I Turned Seventeen to "Girls" by The 1975

I turned seventeen to “Girls” by The 1975.

I turned seventeen in the backseat, on the way home from an equally brilliant and ethereal concert- musicians, artists, performers wholeheartedly giving themselves to the music- surrounded by friends, known and unknown, chanting the same words I felt.

And we were late to the show, but what’s the fun in being prompt, anyway? You can’t run through the parking garage when you’re on time. You can’t feel the four flights of stairs burning through your bones. Or the pavement under your Converse as you weave through parked cars and security. Your heart doesn’t jump- you don’t run out of breath if you show up early. There’s no fun in doing what you’re told. Isn’t that the spirit of youth?

There is an ache associated with coming of age. Growing up. Expectations. Yearning for a moment you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Something sincere, something that will last, something to feel. Dreaming up ways to self-identify, explode, if you will. But I don’t believe seventeen is the full picture. Like technology-induced beams of light at a concert, seventeen is only a glimpse.

Birthdays are exciting. Turbulent. Conflicting, like a pair of frozen hands raised up against a warm sky. Traveling around the sun, capturing images to remember each trip. Not your typical stoned seventeen-year-olds; one night could very well make us, or at least change us.

My only broken heart is from what remains of sixteen. Eyes bright, uptight, I am a girl whose sixteen was not like the John Hughes’ film where Molly Ringwald gets the guy and everything else that seems to matter at that age. I was misled by the culture- the movies and the songs that glorify this time. My sixteen was different. But it was still mine. Is that enough? Am I still okay? All of the occurrences, I thought had to happen in order for me to experience- to truly live!- did it ever really matter at all? I skip over unresolved feelings-

Onto seventeen, then. I suppose I’m ready; I know I’m ready.

Seventeen years of building assumptions, hopes, expectations. As young people, we are constantly expecting things- where these expectations originate is beside the point. I’m on a quest to remember the good old days as good. And it’s terrifying to be in the middle of the era every adult keeps reminiscing on and wonder what the fuss is about.

I turned seventeen on concrete- curbside, memorabilia in the form of a T-shirt and record in hand. I turned seventeen in between tracks, a set list, to a beat. I turned seventeen on paper, writing it out like I am now. Turning over the songs, the page, wrestling the expectations of my youth to the ground, I begin to build anew.

Changing years is throbbing from the inside out. Like your soul itself is in the gray area between weeping for past selves and anticipating new versions.

Seventeen is in-between-ness. How do I become who I need to be when I’m only seventeen? I am just a girl after all. Sometimes I feel so close to where I want to be, and it’s the best feeling in the world. My stomach has butterflies; I forget where I am. But I don’t think I have to know where I’m going in order to keep moving.

I turned seventeen when I let go.