if Menudo is not enough, the next song was from Air Supply.  I didn’t sing along anymore this time, but truth be told, I do know the lyrics to the song, as well.  Shame shame shame. 

To the young ones reading this who have no idea who (or what) Menudo* is,  Menudo was a Puerto Rican boy band formed in the ’70s but achieved success and became really popular in the ’80s.  Long before the Backstreet Boys, NSync and 98 degrees, was this boy band.  This was where the ultra hot Ricky Martin started (he was still a young and cute Ricky Martin then, though I always knew he had the potential…).

Going back to the main point of this blog, music does have a way of zapping you back to another time.  Sometimes when I hear certain songs, it feels like I’m back in time… at the same place, exact same moment.  Being an 80’s girl — I was in high school during the latter part of the decade — I truly get a certain sense of ‘high’ whenever I hear 80’s music (mushy or otherwise). 

80's music rocks!!!

Allow me to share some 80’s songs that still transport me back in time and the reasons why…

1)  You to Me are Everything by the Real Thing.  “I would take the stars out of the sky for you…Stop the rain from falling if you ask me to..”    How can you not like that? 

I remember our school fair, sophomore year.  My friend and I requested this song to be played for this senior guy I really, really liked.  In secret, of course.  Senior guy saw me sitting on a bench while the song was playing, walked straight to me while singing along.  I was on cloud 9.   I was 14… and I thought I was in love.

2)  Upside Down by Two Minds Crack – One morning after a marathon telephone conversation the night before with senior guy, I woke up and heard this music playing on my radio.  The weather was cool, the day showed so much promise.  It was a moment I wouldn’t mind reliving.

3) Take On Me by A-Ha.  Loved the song. Loved the video. 

4)  Melt with You by Modern English –  My sister’s anthem. Because of the number of times that I heard her playing said song over and over and over again, of course it stuck to me.  Recently I saw again on tv the movie Valley Girl (where the song was played).  Couldn’t believe that it was Nicholas Cage who starred in said movie! 

5)  Borderline and Crazy for You.  One word: Madonna.  Along with Like a Prayer, favorite karaoke songs ever.  No shame!

6)  For Just a Moment (Love theme from St. Elmo’s Fire).  “We laugh until we had to cry and we love right down to our last goodbye…”

I remember one afternoon in a house in San Diego, my best friend/person and I were in a room and we were singing this song.  I remember one of us holding a piece of paper with the lyrics (so we can do it right).  I think I was about to leave in a few days.  We were both teenagers then.  Fast forward twenty years, we are still the best of friends.   

lookin' for the love getaway...

7)  Love Shack  by B52’s.    “I’m heading down the Atlanta highway, lookin’ for the love getaway…” 

Moment in time: Me singing and dancing to the song… while someone on the other end of the phone patiently waits — and listens.  Best guy friend I ever had.  Still holds a soft spot in my heart ’til today.  I wonder where he is now…

~ * ~

It’s nice to reminisce.  It’s nice to sing and still know the lyrics of the song.   Whenever I hear 80’s music, I remember my friends… I remember my growing up years… I remember having fun.   I think about the people I shared those moments with and I am grateful that my friends then are still my friends up to now.  Well, at least most of them.  I remember about past loves and heartaches and realize that I have outgrown them all.

We hear these songs and we remember… and we relive the moments.  We smile, laugh, we cringe, we get embarrassed.  But mostly, we feel good… and the feeling stays somewhat.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Note : *Menudo is also a traditional Mexican dish made with beef stomach in clear broth.  May also be the traditional stew from the Philippines made with sliced pork and calves’ liver (reference: wikipedia)

**Info on Menudo band from Wikipedia

***photos via google images

Bittersweet love

i saw this advertisement in a newspaper about an essay writing contest.  the ad said to write about your personal experience on a given category.  i said to myself, why don’t i submit something?  i love to write… and i know i have had quite a number of memorable experiences… so why don’t i write about them?  — and hopefully win an overnight stay at a really expensive resort?  

not a bad idea, huh?! and so i sat down and wrote. 

the category i chose was Love.  I wrote about a love experience…  something that happened more than a decade ago.  for some reason, as i was writing and reliving the event, it felt like i was transported back in time.  somehow, i could still remember every detail of the story… well, almost every detail.  

it felt like the whole thing happened just last year, or maybe two years ago… not as far off as 16 years back.

i often get that feeling.  whenever i write about MY experiences, or things that happened directly to me, I can recall almost every little detail.  more so, i remember the feeling, as well.  i smile when i relive the good moments, and i still feel some tinge of hurt when i remember the painful ones.  sometimes though, mere words are not enough to describe the feeling.  it’s like it is there but you cannot grasp it in its entirety.  yet you can feel… and the feeling sticks to you.

though i know that people normally would just like to remember the good times, i let myself recall the bad times, too.     it is because of the undesirable things that i have been through that i am who and what i am today.  it is because of the heart aches and the disappointments and the pain i felt at some point in time, that i turned out to be emotionally strong.  it is because i cried buckets of tears over some people in my past life that i don’t get easily hurt or offended now.  and the irony of it all, it’s because i experienced losing love that i learned how to better appreciate and value a new love found.

as i was writing, i realized how much i have changed and grown… from that young, hopeful twenty year old whose love story i was writing about, to the thirty something present me.  truly i am no longer the naive girl that i was back then.  i have come to accept how some things are just not meant to be.  i have come to understand why there are hellos as well as goodbyes. 

people enter our lives for different reasons.   the people who make us really, deliriously happy can also be the very ones who will give us intense pain.  yet this shouldn’t stop us from letting people in.  because regardless of how short or long a person chooses to be in our lives, our experiences with them teach us various lessons.  at the very least, we get to feel something because someone shared a moment with us.

 some people stay for a while, some don’t stay long enough.  but then again, there are also the ones who choose to just stay