Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Sara and Melissa Talk About...Our Younger Years

We've been running a column series (for over three years now!) to get more personal with our readers. This month, we are talking about what we were like when we were younger. 

We're always open to topic suggestions, so please don't hesitate to share those in the comments. We'd also love to know if you can relate to anything we've said or hear your own thoughts on the topic. So don't be shy. :) We look forward to getting to know you as much as we're letting you get to know us. You can find our previous columns here, in case you missed them. 

Melissa Amster:

Since my oldest child just turned eighteen recently, I decided to focus on who I was at that age. Unlike my son, I started college a little after I turned eighteen. (My son missed the cutoff so he will start when he's nineteen.) I was doing my best to break away from who I was in high school and start fresh in a new environment. I still wanted to fit in and sometimes didn't make the best choices in that regard (not about the friends themselves, but what their interests were), but I learned quickly and found ways to be who I was without having to like the same things they did. I also started dating for the first time when I was eighteen and I was so naive about all that dating involved. (If you read the linked post, you'll see the thing I did to try to fit in.) 

Me at 18

However, I'm going to take things in a different direction now. Since it's almost Halloween, this is fitting for the topic at hand (technically we're doing a "time warp" here). When I was eighteen, I first started going to midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. That had a huge impact on my life! 

For a few weeks, I was going there just to watch and learn the callback lines. I gradually started meeting people who regularly attended. Then, one week at the end of my senior year of high school, they were having an audience night. It meant that audience members could play the characters in front of the screen, instead of the usual shadow cast. I just happened to be wearing a pink dress that night and they just happened to need someone to play Janet... It was an exhilarating night altogether (even after being called out as "the most innocent girl" by someone I knew from high school who was playing Rocky) and I went to a nearby diner afterward with the cast and ultimately made a new group of friends. However, that was my one and only time playing Janet because I was truly meant to play Magenta. I had the hair for it, after all! 

I loved wearing the makeup and putting together a costume for Magenta. It's such a fun role to play in a shadow cast too. Being Magenta allowed me to break away from who I was in high school and became part of my personality in college. My friends even called me Magenta and I used the name for my online handles. 

The hand belongs to a friend

In my adult years, I stopped going to Rocky Horror midnight showings after a while. First of all, the theater I went to regularly went under new management and stopped showing it. That was a devastating blow at the time. Then the cast kept migrating to different theaters and some were harder to access than others. I'm still friends with some people I knew from my Rocky Horror days and am thankful for that. 

Last year, I took my older son to see Rocky Horror a couple times. He had a blast and was laughing out loud from all the callback lines I still remembered (and there were a lot). We're hoping to go again closer to Halloween. I'm glad I can pass along my love to someone who used to call Frank N. Furter "Hot Dog the Frankenstein" when he was younger. 😅

Here's a little more about my experience with Rocky Horror, if you're interested.

And just for fun....

Sara Steven:

Last night, my eighteen year old drove us to the local supermarket in his 1992 yellow Mazda Miata, his very first car. I slid inside the tiny compact seating area, the faded hot leather seat barely cushioning me, feeling like I was practically on the ground with how low the car is. It smelled of exhaust and gas, immediately bringing me back to my teen years. When I told my son that it smelled like the nineties, he said, “It better. That was the best decade.” 

Can’t argue there. It really was the best decade. Despite all of the technological advancements and how I can’t seem to go anywhere anymore without my cell phone, I miss the days where I didn’t have to rely on that. When writing a letter and sending them out to my romantic crushes or my best friends meant something. When waiting for the mail and getting those types of letters in return felt meaningful and special. When using the computer meant writing papers or stories vs. sending emails or becoming engrossed in social media platforms. When life seemed a lot more simple.

My friends drove Honda Preludes and Ford Econoline vans, with the occasional VW slug bug thrown in for good measure. They smelled of gas and heat and lagging engines, much like my son’s car, but there was nothing better than getting the coveted passenger front seat after calling shotgun.

Riding along with my son made me think of myself at his age. I think I exuded a lot more confidence than I ever felt back in those days. 

Inside, I was very insecure and unsure of myself, not sure what I wanted out of life or what I wanted to be. For some reason, I thought I had to have it all figured out, but looking back as a parent of my own eighteen year old, I know at that age, we’re all still kids. Young adults, maybe, but still very much finding ourselves. 

I made myself appear to the outside world like I had my s--- together. There was obvious teen angst. But I wanted to grow up fast because that's what you do when you’re legally an adult. Or so I thought.

Deep down, I didn’t want to feel like I had to be responsible for everything, all the time, all at once. But being the firstborn in my family and handling a lot more than anyone should have ever had to deal with at that age, it was this sense of obligation. But it made me regress later on in my early twenties. It wasn’t until my own firstborn that I truly felt like I’d grown up. Having to take care of another human being can do that to a person.

In many ways, I’m still the same person I was back then. I still love fiercely and I am very protective of my family and my friendships. Many of my friends are my family. The picture seen here with the two young ladies in the photo–I’m still friends with both of them to this day. 

I’ve always had a great sense of humor–I know, I could be biased about that, but considering I’ve always been my own worst critic, I don’t think so. I enjoy comedy and anything remotely witty, and I still have one of the loudest laughs you’ll ever hear. The loud laugh runs in my family.

I’m still a sucker for nostalgia, which is why I covet opportunities to look back on my youth and reflect on those days, fleeting as they were. It went by fast but while living it, it felt like the years spanned decades, like I’d never get out of my grueling teens.

I wonder if my son feels that way. 

My boy's graduation day

My senior photo

What were you like when you were younger?

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.

1 comment:

dstoutholcomb said...

I was Magenta, too.

The original Magenta is coming to Baltimore for a special Rocky Horror Picture Show. At the Hippodrome, October 21.