Do you remember growing up in the ‘90s or early 2000s? Was it filled with good, bad, or downright embarrassing moments? The barrettes, the furbies, the denim, everything? Oh, and let’s not forget the collection of VHS movies.
I recently watched Kid 90 on Prime Video the other day. It takes a look at young Hollywood teens growing in the ‘90s through the eyes of Soliel Moon Frye, star of the 80’s sitcom Punky Brewster. The documentary was about footage she filmed throughout her life as a teen. It was like the uncut version, the super authentic side of Hollywood teens.
Soliel Moon Frye asked the question, “Did things really happen the way I remembered them? Were those memories actually real, or were they put in place to make a shitty moment better?” And something about that question made me reflect on my own life growing up in the 90’s (from what I can remember) and 2000’s – heck, even now. I didn’t grow up in Hollywood with celebrities, parties, fame, and all that jazz, but yeno, I did grow up in some way or another.
I was born in ‘92, if you didn’t know, and this was a great year to be born. What a time to be alive. We were in the prime years of chatrooms, making websites, playing online games like Neopets, and taking webcam pics – the grainier, the better! And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
I remember those sketchy chatrooms that my friends and I would go on to chat with strangers or go on Nexopia (yeah, I was there) and try to make friends across the country. It was such a weird time to grow up because there was almost this sense of needing validation. Like, was my website pretty? What about my webcam pics? Were they hawt? We focused too much on how we looked and forgot to enjoy ourselves at the moment. We forgot to have fun playing around on these sites (and be careful). I’ll admit, I was very reckless on the internet when I was a teenager. We were told constantly about cybersafety and how we’re not supposed to meet people off the internet. Do you remember the commercials? Those scared me to my core. That was something that was burned in my brain. I’m happy to say that I was cautious in that regard.
Another moment in my teenage years was when I went on a trip to BC for a sports tourney back when I was 15. There were boys. Oh, there were a lot of boys. I genuinely thought I would come home with a boyfriend, lol. Anyway, the point of this story is that I forgot to enjoy myself in BC because I was too worried about my looks. I was so invested in how I looked on this trip that I didn’t take care of myself. But that’s not how I tell people about the trip because when you look at the pictures, it seems like I’m having such a great time with my friends and family. We don’t see the frustration I felt when boys wouldn’t talk to me, and so on.
It didn’t help that we were growing up in a time that focussed heavily on body image, how rebellious we were, and sometimes whether we had money. I often forget the times growing up when I struggled with body image and being happy. Obviously, something a 15-year old wouldn’t know how to handle, but something that I’ve been able to work on as I grew into adulthood. And it’s definitely something teens today continue to go through.
Kid 90 inspired me to reflect on my life and remember the good and bad moments that helped me become the person today. I was fortunate to have grown up in a loving home and build great memories. So, the burning question, “did things really happen the way I remembered them?” Yes. Every aspect of those moments, good or bad. Embarrassing or not. Who would I be today if I didn’t have a million pets on Neopets or explore the world around me with my friends? I’m not a social media fanatic for no reason, haha.