the incurable dreamer

my dreams are my disease, chasing them my only option

ferris bueller said it best

I was born in 1971, which means I am a true child of the 80’s. If you were born in the 80’s, sorry, it doesn’t count the same.  You were just getting started.  Meanwhile, I was sprouting hairs down there, riding out the angst of adolescence to the beat of Def Leppard and REO Speedwagon and driving around in a tree scented white Camaro with Rockaberry Cooler discreetly stashed between my legs.  While you were learning to tie your shoes, I was outsmarting the local police department, and sporting stupidly teased bangs.  I am a product of the 80’s.  Not only was I raised in all its neon and hair teasing splendor, but I also survived to tell the tale.

Bad decisions were the norm in the 80’s, but quite frankly, we just didn’t know any damn better.

Nobody wore helmets while riding bikes.  If you had even dared to wear one (wondering now if they had even been invented yet), you would have been mercilessly ridiculed by your friends until you relented and put your social status ahead of your personal safety, by removing your helmet.  Once we were on our bikes, the wind blew so hard into our eyes we couldn’t see through the tears, as we laughed and screamed our way down the steep hills of the back roads of our little town.  We didn’t have a single care in the world.

We rode on lawn chairs in the back of the family van, and the only safety precaution we were told to take was to hang the fuck on, TO ANYTHING.

The first time I got drunk, I was at Janet Fisher’s birthday party, and I was 14 years old.  Red wine seemed like a fabulous idea for about an hour.  For seven hours and a hundred barfs later, I realized that red wine was, in fact, the devil.

In high school, we partied at ‘The Flare’ as we called it, which was a large burning oil flare in the middle of a field.  After lighting a ridiculously over stoked and unnecessary bonfire, right beside the flare (because we were monumental idiots), we partied like fools completely oblivious to the fact we could all be incinerated at any moment without warning.  “Oh, oh, I know. Let’s throw a full bottle of beer in the fire and see what happens, you guys! HAHAHA”  Don’t.  Do.  That.  Ever.  There will be blood.  LOT’S AND LOTS OF BLOOD.  PS…it wasn’t me.

My virginity was lost in a parked truck.  Not in a romantic setting like the forest or a hangout overlooking the glow of the city lights, or anything like that.  No, no.  We decided that beside the railroad tracks in the middle of downtown was the perfect spot for me to experience this particular rite of passage.  Being teased about ‘if it’s rockin don’t come knockin’ gets old.  It really does.  Make better choices, kids.  And just say no to rum and coke.

For a short time, pants with a zipper, which went from your belly button to the small of your back, were all the rage.  Meaning that any wardrobe malfunction exposed your back biz and front biz to those unfortunate enough to be in your presence when it happened.  “Dearest designer of flawed pants. Thanks for the gift of that which I can never unsee!”  A little advice to the risk takers out there – in the event of a “What in the shit kind of zipper pants are these?” comeback – for the love of all that is holy GROOM YOUR FUCKING SELVES!

The 80’s, though, were more than just bad decisions.  They were magical, taught me independence and prepared me for my life ahead.  The memories I have of that decade are forever seared into my mind and heart.

When I was 12 years old, I discovered my love of words, and the ability I had to heal myself every time I wrote one down.  Now when I read the stories I wrote back then, I see the dreamer inside the girl I once was.  I feel thankful that through the turmoil and pain in the years that followed, that little girl held on.  And that together, we are once again writing our way to the place we have always wanted to go.

In high school, the two free throws I sank with 30 seconds left on the clock led us to victory over the number one ranked basketball team in the province – solidifying our belief in ourselves and turning us into the team every other team feared.  Every minute on the court with my teammates was bliss.  And for one night we were on top of the world.

I learned the pros and cons of risk taking every time I picked up the phone without call display.

I fell in love.  As I sat alone in a car with her, after having just met, I thought to myself, “Holy shit, I think I am going to love her.”  Five minutes after that thought – I did.  And a part of me has ever since.  She is my most profound memory of the 80’s and barely a day passes without thoughts of her.  Anytime I am back home, I find myself searching, hoping to see her emerge from my mind and back into my sight.  She never does, but I continue to hope that one day when I least expect it she will reappear.

