‘When I grow up’ was an essay I wrote in baby talk in front of a class that didn’t care. At four years old, I wanted to be a dermatologist, and help the people who experienced the welts and rashes that manifested on their skin like poison ivy - like mine. Most were just impressed that I could spell ‘dermatologist’, and people that weren’t were wowed by a concrete life plan to rival those of teenagers everywhere.
Here’s the thing, though: I just started skipping in the street again. I jumped a puddle and I grinned quietly to myself when the edge of it splashed my foot. Ten minutes ago I got home and washed my underwear in the sink. I spun around in the kitchen and it reminded me that I am so happy to be alive.
And then I think: maybe this is what growing up is. Maybe growing up is learning to be happy to be alive. Maybe it’s making things easier for myself, trimming the fat from my phone contacts, discovering things I enjoy. Maybe it’s to have good sex and buy good underwear and read good books and surround myself with good people.
Maybe growing is doing the best you can with what you have, or learning to be happy with your own company, or being comforted by the idea that no one has a fucking clue what they’re really doing and that makes it okay that you don’t know how to balance your books or put your bedsheets on straight because really, what is a tax return?
Maybe growing up is thinking about growing up enough to realise that everything is growing, from the hairs on my head to the hunger in my heart.
Maybe growing up is getting tired earlier in the evening some days, or understanding that it is okay to get tired.
The more I think about growing up, the clearer it becomes that I am where I was as a child - talking to people that are too focused on their own futures to busy themselves with mine.
And we are all inching, inching, inching our winding ways towards the ceiling."
knocks at the forest’s door
“let me in;
I have had nothing to eat
for months and months
my ribs are sharper than knives;
it is a sin
to leave anyone
in this state”
but the forest
quivering and green
pays it no heed -
the creek still burbles
and the wind