My So-Called Life

Tonight while idly flicking through Netflix for a cheesy film to watch, I came across a TV series I loved as a teenager – My So-Called Life. After some time toying over whether or not to brave the potential incoming disappointment that can accompany older programmes, I decided to fire up the very first episode. An hour later and here I sit in quite a poignant mood. Not because the show seemed poorly acted or had aged badly but because it was still good, perhaps too good. It has taken me back to the mid-1990s when I was 14-15 years old and stirred up memories and emotions from that time, not just the crush that many girls my age had on Jared Leto, but something deeper. School days are easier for some than others. I really have no cause for complaint. I went to a very good girls grammar school and had friends but I never felt right, I never fit in properly and disliked most of my time there. The best thing I did was choose to leave at the age of 16 to go to an edge-of-London college. It was a shock to my parents and teachers but I longed for a less stifling environment, a mix of people I would never get in a middle class bubble.

I remember relating strongly to Angela in My So-Called Life. At the same time as Angela was trying to ‘find herself’ and discover her identity, so was I. The show evokes the mood of the 90s perfectly. REM played over one scene, the clothes are baggy and grungy. Sure it’s Americanised but familiar enough to those of us over both sides of the Atlantic. I tried different hobbies, different music, in my attempts to feel ‘right’ but it was only through the internet and talking on ICQ and Compuserve chatrooms to numerous other isolated goths and geeks that I started to find my little niche in the world.

Nostalgia is a funny thing. Those of us who live parts of our lives online experience it most days. Conversations about old computer games or cartoons are stock favourites on Twitter. This is more bittersweet though and it’s a yearning to return to the past, not to relive it, but to reassure myself. I am now in my thirties and I still have moments when I wonder who I am or what the hell I am doing with my life. I don’t know whether or not these feelings are personal to me or common for everyone. Perhaps when I’m back in 1995 breaking it gently to past-me that I won’t magically discover myself, that people continuously change who they are, I’ll also tell her to listen to more Alice Cooper and less Take That.

I’m not sure I’ll be watching anymore My So-Called Life. It’s been a stark reminder of life as a teenager and I actually quite like being 31 so maybe it’s for the best that I stop poking at the past and let my 15 year old self lie in peace.

One Response to "My So-Called Life"

  1. VezJJ says:

    i’m older than you and I sometimes feel the same its not just you! Jordan Catalano = yummy!!

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