I Miss The One That I Love A Lot
The day that teenage girls realize their power is the day that some serious shit is going down.
I say this having been a teenage girl between 1996-2003 and just now realizing how much I could have accomplished if I only knew then what I knew now.
Teenage girls suffer from the reverse of the Dunning-Kruger effect - people simply don’t take into account just how smart they are and their abilities are woefully underestimated.
They navigate the onset of puberty and the complex social strata of high school while maintaining a full and complicated social and academic calendar. They adapt to ever-evolving technology and their role therein and they still manage to perform the emotional labor of being present for their loved ones.
This is basically like getting a triple Masters in political studies, psychology and marketing and yet, this brilliant capacity is cast aside. All too often, teenage girls are written off as trivial, silly or worse yet - emotional - a slight that women of all ages have to contend with and yet, men rarely do.
Case in point - Supreme Court Justice and accused sexual harasser, Brett Kavanaugh.
Despite his fragility and waspish demeanor, I can assure you that no-one has ever asked him if he’s on his period.
One of the things that makes a teenage girl so powerful is her capacity for love and the ferocity with which she expresses this devotion.
It is equal parts bewildering, terrifying and awe-inspiring.
When a teenage girl loves something, she possesses a singular dedication that makes both Captain Ahab and James Carville looks like shiftless shirkers.
When I was a teenager, I loved the band Everclear.
Loved them. Loved them. Tracked down every interview Art Alexakis ever gave and referred to him as ‘God’ (sorry, Clapton). Wrote papers on them. Memorized and analyzed every lyric. Owned all of their albums including a UK import EP. Do you even know how hard that shit was to obtain in the early days of the internet?
I loved them so much that the first time I met them, I fractured my ankle trying to get them and instead of seeking immediate medical treatment, I stuck around for the show.
As an adult, I wouldn’t dream of being so foolish.
After all, bitch - do you even know what a health insurance deductible is? But when I was 17, Art was God, all I wanted was to hear Nehalem live and bitch, I had no idea what a health insurance deductible was.
I related to Sapphire in Almost Famous in a serious way.
I was a fan and goddamn it, I loved this band so much that it hurt. And I’ve got the scar tissue on my ankle to prove it.
I fell in love with music long before I ever fell in love with a person. And when you do that, you seek out people who will make you feel the same way as live music does.
Someone that will make you feel like basslines do when they’re hurtling alongside the rush of red blood cells coursing through your body. Someone that will make your heartbeat feel like the machine gun volley of American hickory smashing against aluminum toms. Someone who will breathe into you and make you shiver and shimmer like cymbals.
And you will come up short because music might just be the only kind of magic we’ve got left in this weary world and no-one can make you feel like that….until you’re thirty-six years old and sweating out gin on a humid evening.
This past weekend, I saw a 90s triple bill at Bayfront in Miami - Our Lady Peace, Live and Bush.
Bush’s debut album, Sixteen Stone, was in constant rotation in my bedroom and like every other girl and gay boy who owned the album - I had a crush on lead singer Gavin Rossdale.
I mean, look at this guy. He’s the OG Mistah Steal Yo’ Girl.
I’m not gonna lie, I had my doubts. After all, it’s been 25 years and rock musicians aren’t exactly known for aging gracefully. But, Gavin Rossdale is still the teenage dream come to life, slinking around onstage and reminding you of just how hard you loved and lusted when you were sixteen.
I’m standing on the grass on a muggy Miami night staring at Rossdale as Glycerine starts:
It must be your skin
I’m sinking in
It must be for real
’Cause now I can feel….
My breath catches and I swear my heart flutters for just a second. And then I realize that it’s not because of Gavin Rossdale.
It’s because I’m where I belong, where I’ve been for the past six years and where I want to spend the rest of my life - with John’s fingers drumming a synchronal tattoo on my hips as we both sing along.
Ever since I fell in love with music, I’ve been searching for someone who makes me feel the same - all at once giddy and at home, breathless and filled with a buoyant sense of joy.
John and I met as teenagers when I was falling in love with music and we fell in love as adults with music being a cornerstone of our relationship - from trading mix CDs to clasping our palms together as we wove through crowds at concerts to the sound of Amy or Bruce or Mick or John or Bob crackling and popping on vinyl as it floats through our home.
Last night with chords still reverberating and ringing in my ears, I stood on the lawn and gazed at the waning moon, marveling at the circumstances of my life that brought me here.
I searched my whole life for someone who makes me feel the way live music does. Turns out, he was right next to me in history class.
Couldn’t love you more
You’ve got a beautiful taste