05 Jun Maybe this is a love letter to the 90s and early 00s
This might be a blog about how we’re a product of our environments.
I grew up in a middle-class home on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The oldest sister of two sisters. I grew up going to church on Sundays, until I abandoned most things related to religion so that I could sleep in on Sundays and watch the South Park Christmas Special on Christmas Eve. I grew up knowing that smoking would kill and that if my mother ever saw me lift a cigarette to my lips, I’d likely be living somewhere else. (That fear had staying power because at 35 I’ve still never smoked a cigarette, instead I chose to date many, many smokers). I am who I am because of all of this, and more that I haven’t listed. But one thing I haven’t mentioned that plays as much a role in who I am as the house I grew up in and the family that loves me, is that I am a child of the 90s and early 2000s.
Technically, and begrudgingly, I would be considered a “millennial.” I have no real attachment to that term except for the fact that every time someone mentions millennials I bristle because hell that term covers a large swath of people with varied experiences and some of those millennials didn’t grow up with Dawson’s Creek, Backstreet Boys, Ryan Phillippe, MSN Messenger and a time with Dial-Up Internet.
In my teens and early 20s, I thought it would be way cooler to be a child of the 80s. I spent a lot of time hiding my deep love of the Backstreet Boys, all things Leonard DiCaprio and that I’ve watched 10 Things I Hate About You more times that makes sense. Maybe it took me until my 30s, when I started writing personal essays, when I started opening up parts of myself that I didn’t really understand. Attempting to make sense of things in my past or searching for answers to questions about what happened, led me to the 90s and the early 00s because like my step-kids, like the kids I’ve worked with in writing classes, I was a sponge absorbing every bit of pop culture that was surrounded me. Sure, it was harder to get music videos and topless photos of teen heart throbs then because I grew up in that interesting time before the Internet; I remember getting a home PC with Dial-Up and then in my late teens met my first love on the Internet (remember ICQ?). But I had VHS tapes where I recorded music videos, and collected magazines with my favourite leading men and singers in them.
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the movies, TV, music and books that helped build a foundation for the adult I became, but now I want to give it more love because the 90s were a weird and wonderful time with so many strange and lovely pop culture moments that need their time in the spotlight, like when was the last time you watched a Backstreet Boys music video on YouTube and belted out all the lyrics, which is amazing in its own way because sometimes I can’t remember where I put my car keys but I will always remember the words to “Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely.”
This blog might be about how the 90s helped make me who I am, and maybe made all of us late millennials who we are, but even more than that, it’s a love letter to boy bands, crimpers, roll on eye glitter, Lip Smackers, Pacey Whitter and YTV’s Hit List, and myself when I felt weird and awkward in the 90s.