On Tuesday night, I saw Dear Evan Hansen.
I fully expected to be a blubbering mess by the end of the movie. I had a package of tissues nearby to mop up the mascara that I feared would be running down my face. Instead, I found myself reliving the horrors of high school.
With hindsight and age, I realize that I was born thirty years too soon. Utterly misunderstood, I was fond of freakishly colored hair, neon clothes, makeup drawings on my face, and multi-colored fingernails. The fact that my boyfriend was a long-haired headbanger with earrings didn’t help either. Wherever we went, people would stop, stare, and laugh.
Being a teenager with no desirable talents like athleticism, singing/acting ability, classic beauty, a fabulous figure, or extraordinary brains is hard. I suffered from depression that was not discussed or diagnosed in those days. If I hadn’t had parents who accepted and loved me unconditionally, I fear I wouldn’t have made it.
I was the girl who experienced a wardrobe malfunction (similar to Janet Jackson’s at the 2004 Superbowl) before the Homecoming Pep Rally, so I had to wear my winter jacket to cover my humiliation. Unfortunately, it was the only fall afternoon in Michigan that had risen to over eighty degrees, making the gym well over 100 degrees in all the excitement. My friends couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t remove my jacket even though buckets of sweat poured down my face.
The moment I graduated high school, I decided I could define who I wanted to be. I was still accident-prone, but a socially acceptable level of unconventional. So I became the person high school never allowed me to be. It was my moment that I could have told Evan Hansen, “It DOES get better.”
Surprisingly, Julianne Moore’s song in the movie, ‘So Big/So Small,’ almost broke me. Though the song talks about a mother who has the singular responsibility of her child after his father leaves, I think its universal theme rocks every single mother.
And I knew there would be moments I’d miss
And I knew there would be space I couldn’t fill
And I knew I’d come up short a billion different ways
And I did
And I do
And I will
As mothers, we ask ourselves a million times, “Am I good enough?” The guilt, fear, and heartache run deep regarding our baby dumplings. Unfortunately, nothing will ever prepare you for those feelings.
Still, I’d do it a thousand times over rather than go back to high school.
You are good enough.