Its Complicated: The American Teenager

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So about 10 years ago, my friends and I were walking down the street in the U district in Seattle, when a crazy lady in a loaded-with-junk car started shouting out her window at us.

"Are you teenagers?! Are you teenagers?!".

Um... yes?

Well that lady turned out to be a really talented photojournalist named Robin Bowman (I drool over her work), who was on a 5 year journey, crossing from one end of the country to the other, and maybe back again, putting together a beautiful book filled with some of the most amazing black and white portraits I've ever seen, with equally honest stories to go with them.

...long story short.

I finally bought the book. Its been on my wishlist for years, having never seen my page, but it wasn't until we found it used for a can't-pass-up price that we decided to go ahead and purchase it.

I have to admit though- out of all of the questions that she asked me, out of everything that her and I talked about- I'm horribly dissapointed with my quote that she published. I used the word "like" at least 20 times, my sentances were choppy and incomplete, but the worst part of it all was my lack of message. I feel like she took a stupid ramble from a bubblegum chewing mouth, caught between heartfelt and important conversation, and used that as the paint to decorate my wall.

Its not her fault. I'm the one that said it. Said silly things about wanting to be rich, so that people looked up to me ( ...surely my tone was full of sarcasm, right?!), said that I wanted to be a rockstar (whhhy, Tia, whhhy?), said that I was discriminated because I was fat (which I was- so that one is alright).

I wish I knew what else 18 year old Tia had to say. How did I answer the rest of Robin's questions?

I wish I could go back and give that Tia a pat on the back and let her know that she would soon find the happiness that she was so frantically searching for, and to just hang in there. I know my self esteem at the time was probably tucked away into a little handmade treasure chest, resting at the bottom of the pudget sound, so- hearing that I would truly be okay would have been nice. Hearing it and then believing it would have been even better.

But its still pretty cool that me, 9 years ago, is published forever in a book. And that I got photographed by such an amazing artist, who I've grown to admire.

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