The Class of 1989, my class, was filled with kindness, inclusion, tolerance, belief, humour and life.  I am thankful that my 80’s were accompanied by these people – these incredible fucking people – and the love we had for one another.  Though we have all gone our separate ways, I have no doubt that somewhere out there in the space between us, our memories collide.  And that when we are alone, remembering and thinking of one another, each of us is overcome with a rush of nostalgia so robust, we wish to reach for one another once again.

As the world around me now, is seemingly imploding, I find myself often thinking about my past and appreciating how lucky I was to grow up in the generation I did. I wouldn’t trade the 80’s for anything.  Back then the thing I feared the most was looking directly into the solar eclipse without special glasses on because my teacher told me I would go blind if I did.

Now I am afraid of the future for my niece and nephew, and wonder what kind of world awaits them.  What lessons will they learn and what memories will they hold deep in their hearts and minds when they look back on their lives, as I am now?  My hope is that they find friends and make connections, and experience laughter, love, and heartbreak in a kind accepting world.  And that when they grow old, they too look back and remember the days that shaped them, and are thankful.

Ferris Bueller said it best. And his words still ring true today.

Every day, at least once, I ask myself, “How the hell did I get here so damn fast? Just – how?” Time has flown.  And it is picking up speed.  So every morning I make a conscious decision to live in each moment and to look the hell around.

One minute you are in a moment and then, as quickly as it came, the moment is gone – and years later you find yourself yearning to have it back.  But if you are lucky, you were present when you were in it and can reminisce with breathtaking clarity.

When I think back, I long to feel the innocence of the wind blowing in my face, the terror of hanging on for dear life in the back of that van, the elation of victory and the connections between us all before we went our separate ways.

And I long to be back in that car.  So that for just one moment, I can see her, once again.

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25 Comments

  1. chateautestosterone

    Thank you for taking me back to some glory days…the ’80’s…

    • the incurable dreamer

      You are welcome. There will never be another 80’s. So glad I was a participant in the greatest decade ever!

  2. Hilarious and profound — at least to someone like me, born in 1970. Perhaps those risks we took back then were just as courageous and full of true love for life as they were stupid. I was one of those “look at me, I’m so weird”, Ally-Sheedy-in-the-Breakfast-Club-except-I’m-A-Guy-type of pretentious assholes. Therefore, my biggest 80s regret is the Flock O’ Seagulls-style shaved on one side, long on the other hairdo I sported, thinking it was the height of style and subversion.

    • the incurable dreamer

      Ha! I had friends who had that same haircut, and I had mad respect for them because it was totally badass, and they owned it. We were all weird back then, but just the right amount of weird. Those of us who had the opportunity to participate fully in the 80’s are the luckiest people – ever!

    • the incurable dreamer

      Oh, and thanks for reading and for the comment! 🙂

      • Your blog is a hoot and I’m so glad I stumbled upon it (thank you, Jenny Lawson). And thank you for your compliment on my page! Although you are clearly far from dumb, as you implied. In my opinion, wit is synonymous with intellect and I bow to your expertise in that realm.

        • the incurable dreamer

          Aww, you are too kind! Thank you, so much! And yes, thank you Jenny Lawson – she has brought so many great people into my life and I am so thankful for that! I am going to get busy and see what other good stuff you have on your blog. Can’t wait to read more!

  3. Ah, yes; Class of 1991 over here. I still can’t drink Peach Schnapps and I’m 43fyo. (the ‘f’ was for fucking, of course.) I hated high school; probably because my parents got divorced my sophomore year and I simultaneously got into a deeply disturbing DV relationship that would take 4.5 years from me. You live, you learn.

    • the incurable dreamer

      Peach Schnapps would be a horrible thing to get sick on! No doubt you can’t drink it! Life leads us on paths that are good and bad, the important thing is that we learn from them and don’t make the same mistakes. I can’t say I have learned the first time around sometimes, but I did learn! Hope you are doing really fucking great now and enjoying life! 🙂

  4. cathy blahout

    Awesome Tan! Made me smile and chuckle <3

    • the incurable dreamer

      Thanks, Cathy! I am so happy I gave you a giggle and brought a smile to your face! ?

  5. hehehe Now that I now this is a “safe place” I can come out of the closet (a little).
    I miss Matilda bay wine coolers in a box. I miss how sexy I thought I was with my mullet. I miss songs like “Relax” that made me do anything but.

