2/13 at Seventeen 

  
But don’t get hung up on it, just soldier on with it and good luck with shootin’ the moon. 

At 17 I displayed this quote on my Facebook wall, thinking I cleverly masked my pain caused by a dumb boy with lyrics  obscure enough  to make me look both sophisticated and mysterious. But really I heard the song on New Moon, which pretty much summed up my naïveté and lack of sophistication. 

As a refresher, if you don’t know, New Moon is the second part of the Twilight saga. Edward, the sparkly vampire, has just broken up with Bella, the emo chick who loses her identity a week into her infatuation with Edward. The first 20 minutes of the movie are consumed with her nightmares about growing up and looking older than her never-aging boyfriend; she wants him to turn her into a vampire and says she doesn’t care about her soul if she isn’t with him. 

The damaging message this sends to girls is obvious to me now, but I’m sad to remember what I felt like when I identified with her then. 

My parents raised me to be independent and always reminded me I can dream and be anything I want to. They were right. The path from point A to B is more of an obstacle course than a one line road map, and I’ve found love is the same way. 

If I could go back in time, I would tell that girl that named her dog after Bella Swan that there is more to dreams and love than one boy. I would tell her to be strong and to dream big and to never believe that a half love at 17 was as far as she was going to get. 

I would tell her to stop looking outside of herself for happiness and that a Valentine’s date isn’t the only measure of a fairy tale life. I would tell her she is beautiful and amazing and that it’s okay to stop and smell the roses, but to not lose heart when they leave her with thorns because she needs to keep moving. 

I would tell her to chin up and smile ahead because she will fall in love a million times by 23, and not at all how she expected.

She needed to know that love can be a Nicholas Sparks novel, but most importantly it’s  a passion for life. 

So I would tell her to send good thoughts to the boy but walk on because she has an infinity to love, and not to bother with shooting the Alabama moon. 

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