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  • Writer's pictureMorgan Hagey

Stuck in the Past

I’ve been thinking a lot about high school Morgan. Do you ever do that? Get stuck in a thought pattern or a timeline, or a feeling, or just a memory?

Teen-Morgs was a lot of things. She was obsessed with music and theater. She was panicked about her body, and anyone noticing her. This was a huge issue because of the previously mentioned music and theater obsession. It was easier to hide behind characters, so that helped. The attention and notice she craved was stroked by pretending to be other people.

Morgan was always trying so damn hard. Just thinking of her 25 years ago hurts because she never ever got to just be. She was always trying to be a perfect student, a perfect friend, a perfect actress, have the perfect body (oh the BODY ISSUES), the perfect Mormon, the perfect Christian, the perfect EVERYTHING.

I’m not sure why. I mean, I know religiosity was legit, and I just wanted to do God right. My parents taught us well, so it wasn’t scrupulosity in any way, just grace and repentance and trying harder. So, I hit the Mormonism hard every single morning at early morning religion classes, then hit the Christianity hard with my friends at Bible Study. I felt a sense of belonging to both places, and loved to flow between both.

My friends were my lifeline. I’m still in touch with basically all of my closest friends, but we all live far from one another. They saved me, those girls. We laughed and joked, and played, and wore funny costumes, and baked, and floated in hot tubs and cow ponds.

My very best memories of high school revolve around those people. Those people, and the stage I loved.

When I wasn’t at rehearsal, I still spent most Friday nights at home, watching my younger siblings. I didn’t mind. I loved being home. I loved that safety. I was super lucky that I have amazing parents, and home was a refuge, even if I sometimes *ahem* fought with my brother.

I was really lucky, really damn lucky, to get out of high school relatively unscathed, and yet, I still remember mean things that were said, comments that were made, fights that we had. Twenty years later, it’s all still in me. Shaping me.

But, the thing I’ve been thinking of a lot lately, is worrying how that Morgan would be aghast at current Morgan. I don’t think I’ve accomplished a single thing that twenty years ago Morgan planned. Yes, I’m a mother and a wife, and I was raised to want those things. So, I guess she’d be good with that. But the rest? She’d be so unimpressed.

I know teens are designed to be idealistic. They want to change the world, and make a difference, and be known, and make their mark. And I was no exception. So, to see me, cranking away day after day on the hamster wheel… she’d tell me to get off the wheel and run.

That girl doesn’t understand bills to pay and mouths to feed of course. She doesn’t fathom how much seven children cost. She gets it, right, but she doesn’t know.

Morgan was so hard on herself that I just want to go back in time to hug her, remind her she is more than enough, and let her sleep in. Teen-Morgan was so very tired. But I think teen Morgan would tell me the same thing. If I could show her the path that got us here, I think she’d be like, “Oh, I get it. Damn, good job.” Then maybe she’d let me sleep in. Because this Morgan is also so very tired.

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