A friend just emailed me pictures of my high school boyfriend’s new baby. I’m reading X-files fan fiction in my underwear.
Growing up is not easy. Some of us welcome adulthood with open arms, while others try to beat it off with a blunt object while sitting in a thong reading poorly written Harlequin stories by obsessed fans of a show that’s been off the air for many years.
I liked my childhood. I didn’t particularly want to give it up.
The days when one could dress up as your favorite role model, Dana Scully, and people thought it was cute instead of creepy. The days when I wrote “Things I want to do before I’m 25 List” consisted of pragmatic goals like “Have completed ten novels”, “Have starred in ten movies” and “Have two ex-husbands”. The days where I had no concept about the unfairness in the world, the bills I’d have to pay, the emotional breakdown that would actually come at 25 instead of stardom and divorce settlements.
I believe my childhood died in fragments, not in one final, grand exit.
Like a series of heart attacks.
There first heart attack came in 8th grade. I was wearing a over-sized women’s business suit. I wanted to look like an FBI agent. Dana Scully wore cool business suits. I didn’t realize until I was older that she indeed did not wear cool business suits. A male classmate asked me if I was a dyke. I had no idea what that word meant. I envisioned a riverbed and could not see the correlation. A friend later explained to me what it meant. I was crushed. When you’re 14, those sort of things hurt. As an adult, I’d laugh and say something along the lines of, “Yep, I have my strap-on in the car? Want me to demonstrate on you?” (actually, I would not say this- I’d only imagine saying it). After that day, I retired my over-sized pant suits to the closet and settled for more traditional teenage garb like a jean skirt and tee.
The second heart attack came when my childhood dog passed away. For some reason, I was dumb-founded when she actually died. I was convinced she would live forever. I actually thought that I could will her to be immortal even though I was 17 years old and should have known better. I would sit with her and have a talk. I’d say, “Look, Sam. You’re not dying ok?” I’d look her intensely in the eyes. The more intensely I’d look, the more I knew it would work. I’d sit next to her on the couch, staring, sometimes crying, sometimes screaming, demanding her to live forever. Sam would look at me sideways, then slowly lean away with that look of, “How much more of an asshole could my owner be?”.
The third attack happened when I was twenty. Some things are better left unsaid.
The fourth heart attack came when I took the Jim Henson Studios tour and saw five Kermits hanging on hooks on the wall.
So, while looking at this picture of a child of somebody at one time knew so well, somebody at one point I couldn’t imagine life without, someone I stopped loving years ago, someone I have no idea who they are anymore nor care to, I debate whether or not I should put some clothes on, shut down the computer, and just finally take the pant-suit to GOOD WILL.