    I don’t remember clam shell zippers, but now I have a burned-into-my-brain visual I’m gonna have to try to forget 😉

    You are an hilariously candid writer Tanya. Love it, even when it hurts.

    • the incurable dreamer

      My blog is definitely a ‘safe place’ and I am so thrilled you felt comfortable enough to share this very revealing information about your love for boxed coolers and rocking a mullet. I applaud your courage. And be glad you don’t remember the zipper pants, they were an abomination and seriously disturbing! And thanks for the compliment, Gabe. I think sometimes it might be too much information, but whatever, I just want to keep it real. And my life has been anything but normal! ?

  6. Because Gabe mentioned you in his last post, thought I’d stop over for a visit. Yikes, as you were born I was graduating from high school. Nonetheless, I appreciated your reflective journey through various emotions.

    • the incurable dreamer

      aFrankAngle – I am so happy Gabe brought you my way. Thanks so much for reading and the comment, I very much appreciate it! Honestly, every day I wonder how it is already 2016, but it means everything to be able to look back and remember. I bet you have some stories about the 70’s!
      Have a great weekend! 🙂

      • LOL … Every generation has tails, but all are relative as compared to what … so in the big picture, I’m tame. 😉

  7. Absolutely love this post! Class of ’86 here and your words totally brought back the memories of my youth. Rocking the parachute pants. Tank tops that had arm holes that went all the way down to your waist. I’m embarrassed to say the first time I got drunk, it was in a 7-11 parking lot and I was drinking Bartles and James wine coolers. Before I could drive I walked 2 miles to school. Could you imagine a kid doing that now? Dad drove the pickup and we all piled in the back, bouncing and holding on for dear life. Did a lot of stupid shit and still survived it. Thanks for firing up the way back machine for me.

    • the incurable dreamer

      Thank you so much for reading and for commenting! I am so happy I was able to take you on a trip down memory lane! Parachute pants – I totally forgot about those!! Ha! I spent a few nights with Bartles and James wine coolers also, but my heart always belonged to Rockaberry! And NO…there is not a chance in hell any kid would walk 2 miles to school now! We were seriously hard core back then and how any of us survived is a complete mystery! ?

  8. Oh my gawd the zipper pants!!! Yes! Everyone was allowed to wear them but me. I loved the ’80s. Unfortunately my parents chained me to a very large rock and only allowed me to wander out into the garden to forage for vegetables during the 80s, so I can’t relate to the partying et cetera. I certainly MORE than made up for it in the early 90s when I had freedom where I began making poor life choices and I still haven’t stopped as evidenced by my entire life being one train wreck after another.

    I enjoy your writing! It’s very vivid and draws me in as if I were actually there.

    • the incurable dreamer

      Man, do you ever make me laugh! Despite the poor parenting choices you were subjected to, I am glad you maintained your sense of humour. Your parents not allowing you to wear those pants, though, was a really damn good decision – THEY were a trainwreck!
      You, my dear, are making the best out of what life has handed you and I think you are doing fucking great! Keep writing, keep laughing and never give up! Thanks so much for the compliment, I am so happy you enjoy reading my blog because I sure enjoy yours! 🙂

  9. Di

    Hello Tanya!
    This is a lovely piece of writing full of special memories and some fun lines too! Yes, time is surely going very fast, and we are all in that together. I couldn’t help but love your words ‘memories colliding’. Such powerful imagery.
    And I had a good chuckle over your fear of the eclipse… I was young when there was one in the 70’s and I was soooo afraid I’d catch a glimpse somehow, or that some roving beam would bend itself and hit my eyeballs! Fun memories, thank you ????

    • the incurable dreamer

      Di, I am so happy to know that someone else out there had the same fear of the eclipse! I was absolutely terrified; however, the teachers put cardboard on all the windows and made a huge deal out of the whole thing. It has stuck with me ever since! haha. Thanks for reading and the wonderful comment! 🙂

  10. Di

    Hello again Tanya!
    Oh I certainly did identify with you. And when it comes around again, I’ll be under the bed most likely… no fear of stray rays under there!
    And it’s my pleasure to read your posts. Very fun but with a serious side too that offers us something to consider. Thank you ???

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