Some people take a lot of pictures to save memories. I write. I didn’t know I liked it until my high school English teacher complimented me and kept pushing me to do it. We had to write on a journal about different topics. Everyone hated it but I secretly loved it.

What a pleasure to have found them! How could I have known I would read them 26 years later! The best part is I can recall every single feeling I had when I wrote each paragraph. Reading about my thoughts as a teenager, now that I have my own, has been an eye-opener.

I didn’t know I was going through a phase. I didn’t think I was doing anything out of place. Life was supposed to be that way. The term adolescence meant nothing to me. I lived life to the fullest. I was the queen, the fairy god mother and the princess of my own imaginary castle all at once.

My preoccupations, which now seem senseless of course, were a big deal back then. Life might as well have been over after tragic decisions like cutting my hair too short.

If my kids could see me when I was a high schooler…

Well girls, have I got news for you! Yes, I wasn’t always this lecturing, middle-aged woman who sticks her index finer out and rants endlessly.

I didn’t like most of my teachers. I didn’t go to bed early. I complained all the time. I locked myself up in my bedroom and fuss about anything and everything. I even flunked my first test ever. I went from “honor-roll-student-status” to “you-only-live-once-status”.

Whatever my friends thought about life and the universe was written in stone, whether it made sense or not. And of course, I seldom asked myself if I should jump off a bridge just because everyone else was doing it.

I got into big fights with my brother and yes… I had a God given talent: I could make myself cry on cue, with the perfect timing and the perfect intensity to snuggle my way out of trouble and avoid punishment. Oh yes, I was Oscar worthy.

But if there was one thing, just one only thing I remember I would inevitably get punished for, it was slamming my bedroom door to make a statement at the end of my pointless dramas.

Did I like to get my parents all worked up? Yep. Did I think about the consequences? Nope. So, you guessed it. Slamming the door was my favorite sport. Even though it would get me in trouble. Every. Single. Time.

What a headache I must have been. Ugh.

Teenage years, people called it. I didn’t know what to call it. The world owed me. I was always right. When something didn’t go my way, then it was unfair. Or so I thought.

Oh, I learned my lessons. I learned some of them the hard way. I used the headfirst approach and got hit really hard.

I can only guess what my parents must be thinking when they watch me be the grown-up now. Trying my best to be a good mother and then getting slammed in the face. Maybe not by a door, but slammed nonetheless.

Dearest mom and dad, you have my permission to secretly giggle behind my back. I won’t feel offended. Not one bit. It’s called karma and boy… does it ever get back at you!

High school years were probably the most fun: the inocence, the chills, the drama, the excitement, the mood swings (I kept those, just in case) and the unbelievingly surprising feeling that the world was mine. The future was mine. I was the beholder of power and truth. Nothing could hurt me.

Of course a lot of things have changed. I didn’t see it coming, and suddenly I’m the responsible grown up. It’s a “slap-in-the-face” moment. Gasp and all.

After all this years, when all is said and done, I think I turned out just fine. I have my head on my shoulders and I actually use it to think.

Other things I wrote about didn’t come true, like running my own multibillionaire busssiness or becoming a famous piano player.

I’m quite pleased my intention to get married and have children became real. It was God sent that I even got what my heart desired most: my own little girls. I wrote quite clearly I wanted to be a mom to just girls. I would imagine them in pigtails, pretty dresses and mary janes. And that’s just the way I dressed them, until they had a say in it, of course.

And then there are the things which remain the same. My friends who laughed with me, cried with me and went crazy with me are still my friends. We still laugh together, cry together and go crazy together.

Oh, and one more thing. I’ll be forever stuck in the 80’s music. That’s just the way it is..

Thank you mom and dad for standing your ground and being firm with me every time I came up with something stupid. Thanks for limiting and restraining permissions even though I would throw crying fits. Thank you for for not giving in when I would beg for things that made no sense.

Thanks to my English teacher. Her note on the last page of one of my journals left a mark in me. Many years later, I’m still doing what she encouraged me to do. Of course this post had to be written in English!

-Tania Armenta

Here’s to teachers around the world who make a difference. Here’s to mine.