* I love a bit of Transvision Vamp…it’s my age…don’t ya know…
Time for another pondering about teenagers. You may remember from Early to bed, Early to rise that I am the ‘proud’ owner of precisely one teenager and that there are many things that are frankly irritating about such ownership.
Today we shall be examining one of these irritating things- self consciousness.
I have always been an embarrassing parent. Apparently. When my children were small they actually liked the fact that I was embarrassing, actually they didn’t call it embarrassing when I was dancing like a mad thing to ‘I am the music man’ at the kiddie disco on holiday. Every night. Or doing karaoke. Or enjoying the slides at an aqua park by running full pelt up the steps to get to the front of the queue dragging them behind by their hands. Or whooping the loudest at Christmas shows and summer concerts. Or enjoying scrambling over cargo nets at soft play centres or indeed in the tops of trees at high rope courses. Or screaming loud encouragement from the touchlines. Or putting love notes in their lunch boxes. They called it fun. Over the years this has gradually changed from fun to ambivalence to down right embarrassment.
So really this blog isn’t about my teenager’s self consciousness but his mum consciousness…
it is a shame really that he is hitting the peak of his social embarrassment right when I am hitting the peak of not giving a flying fuck about what people think of me. Quite literally I don’t care. At all.
Obviously I don’t want people to think I am a bad person. I am careful about things that matter. Such as manners and respect and friendship. But for the trivial stuff I just don’t care.
I don’t actually remember being embarrassed about my parents. Maybe they weren’t that embarrassing. Certainly my mother and father were not into disco dancing or shouting from the sidelines or whooping.
However I do remember being self conscious. Hiding myself under layers of clothing. Crossing the road to avoid other teenagers. Standing in the gloom at school discos. But then I was an awkward teenager. Not cool, not popular, not sporty, put firmly in the academic geek pigeon hole with the added quirkiness of double bass playing.
This is not something any of my children are. They are bright, certainly, but also popular and sporty and empathic and good friends and musical and general all round good eggs. And anyway geekiness is no longer a bad thing.
I can’t really remember when my self consciousness disapperared. I certainly had some in my twenties at university and during my career. Maybe it was around the time that I had kids. When all dignity and modesty was lost during the physical process of birth. It was maybe a realisation that if I was strong enough to build three human beings and bring them into the world it shouldn’t really matter if I have varicose veins.
And so I stopped worrying about stuff. I bought shorts for the first time in years. It was liberating and still is. I will dance first at discos. Sing first at karaokes. Join in stupid pool games. Whoop.
I have always hoped that I had instilled this ‘don’t care’ attitude in my offspring. Yet still Eldest is acutely self conscious. It is probably an age thing. I do remember and so I do feel for him I really do.
But not enough to stop dancing to Hewy Lewis and the News in the front of a four by four jeep with Paco our Spanish driver on yesterday’s safari. Whilst being filmed for the DVD. We didn’t buy the DVD by the way although lots of my fellow travellers did. Sorry guys…
Eldest actually tried to hold my arms down. I have discovered that I am much stronger than him when the Power of Love is playing.
He will have to suck it up. I am not for changing. Life is short. I want to dance. And sing. And whoop.
One day he may too.
I do hope so.