The Ancient Greeks used to believe that seventeen was an ugly number because it came between two beautiful ones. Sixteen was beautiful because it was four squared, and four is a perfect, even number. Eighteen was beautiful because it was nine doubled, and nine is three squared, which means eighteen is a squared number, doubled.
I think the Greeks were on to something. Seventeen is one of the worst ages to be–or at least, that’s how I feel now that my birthday is looming at the end of the month on the 29th, like an iceberg that the pitiful Titanic I’m standing on won’t stand a chance against. Should I say my farewells? Sixteen, I love you! *throws the hella big and blue Heart of the Ocean into the also hella big and blue real ocean* Oh wait, I think that comes at the end of the movie.
I watch too many movies.
Sixteen was a good year for me. Or at least, it was a partially good year, because I spent five months in a too-loud too-bright and too-smoggy city (the air quality was shit and some days it was uncomfortable to breathe), surrounded by friends and classmates that I loved and that, strangely enough, seemed to love me, too. It was fucking cold and it rained constantly for the last three months, I was so tired every day that I lost weight and could fit much more easily into my jeans (I lost weight just going to school, take that stupid fat-shaming internet diet programs!), my face and always-chapped lips turned into an unhealthy wax-yellow color that made me look rather sick when I looked at myself in the harsh fluorescent lighting of our bathroom, and my grades were pitiful (not that my grades have been any good in these past years anyway, except Chinese, which I have been shamelessly working hard on so I can discreetly rub my scores into the faces of the people who doubt my language abilities take that everyone who ever dared to ask me in Chinese if I knew Chinese), but I was happy. So being sixteen was actually pretty nice, for a while, if you don’t factor in the occasional anxiety attack and crying jag and the general teenage angst and period cramps and such things, which I have anyway.
Of course, before, fifteen was an even better age to be, but I’ll not go into that now.
Anyway, I feel like seventeen must really be an ugly number, because when you’re seventeen, you’re going through your last or next to last year of high school, and stressing over college and exams and high school GPAs, and you’re so far from being a child, yet you’re also an infuriating smidge of time from being an adult that should be responsible. God forbid I turn into an adult that is expected to function someday. I can’t even check out groceries at the cash register without having a mild panic attack. *sweats* *blushes* *stutters “Thank you” to the bored cashier* *tries desperately not to fumble with the cash while I move away from the register so I don’t hold up the line*
When you’re sixteen, you know, no one expects anything from you, because you’re in your sweet sixteens and you have no real responsibilities and uni isn’t something you have to really freak out about (yet) and you can just waste your time doing whatever. Like going out, laughing, being stupid, being young and doing whatever the fuck normal sixteen-year-old’s do because how the hell should I know what, being a socially awkward introverted clumsy penguin and all.
But when you’re seventeen, it’s like, BOOM, you’re just expected to grow up and act mature and get your shit together because you’re going to be a legal adult in just a few short months and do you have your whole life planned out already ’cause if you don’t you’re going to regret it when you’re forty and suffering at some mind-blowingly boring office job while hating yourself for not taking life more seriously at the tender age of seventeen.
Being almost seventeen sucks, man. It sucks so bad. I’m getting panic attacks just thinking of it.
My mom reminded me that I’m almost seventeen a short few days ago, in case you’re wondering why I decided to freak the fuck out now. I don’t know, I listened to her, but I didn’t have a sudden epiphany like, “Oh right, almost grown up now, should take things more seriously,” because here I sit, still reading and having intense reactions to fanfiction about non-canonical ships, and daydreaming about writing a Harry Potter fanfiction with certain aspects of some other sci-fi movies rifled in. Because I’m weird. And I don’t like crossovers but I like experimenting with my writing.
*Sigh* When you’re eighteen, I imagine you’re going to have a feeling like, Great, I’m a full adult now and I can make my own decisions. At least, I hope so. I hope I don’t always feel so lost. I don’t really know what I want to do now, and it’s like I’m just puttering about life like a steam engine that kinda lost momentum once it started puffing its way up a steep hill. Oh well. I’ve got to remind myself that I’m a little engine that *can*.
Even though I feel more like I really can’t.
But my birthday will be celebrated in Texas, so, it’s going to be the first birthday I’ll have in my home country since I was a tiny little nine-year-old shrimp who was so thin and so short she looked bonier than a concentration-camp inmate. No lie, I was way too small then. And ten times more annoying.
I would like a nice cake. Lots and lots of frosting. I don’t need any presents, and I won’t have any friends to be there with me (although, to tell the truth, I’ve never actually had any friends give me gifts or have fun with me on my birthday anyway, because summer birthdays suck that way and I’m used to it), and school will probably start just a few days after and I’m probably going to want to die on a daily basis because of the homework and the exams and the scholarship/uni applications and the part-time-job searching and the volunteering and the stupid inevitable drama that seems to plague young people, but it doesn’t matter. Maybe I’ll feel a little older and smarter once I’m actually SE-VEN-TEEN and not just stressing about it.
Have a good Tuesday or Wednesday, and stay chill.