“I Think When You’re Young You Should be a Lot with Yourself and Your Sufferings….”
I never outgrew my girlish adolescent habit of sticking overtly sentimental quotes on bedroom walls. My collection is still there, hanging loud and proud, cramped between photos of Lucille Ball and Bette Davis. One of the quotes that I printed out says:
“I think when you’re young you should be a lot with yourself and your sufferings. Then one day you get out where the sun shines and the rain rains and the snow snows and it all comes together.”
–Diana Vreeland (1903-1989) Editor at fashion magazines, Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. My personal heroine.
This quote instantly resonated. It was a relief to discover a viewpoint that contradicts the societal assumption that youth is merely an exhaustive string of booze fests, promiscuous nights, and general blitheness. I craved to know that even if my existence failed to measure up to secular depictions of a 20-something woman—with a doting lover on one side and a white-hot career on the other—then I would still be alright. I ached to realize that even if I didn’t meet my community’s standards for the 20-something woman—baking quiches for her in-laws’ arrival and wiping the last traces of ice cream from her toddler’s lips—then I would still be alright.
Expectation of 20-something female # 1 Expectation of 20-something female #2
I was, as they say, “a mess of a gorgeous chaos” at the time when I came across Diana Vreeland’s words. I desperately needed reassurance that my young years weren’t fleeing me, and if they were, then I still needn’t panic. Sunshine would eventually pour across my shoulders and penetrate into my tired heart…