Since quarantine started for me in mid-March, I’ve noticed myself turning to the things that comforted me when I was younger. I signed up for a new Neopets account and have been logging on to play mini Flash games or at least to feed my pets and collect my interest from the bank every day for over a month now. I ordered hundreds of pony beads and Rexlace so I could make pony bead animal keychains and tie lanyards. All things I did in elementary school.
When I mentioned to my friend Myla over FaceTime that I was not picking up new hobbies, but old ones I loved in the ‘90s and early ‘00s and she asked me why I thought I was doing it.
I think I’m doing it because being homebound like this reminds me of summer breaks in elementary school all the way up until high school when I could drive. In elementary school, my sister and I didn’t have any extracurricular activities outside of school. And as a single mom, she worked a lot. So in the summers, why she was at work during the day, my sister and I would watch TV and eat cereal and Hot Pockets all day. When my mom married my stepdad in middle school, he was very strict and controlling, so we weren’t technically allowed to leave the house during the day in the summers most of the time. If we did, we’d sneak out and go to the park or meet up with friends in the neighborhood or take the bus to the mall, being sure to get home before he and my mom got back from work. But most days, we just stayed home, watching TV, eating Hot Pockets and Ramen, and taking turns on the family computer to talk to our friends on Myspace.
Being stuck at home like this, feels a lot like my childhood summer vacations. I didn’t have many friend and the few friends I did have, I wasn’t allowed to hang out with them much. So I spent a lot of time at home and in my room entertaining myself. I’ve been eating and snacking on a lot of the same things I did during those summer vacations too. Hot Pockets, Chef Boyardee ravioli, Kraft macaroni and cheese, Neapolitan ice cream, fish sticks. I guess I’ve been embracing/revisiting my inner child I guess.
I’ve also been feeling really nostalgic for the way I dressed in middle school during my emo years. I ordered a pair of bootcut jeans from Abercrombie (a brand I could not afford then) and I have three more pairs of bootcut jeans on their way from Old Navy. The other week I met up with Myla in the park by my apartment. We sat six feet apart under a tree and drank Olympia tall boys. I was wearing my bootcut jeans, a band tee, a zip up hoodie and black hi-top Chucks. I felt like I was back in middle school, running around the neighborhood with my friends. But back then, our version of being bad was loitering outside the 7-Eleven.
A week later, we met up with a couple friends at night in another park with a fire pit and beer and I wore pretty much the same outfit, but with a pullover hoodie of my middle school and my velour Juicy Couture hobo bag. Even walking to the park as the sun was going down reminded me so much of summers with my friends in the suburbs.
For the past couple weeks, I’ve been scouring Poshmark and eBay every day looking for more clothing that reminded me of the way I dressed in middle school. Fitted graphic tees, hoodies, Converse, and lots of Emily the Strange. But the difference now is that I can be a lot more selective, understand what will flatter my body, and I’m just much cuter than I was back then.
Here’s what I’ve ordered so far:
And here’s what else I’m planning to order:
I’m still searching for the perfect pair of Dickies and skater jeans. I basically want to look like a cross between current day Hayley Williams and 2002 Avril Lavigne.
I’ve been wanting more of that feeling of youthful abandon. I’ve been getting it in waves the past couple of years going to see my boyfriend’s bands play house shows and in venues I used to frequent as a teenager. I really miss that. And if and when we can return to that, I’m excited to compound on that feeling with my middle school/emo revival look.