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They only want you when you’re 17/When you’re 21, you’re no fun

March 16, 2012

Scintilla Post #2 : Prompt A: When did you realise you were a grown up? What did this mean for you? Shock to the system? Mourning of halcyon younger days? Or the embracing of the knowledge that you can do all the cool stuff adults do: drink wine, go on parent-free vacations, eat chocolate without reprimand?

I turned 18 in the midst of unraveling family crisis. Turned 18 while hustling to get out of school and this city (in some ways, nothing changes).

My dad was in the hospital, my mother was a mess. I’d finally gotten out from underneath their strict rules. This meant going out without anyone to tell me no, with no long-winded excuses. It meant getting drunk on my 18th birthday on 40 oz of Smirnoff Ice and crying because I thought I’d no longer be so appealing to the older boys I’d always had a thing for. Turning 18 meant staying out all night in my prom shoes at the gay bar, still getting away with it all because this was before New York was deader than dead. 18 meant sitting on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral pretending we saw the sun rise at 2am when it was just the lights from Times Square. Turning 18 meant finding out all the clubs I’d longed to go to all through high school had either shutterd their doors or switched over to 21+ just in time to crush my little goth girl heart.

18 meant no curfew. It meant begging my mother to make a doctor’s appointment and hearing “You can do that yourself, I’m busy.” It meant getting into spats with my parents, our usual. Words flung in both directions. Only now, with an addendum. “We don’t need you here, and we don’t need to let you stay here.” Turning 18 meant dying my hair from pink to black, ending up with a mess. 18 meant cabs across the bronx to see my friends in parent-less apartments, getting high in Pelham Park, eating sushi and burgers, pretending what mattered at 17 still did.

I knew I was an adult when the gloves came off, when I was cast out into the world and told to make sense of it all with little to no advice. I knew I was an adult when he told me he was getting married and running off to France and hey, it’s time to close this chapter of the book and sometimes there’s no closure and it was only a kiss, should he give it all up for a kiss. I knew I was an adult when all the potential and hope amounted to nothing. I knew I was an adult when it was time to find a job, apply to college, stop whining. I knew I was an adult when the baby fat failed to go away. I knew I was an adult when I could buy all the cigarettes I wanted with no one to tell me no.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Anabelle permalink
    March 16, 2012 12:16 am

    This made me sad 😦

  2. March 16, 2012 9:41 am

    You said something on twitter about this not going where you wanted it to, but I like it. I like your writing that’s a little more concrete than your usual – I like learning the stories about Shakti. I relate to a lot of these – to making sense of the world on my own, to the baby fat not going away, to the no closure. and some of them i don’t, and they are what makes me gaze at you in admiration, a bit. because i think you are cooler than me, at the end of the day. it will get old if i tell you on every post how glad i am that you’re doing this, so i won’t, but know the sentiment is there.

  3. jasonsbrain permalink
    March 16, 2012 7:29 pm

    I read this last night, it posted just as I had laid down to get some sleep so I wouldn’t be a freak at work today. I find your words enchanting, and I must say that I agree with your comment on my post from yesterday, our words really seem to be intimately close to one another. So glad to have met you.

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