I remember being seventeen. It's a fragile age and no explanations are needed. If you're looking back at 17, you know why.
The new Miss America is just seventeen years old. I don't judge her in the least, though I'm not a fan of the contest. I guess I feel a little touch of sadness over the "look" of seventeen, even taking into consideration the stage make-up and the fact that not all girls are so adult looking. Believe me, my mother didn't think my friends and I looked like teenagers in the way she and her friends did either and her mother...and on and on. It's always this way.
It's odd that these young women are presented as the grown-up ideal and yet when they reach the age that most of them look, they'll no doubt feel the pressure to look younger. I think Susan Sarandon had the right idea when she said something to the effect of, "If you don't appreciate your beauty at twenty-five then you're in for a long hard road." It's taken years for me to understand that idea and believe me, the road between seventeen and forty-one hasn't been easy in that sense. I'm becoming more gentle with myself, but I have some regrets for not appreciating my "girl-hood" more, always pushing to look older and experience adult things. However, now I must remember that when I turn sixty, I'll be the most happy if I spent my forties appreciating myself and being present in the moments.
Songwriters seem to recognize the fragility of seventeen. There are at least five songs I can think of off the top of my head that reference a girl being seventeen.
However, other than Stevie Nick's Edge of Seventeen, this one really popped out:
Oh Janis, if only you could have seen yourself. So beautiful.
I'll never forget seeing a clip of Johnny Carson's reaction when she answered his question about why she wrote the song. He was so saddened to look at this young woman sitting next to him and know that at any minute she'd felt so ugly, but later she said this,"To me it's never been a depressing song. It says 'ugly duckling girls like me,' and to me the ugly duckling always turns into a swan. It offers hope that there is a world out there of people who understand."
I think it's interesting to read the comments below the the video on youtube...so many people related to this song. It was a squinch (scant inch) before my time, but the first time I heard it (on that Tonight Show clip) I was hooked on Janis.
In other news, this little set is on sale and with free Priority Shipping in the shop:
Oh well, this a little melancholy for a bright Sunday morning, but that will soon change and I am preparing to have a freshly baked orange roll and Netflix is calling my name! Happy Sunday!