Now and Then

A few weeks ago, I read that Netflix was adding one of my most treasured pre-teen movies to its service. Now and Then came out when my friends and I were starting to go through the fun years of puberty and figuring out who we were. At the time I had three close friends, so naturally we decided this movie was “sooooo us”.

As I watched it (the very day it was available, thank you very much), nostalgia filled the room. I recalled the girls from my hometown and wondered how many times we saw this movie. Many memories have faded over time, after all, I was just thirteen at the time this movie made its debut. But what was surprising to me were the emotions evoked as I watched these characters again.

There were four girls as the main characters. The film shows us both the young and adult versions of these ladies. Roberta was the tom-boy, who wasn’t afraid to rough house with the boys or stand up for herself. She fought puberty, not wanting to deal with any “girly” issues. Samantha had long dark hair, was interested in science fiction, and was quietly dealing with the split up of her parents. Teeny was the outgoing, dramatic, daring girl who was ready to be a “woman”. Lastly, Chrissy was the goody-goody, rule-following, naive one with a protective mother.

Of course as kids do (or we used to anyway), we assigned who we thought fit each character best. My friends chose me as Chrissy. At the time, I remember feeling disappointed and hurt that this was how they saw me. Mostly because this character was “the fat one”. She was eating Twinkies, didn’t want to smoke, and said things like “Don’t swear!” She was the least cool.

My initial emotional reaction as I began watching was one of defense. Isn’t it funny how almost 25 years later (YIKES) I still felt like that excluded teenager? I know now that my friends had no intention of hurting my feelings, or probably even realized that it did. They were right. I followed the rules. I listened to my mother. I didn’t want to get in trouble. Like Chrissy, I did feel insecure about my looks. But I also was compassionate like her, willing to help, and a loyal friend.

Chrissy was the only one who tried to do CPR when they thought one of the other girls needed it. She loved her friends fiercely. The adult version of Chrissy becomes a proud mom and is married happily. She is the one who brings all four girls back together, and promises to keep doing so. Yes, her mother may have been overprotective, but I am exactly the same way as a mom. (It just means we care too much!)

How glad I am that I am a Chrissy. I know it hurt my feelings back then, but what did I know as a thirteen year old?? I know now that if I had to choose a character to be, it would be her. Of course, Sam was the writer and Roberta loved sports (I love both of these things) so none of these characters are exactly right choices as my friends and me. And I know my childhood friends have all grown up to be loving, successful, compassionate women and mothers. What this made me realize was how glad I am that I stopped fighting my personality and strengths.

I am thankful that I (mostly) followed the rules. I am proud that I was a compassionate and loyal friend. And the best thing I have ever done was to become a mother. Watching this film again was therapeutic. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am really stepping into who I am meant to be. I am writing, I am a beloved wife, mother, and friend, I am serving my church, and finally getting physically fit again.

I am embracing who God made me to be. And I thank Him for the experiences and friendships He has given me to do so. Don’t be afraid to be a Chrissy. ❤

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