I attempted to build a fort on the old oak in my backyard with my sister. We had one hammer and a box of nails we stole from the garage. We fastened wooden pieces into the tree’s trunk for steps; that was as far as we got.
And then, I grew up.
I dreamed, you know, like we all do when we’re young, that I would grow up to be something great, an inspirational part of the world. Significant. Someone who was something.
And then, I grew up.
My dog died.
Cancer stole my aunt.
My brother broke my CD player.
I learned forgiveness.
I recognized my sin and accepted Jesus as my Savior.
I asked a guy to prom and he said no.
I was the brunt of a bad rumor.
I cried myself to sleep.
I made the winning shot of a basketball game.
I earned a diploma.
I toilet-papered our teacher’s house with my senior class.
My best friend betrayed me.
My Sallie Mae bill arrived.
I trusted a boy and he let me down.
I bought a tail-wagging, big-brown-eyed puppy.
I wrote a novel.
I danced down the Las Vegas strip with my cousin.
I took a road trip to Texas and ended up lost in Oklahoma.
I learned to laugh, a lot.
I realized how overprotective my parents were.
I rode horseback in the Great Smoky Mountains.
I had a reunion with my college girls on a beach in Maine.
I visited Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
I ordered a pizza in Chicago.
I walked the Boston Trail with my family in the blistering July heat.
I flew to Nashville and watched some of the greats perform at the CMAs.
I shook the hand of the President of the United States of America.
I stuffed a closet full of bridesmaid’s dresses.
I cried at my sibling’s graduations because they grew up.
We all grew up.
I moved to New York City.
I drank one too many glasses of wine at happy hour.
I learned to two-step from some awesome rednecks in the south.
I shared a limo with my favorite people singing along as we blasted music all night.
My roommate taught me how to make the best grilled-cheese sandwich.
I realized no place on earth ever gives you the same warmth as your parent’s house.
I joined in sync with all of Yankee stadium to Sinatra’s “New York” after a W against the Sox.
I blared the music in a minivan and had a dance party with my aunts in a parking lot.
I rounded up my quarters to afford a lunch.
I popped champagne off the roof of my apartment.
I bid good riddance to people who brought me down.
I learned that I love guacamole, and new people, and the bright lights that surround the streets I frequent. I became acquainted with subways and buses and the little old man who sells fruit on the corner of my block. I became accustomed to dirty smells and high energy and cab drivers who hardly speak English. I embraced the melting pot of culture and personalities that may clash anywhere else in the world, but that work to keep this great place going. I learned that best friends sometimes don’t come in the form of beating hearts and shared agendas, they come in encouraging words, a few extra cherries in the bottom of your cocktail, and that feeling you get when you’ve killed the insane project your boss designated you.
I haven’t fallen in love.
I haven’t mastered a foreign language or discovered a new art.
I haven’t even figured out who I want to be.
But I know who I am and I know what I’m doing.
I’m growing up.
Someone once told me in quite a condescending manner to, “grow up.”
Well I was.
And I have.
And I still am.
And damn him for trying to rush me.
A | A | A
You’re not nice, honey, you’re bitter.
If you can’t afford to tip. EAT. AT. HOME. In fact don’t eat at all. Go starve and die.
“GET OFF HER HAIR, IDIOT!”
I’m not made of porcelain and I’m not going to break if you use the wrong words or reveal yourself to be a terrible person.