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.

  • Kate
    Posted at 14:43h, 05 June Reply

    Loved it! An 80s girl myself, more ‘generation x’ , the first of the lettered generations…;) deeply relate to all things pop…

    • megzy86
      Posted at 19:36h, 06 June Reply

      Thanks Kate! I’ll admit for a long time I wanted to be an 80s girl but I think there was a lot of cross over in the early 90s. I definitely rocked a side ponytail and stirrup pants for a few years.

  • lindsayehobbs
    Posted at 16:41h, 06 June Reply

    Yes! The ’90s were a Golden Age, I think of them fondly. I was born in ’80, so consider myself a legitimate child of both the ’80s and the ’90s. I feel you about the Lip Smackers, crimpers, Leo, and the arrival dial-up internet. I also had a bedroom plastered in glossy pictures of Christian Slater from Teen Beat magazine. 🙂 Thanks for this ode to the pop culture of our childhoods. <3

    • megzy86
      Posted at 19:37h, 06 June Reply

      It took me a while to fully appreciate the magic of the 90s. My bedroom was plastered with glossy photos of Leo from any every magazine I could find. Thanks for reading!

  • Strawberry Thief
    Posted at 18:45h, 06 June Reply

    When I saw you mention MSN Messenger I thought to myself “what about ICQ?!” and was greatly relieved when it did get its due. Also a child of the 90s – an elder Millennial – I have heaps of nostalgia for that time. I recently re-discovered Salt ‘N’ Pepa’s Very Necessary and was thrilled to still remember so many of the lyrics. (And I would really appreciate Lip Smackers coming back with the accompanying necklaces to ensure my lip balm never gets lost.)

    • megzy86
      Posted at 19:40h, 06 June Reply

      It must be that all those lyrics got stuck in our brains before they were fully formed and now they’re stuck there forever. These songs and the time they are from seem to be part of me on a cellular level. I still remember when a night club in Victoria started doing a 90s night and I realized that maybe there was something cool about the 90s. 🙂 Thanks fo reading!

  • saffrina
    Posted at 19:27h, 06 June Reply

    Dawsons Creek and The Simpsons. I was frequently grounded in the 90’s, yet I don’t think I missed an episode.

    • megzy86
      Posted at 19:42h, 06 June Reply

      The thing I’ve always wondered is how I was allowed to watch Dawson’s Creek. My mom was pretty diligent about allowing TV that was age appropriate, and yeah Dawson’s Creek was teen content, but I really don’t know how it passed the mom test. The Simpsons didn’t. I wasn’t allowed to watch The Simpsons until I was in Grade 11 (I watched it before then but only when my parents weren’t home.)

  • Jilanna
    Posted at 14:39h, 11 June Reply

    I’m 44 and I always felt between decades. I didn’t think I had any music that was “mine” until a few months ago when I was painting my bathroom and listening to Spotify. Turns out, I have dedicated a lot of RAM to music from 1990-1991 (when I first ordered from Columbia House and we briefly had cable at home), 1994 (grad year), and very late nineties Top 40 (my roommate’s favourite and she had a car). And there is a deep well of stored Canadian music from the 1990s too. If you ever want to have a singalong to BSB’s “I Want It That Way” let me know!

    As for TV, I too had a Mum who was careful but sometimes uneven about TV. I remember telling her that my younger sisters probably shouldn’t watch a particular episode of Degrassi Junior High (Spike getting pregnant / finding out she was pregnant) and she replied that if it wasn’t appropriate for them, it wasn’t appropriate for me. Later, she stopped caring at all. And when I was a teenager I had to try to enforce a family’s rule for their 10 year old son about The Simpsons.

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