- 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?
There are many times I’ve become a grown up. Being an adult is a process not a destination, death is a destination. The first time I was an adult was when I slept in my car because I had no place to go. In high school. The next time was immediately after those nights when I accepted help from a friend and her parents.
Because as an adult you have to know when to ask for help. And when you can do it on your own.
The next time wasn’t when I ran away to San Francisco, though that time came not long after when I re-enrolled in college and took a job to pay for the education I wanted so badly. Graduating from college had always been a given, but I had lost that and had to make it one again. When I graduated after all that time off and then again when I got my M.A. Those diplomas in my hand were moments of adulthood–because I made them happen.
When I stood up in front of a coffeehouse crowd to read my first poem, and my next and the one after that–those too.
When I left my first husband. Scared out of my mind to live in SF by myself after growing up in Arkansas. And found myself surrounded by friends offering help. Yes another moment of being an adult. When I faced him in court and walked out unmarried in the arms of those same friends, scared but hopeful. Yes, once more.
When I left someone I loved deeply because I couldn’t deceive him into having a child that he didn’t want. Well yes–that was a big one.
When I married the man who is my husband, knowing how tough and wonderful marriage can be.
When we moved and then moved again.
But especially when I looked at that stick and it was positive. And then again 9 some odd months later when not only did we GET to take this mystifying girl bundle home but we HAD to.
The first time I had to bring her being bullied to the attention of the principal. And the next time.
The time we had to tell her something she wanted very very VERY much wasn’t going to happen for her.
The first time I took her to the dentist and she had a tooth pulled. I’m terrified of dentists and have tended toward fainting. But not then. She had no idea I wanted to pass out and throw up and scream all at once. I held her hand and told her stories and she didn’t notice a thing. I waited to barf until we got home and she was in front of the tv tucked in.
When I dislocated my ankle and in all that pain I stopped crying and made sure she got to school before we went to the hospital.
Tomorrow, when I have to do something I really don’t want to do.
These might also be called some of my proudest moments. Being an adult is hard but it’s fun too. It’s amazing when you get to be more than yourself for other people. More than you ever thought you could be for yourself too.
I’m finally enough of an adult to realize that I look this way. I dress this way, it isn’t a phase and happily I’m too old to change now. In a week or so I’m getting my fourth tattoo. And I have one planned after that. Sometimes I look in the mirror and go ‘That is a seriously wacky broad,” and then I say “good.” That’s how I know I’m an adult. I can do the hard stuff and dance in-between in combat boots.