I was sixteen forever ago. That doesn't mean I don't remember it. Quite the contrary: I remember it all quite vividly. That is the very nature of adolescence. Everything is painted in the brightest colors, the starkest contrasts. The friends you make as a teenager are your soulmates. Every decision is life and death. It is all big. It is all beautiful. It is all important. Until it isn't.
These were my thoughts as I sat and watched MTV's "Sixteen And Pregnant." I'm not generally big on reality television, but this was a Saturday afternoon when it was pouring rain and the rest of my family had gone off to do this or that. I was left at the whim of my remote control. I watched as Leah was forced to give up her spot on the cheerleading squad and move into a mobile home in West Virginia. Not with the love of her life, but with "the transition guy." And then come the complications. And then come the twins. After a few months, she's ready to go back to school, leaving the kids with dad while she attempts to regain her former glory. The trouble is, she had only been dating Corey for a month when they were, pardon the pun, thrust together. In spite of their mutual devotion to their babies, the relationship only has enough gas to get them halfway through Leah's senior year. Before Valentine's Day, they have split up. Leah moves back in with her mom, who helps take care of the twins as she learns that Corey has begun dating another girl.
Tragic. And all so completely avoidable. The passion, the confusion, the tears. I was there too, once upon a time. Not exactly, but thereabouts. It was sad, and it was exhilarating. I laughed harder then. I cried harder too. I watched those teen-aged hearts break and I had to turn away. It was too sad. It was all too much.