An Open Love Letter to Greta Gerwig
A Long-Winded, Meandering Review of Lady Bird
The year is 2002. I've just started the eighth grade and am shy and awkward and wear my hair parted down the middle. I love my bright blue track pants and wear a retainer that I proudly display every time I smile.
I'm on my family's PC — on MSN — talking to the "new guy" at school (my crush, naturally), and his friend who also happens to be my good friend.
"Do you think he likes me?" I ask.
"I'll ask," responds my friend.
I wait patiently.
My crush's status changes to a lyric from Dave Matthew's Band: "I do know where you go is where I want to be."
My heart skips a beat.
"Is his status about me?" I ask.
My friend responds with a :P emoticon.
I freak out.
We end up "going out" for about two weeks (cuddling in the halls, holding hands, etc) and break up after a particularly dramatic seven minutes in heaven at my friend's birthday.
We are locked in a bathroom together, the entire party listening on the other side of the door — waiting for us to make out. Instead, I spend most of the time staring at the ground trying to figure out how to seductively take my retainer out before sticking my tongue down his throat.
I never did make out with him that night.
Fast-forward to 2003: I am now 13, going on 14 thank-you-very-much, and am wearing make-up, crop tops, and am "dating" a 21-year-old.
My long-forgotten crush now seems like a child and the girl I was just a little over 12 months ago is essentially dead to me (on the outside at least).
With my new-found confidence and maturity, I'm able to be myself around my ex-crush and we end up really enjoying each other.
And then we date again. Only this time, for real. I — as a ballsy 13-year-old — ghosted the 21-year-old and ran back to the arms of my first major crush — who then became my first lay, my first love, my first everything.
Our song that year: "Crash Into Me" - Dave Matthews Band
CUT TO: me in 2017, 27-going-on-28 but let's just keep our lips zipped about that — sitting in a movie theatre about to watch Lady Bird because I'm obsessed with Greta Gerwig and am an aspiring filmmaker myself and am so proud of her for having her directorial debut that I can't wait to see what she's put together.
CUT TO: me, an hour and a half later, in the same movie theatre, weeping.
Thank you for transporting me back to the years of my life I treasure the most — the awkward, clumsy, and confusion-filled years of my young adolescence — when every boy was a target, every girl was either a friend or a foe, and a closed door meant my parents were to LEAVE ME ALONE.
Thank you for beautifully depicting what it's like to be a young girl in North America — a girl with dreams and wishes and unrelenting acne.
Thank you for your honesty, for your candor and for putting so much heart into this lovely, simple story about growing up that means so much to so many people.
Thank you for giving teenage girls a voice and reminding them (and all women alike) that we are worthy of telling our stories and that we are important.
Thank you for reminding me why I'm pursuing a career in film — to make people feel the way I felt after watching this movie. I was profoundly touched and my hearty was warm.
But most importantly, thank you for reminding me how much Dave Matthews Band means to me and what a huge part those songs played in my daily life.
I can't wait to see what you make next.