“Growing up is such a barbarous business, full of inconvenience… and pimples.” ―J.M. Barrie
It was when i was 4 that i believed i could fly. I would climb higher and higher on the stairs, gaining bravery and bruises each time, trying to prove to the world that i was the real life Peter Pan. The way the air would glaze my skin as i lifted up my doll-like arms and dove into the infinite abyss, that i always imagined to be much more than just cold tiled floor. If my mom was lucky enough to catch me before i took one big courageous jump into the air, she would say, “Jenny, enough flying for one day!” She never did try to tell me that flying was impossible.
“Nothing has changed, Jenny”, she calls me a week before my birthday every year to remind me of the fairytale-like day that i was born. “You were two weeks early and the doctor said it was impossible, he told me to go home. But there you came, dancing to your own beat, never allowing anyone to tell you what to do.”
And while she recollects and rummages through the day that I rolled into the world, crying and screaming like the lead singer of Metallica, I begin to over analyze the purpose of birthdays.
See when you reach a certain age, birthdays no longer fashion a sense of innocence or come adorned with a mountain of plastic presents from Toys R Us. There are no longer any pretty-pretty-princess themed birthday parties, goodie bags of tooth-rotting candy or 42-year-old men dressed up like Elmo, helping you twirl around beside your miniature friends while you all stuff your faces, simultaneously, with a handful of pizza and ice cream ( I won’t lie to you my friends–this last part still happens).
What is another year when you are just 4 years old?
I used to look forward to “growing up”. Being old enough to spin around on a bike with no training wheels, hang out at the mall without parents, fit into the clothes at Limited Too, wear braces, gosh–be in the eighth grade! It was as if when birthdays came rolling into town i just wanted them to come along quicker.
Now, it is anything but. Take your time, get stuck in traffic, go for a hike Mike! Please, this year just spare me an extra candle on the cake, I’ll try to grow up next year, i promise.
Growing up is straight up terrifying. The way i used to curl my shoulders underneath a blanket and squeeze one eye tightly shut while watching, “Are You Afraid of the Dark”, is precisely the same way i react when i think about having to turn a higher number every single year.
Because with age comes baggage that we are never ready to manhandle. The monthly love letters from the credit card companies that crowd our coffee tables, the tick tocking of our biological clocks that become deafening, reminding us that time is swimming against the current of things like “marriage” and “babies”.
There are just some things i refuse to let go of. An obsession with neon and/or glitter clothing, binge reading poetry and acquiring library fees, a desire to eat pizza for all meals of the day, stubbornness toward making my bed and be-friending silverware, an attraction to awkward situations and public humiliation, talking to strangers and laughing out loud at my own jokes, the childhood dream of becoming a writer.
Some things i just won’t allow to change. Here is to being 24!
Every year on my birthday, i set my alarm clock to wake me up at 2:49 am, the exact time that i was announced to this world, like Mufasa announced Simba. I sit up in bed, Indian style, wearing my party dress, and i make a pact with myself that no matter what–no matter how many black suits i have to strap myself into or networking events i have to attend or life crisis i have to deal with, i won’t grow up too fast, not this year. “I’ll do it when i am ready,” I whisper through a giant yawn as my pillow catches my tired head, “Whenever that will be”
I’m an April Fools Baby.
Yes, i was born a ‘fool’
Yes, my birthdays have always been filled with rude jokes (like when i was an itsy bits toddler and they used prank candles that would not blow out. Made for one nice fire filled, finger burning, 3rd birthday).
and Yes, I realize this is probably one of the worst days to be born on (other than on Feb. 29th– shout out to all my leap year babies)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
I write because I don’t want people to feel alone about being awkward, and vice versa, I don’t want to be awkward, alone. So for my birthday, this year, subscribe/share/shout from the rooftops about this blog![subscribe2]